That time Noam Chomsky was censored by National Public Radio (NPR)

Matt Orfalea
1 min readDec 19, 2016

Noam Chomsky, “the most important intellectual alive” is pretty well known. And so radio listeners put a lot of pressure on NPR to have Noam on to talk about his new book at the time, Necessary Illusions (1989), about propaganda.

NPR finally agreed to have Noam Chomsky on their prime time news program, “All Things Considered” and recorded an interview of Chomsky with host Robert Siegal. But when it was time for the recording to air as scheduled, instead of broadcasting the interview, NPR filled the airtime with music.

Chomsky later got a phone call from the station manager in Washington, who informed him the decision to cancel it was made by one of her bosses.

Noam tells the story starting at 2:19

It’s just another reminder that corporate media, and even publicly funded media, do not necessarily report the information the audience wants and would benefit from. More often mainstream media simply reports what those at the top want to show us to benefit those at the top.

In this case, after complaints, NPR did finally agree to redo the 5 minute book review / interview.