I'm really wondering where you get all this.
Naomi Klein isn't a media studies professor (she never even completed her degree), she's never called herself a media studies scholar. She's an activist who specializes in economic arguments. Nor is Noam Chomsky. I'm sure their work has been read in media studies classes, but it is not the be all end all of the discipline.
I say this because I actually know what Media Studies is about. I know someone who was around when it gained credibility in the 1980s - Robert Thompson. I first met him when I was in High School. I attended the National High School Institute at Northwestern University and he was a grad student who used his lectures to test out his media theory teachings and his papers. Of course he tailored it to his teenage audience - doing a lengthy analysis on the role of bodily fluids in MtM/Steven Bochco drama. It was through Bob that I learned of the then nacent media literacy movement
. He became the founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. While Marxist cultural theory was one of his tools, he in no way resembles what you describe above. He was a guy who was engaging in byzantine referential humor, some of which would not be out of place on Robot Chicken (except for the Lacan jokes). I'm willing to bet a majority of his students under his tutelage aren't that way either. In fact it's guys like Bob who managed to bring deconstruction and various critical theories to the masses. One could argue there's a line from him to Adult Swim.
I can't find any place where Klein talks "about Nike putting advertising in textbooks as the worst thing to happen to humanity since the Holocaust". In fact, I sincerely doubt that the author of The Shock Doctrine would be so insensitive to equate major disasters with minor incursions, beyond arguing the exist along a spectrum.
Her argument is also not so simple as "stupid people fall for advertising but I see through it". She's making a very rational point: sponsored content is usually biased towards the sponsors, thus it is reasonable to say a textbook is funded by advertising is not a good idea, because that advertising may bias or censor the content. Reducing the arguments of Klien or Chomsky to "advertising is brainwashing" is oversimplifying which verges on strawman.
Their position is pervasive use of a word or idea can dominate and steer discussion even if most people participating don't agree. If enough of the media acts like antisemitism only counts when it's overt Nazi style propaganda, pointing out subtle forms becomes being oversensitive.
I'd argue the bullshit thinking you see in media studies and even Naomi Klein is in part anxiety about your own hyperbole.
For example, one could analyze the argument that Ian Banks is worse than Fred Phelps implies his fans are so trusting and/or stupid they will accept his dubious political view blindly because they like his novels.
Or one could say it's reasonable to argue a credible person shouldn't lend that credibility to toxic ideas and patterns - which is also what Klein and Chomsky are pointing out.Edited at 2014-05-06 05:46 pm (UTC)