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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Written by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

Narrated by John Pruden


Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Written by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

Narrated by John Pruden

ratings:
4.5/5 (57 ratings)
Length:
15 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 18, 2017
ISBN:
9781541471870
Format:
Audiobook

Description

In this pathbreaking work, now with a new introduction, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky show that, contrary to the usual image of the news media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in their search for truth and defense of justice, in their actual practice they defend the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.

Based on a series of case studies-including the media's dichotomous treatment of "worthy" versus "unworthy" victims, "legitimizing" and "meaningless" Third World elections, and devastating critiques of media coverage of the U.S. wars against Indochina-Herman and Chomsky draw on decades of criticism and research to propose a Propaganda Model to explain the media's behavior and performance. Their new introduction updates the Propaganda Model and the earlier case studies, and it discusses several other applications.
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 18, 2017
ISBN:
9781541471870
Format:
Audiobook

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Reviews

What people think about Manufacturing Consent

4.5
57 ratings / 14 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    A nuanced critique of the media and it's role as propaganda in the United States. Anyone who regularly follows American news should have to read this. It'll completely change the way you read the news.
  • (4/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    Noam Chomsky is quite possibly the most intelligent man alive (this is being written after Stephen Hawking's death and noting that there are probably more intelligent women around but the media ignores them), and "Manufacturing Consent" covers his life and belief that the media is to blame for much of which ails the earth. This is a well written polemic that points out times the mainstream media has twisted the truth or not covered at all. Of course, being a polemic means there is little nuance involved. Hermann and Chomsky are preaching to the converted, and while I agreed with them far more than disagreed, the preaching did grate after a while.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    This work by Herman & Chomsky is a real eye-opener. It was first published in 1988 and now appears deficient with respect to subsequent developments in Cambodia and recent events in the Middle East, but it remains an important examination of the operation of the mass media in the USA.To begin with, the authors develop a model for the US mass media as a propaganda system. They argue that it does not explicitly function as an organised conspiracy, but is overwhelmingly influenced by a set of witting or unwitting filters, which serve to distort and manipulate the delivered message.Herman & Chomsky then go on to test their model by exploring a series of case studies where the filters are likely to have the greatest effect. As expected, these case studies (which include the US intervention in Central America and Indochina) provide clear support for the propaganda model.This book is not intended to be a history of the case study areas. Nor should it be, else it would be bigger and more unwieldy than would serve the intended purpose. However, a lot of assumed knowledge makes the work less accessible and occasionally confusing, particularly concerning the conflict in Cambodia.While the book is mostly written in an appropriately neutral and scholarly tone, there are times when the authors allow themselves to stray into emotive territory. This is perhaps irresistible, due to the outrageous nature of US militarism in the examined areas, but it has a tendency to diminish the authoritative style required for such a thesis.There are also frequent moments of repetition, perhaps with the intention of emphasising key points. Yet this, combined with the concern above, causes the authors to sometimes appear rather condescending or even a little sensationalist, like the mass media they are examining.However, these concerns do little to detract from what is an entirely credible and robust study of the US mass media. Moreover, the lens of the propaganda model delivers a brutal exposure of cynicism and chauvinism in US foreign policy, especially in relation to ‘client’ states and the ‘defense of democracy’.For a lesson in viewing the messages delivered by the mass media with critical thought and skepticism, Manufacturing Consent is a very important work.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    One of Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman's more substantial written contributions, Manufacturing Consent details a framework dubbed the "propaganda model," which can determine or explain many factors of media reporting found deficient, biased, or just plain incompetent. I found this book to be a poignant and effective review of a period in which media was supposedly keeping an "adversarial stance" towards those in power -- while the contrary continued to be the case.Even for those who do not believe in the "propaganda model" as explained by the authors, Manufacturing Consent remains an important work for pointing out many circumstances of media bias and societal constraint during the turbulent times of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. For those who understand the model to be a reliable framework for viewing the behaviour of the media, it is easy to find many circumstances of institutional malfeasance throughout recent decades and up to the current day. For example, while the anti-communist filter, as mentioned, has evolved somewhat into being a general "anti-socialist" dogmatic brick wall, it continues to show itself in media across the spectrum, notably at outlets like Fox News.I found the principles outlined by the authors described very well and backed with an exhaustive investigation of evidence, in all circumstances evaluated. Furthermore, the book's framework continues to show its relevance. Even though the rise of the internet has 'cracked' corporate media's grip, it still holds fast, as the vast majority of news consumed around the world is produced by corporate media. The version with the updated acknowledgement includes additional information to keep the text relevant in the modern day, including references to internet use, media consolidation and additional examples of the model's effectiveness.For these reasons, the book is a very compelling read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in broadening their knowledge of how their world really works.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    With the recent growth of the PR industry, Manufacturing Consent is even more important now than it was when first published in 1988.Chomsky has repeated many times that the propaganda model of the West does not require a conspiracy. This book is a thorough - and thoroughly brilliant - explanation of how it is simply an emergent property of free markets.Although Ed Herman receives authorial first billing, this reads like a Chomsky book, like an academic work. That is, it is packed with documented evidence for their claims. If you are unfamiliar with the tone of Chomsky's writing or find the density of the information provided daunting, it may be a bit of a chore to read. In this case I suggest first reading the intro and the first and last chapters, then going on to the bulk of the book (chapters 2-6) if you like.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    One of the founding motives of the United States was that it didn't and doesn't care about the rights of brown or red people. The silly British tried to respect the treaties with the natives in contrast to the Americans' god-given right to Western expansion. The big fault of Chomsky's book is his idealism, the faulty assumption that Americans care what their Buffalo soldiers do in places far away. They don't.Firstly, caring would demand some minimal knowledge about geography and history. Even after a decade of war, most Americans would probably not be able to correctly identify Afghanistan or Iraq on a world map. Neither could they point out Guatemala or Laos. That the New York Times doesn't cover or relegate events is to a large extent due to customer demand. Americans prefer cheap, salty, fat and saccharine fast food not ugly stories about massacres and bad deeds from far-away places. The dis-intermediation of the media industry has shown that "news" is a poor business, even a loss leader.Given the cost of reporting and the low demand on the one hand and the corporate ownership of the US media on the other, it is hardly surprising that US news is vastly different from what is served in other advanced countries. Cat pictures attract much more views at much lower cost. While Chomsky's explanation is fine, it is overly complex.For this anniversary edition, Chomsky and co. revisited whether their cases presented held up: Depressingly, they passed with flying colors. The reality uncovered was in most cases even more damning. More helpful, though, would have been a look at the media in other countries. Just like commercial TV stations in European countries survive and prosper with vastly fewer ads and interruptions, the US could have a much more healthy media structure.

    1 person found this helpful