Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  6,881 ratings  ·  192 reviews
First published in 1988 and never out of print, this seminal analysis of how the media serve corporations that control and finance them is being reissued with a new Introduction by the authors.
Paperback, 393 pages
Published January 15th 2002 by Pantheon Books (first published 1988)
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Nandakishore Varma
I passed up a chance to buy this book some twenty years ago, and have not been able to locate a copy since. It's a shame, because Chomsky talks about how the so-called "free" press is anything but free: they are bent on fabricating news to manufacture consent among the populace to further their corporate agenda. Chomsky describes how this has been done from the Vietnam war to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This is all the more relevant, as I am physically now witnessing such an exercise. A cor...more
Walter
Dec 03, 2007 Walter rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every citizen of an industrial democracy
This was one of the books that had a great impact on my life. It's an amazing and comprehensive exploration of the origin, development and operation of the modern media. The authors come at this material from the standpoint that the media functions primarily as a powerful tool for social control. The world view presented in the media is essentially that of the ruling classes and the rest of us plebes are locked out of it all. We are passive consumers of the bullshit being fed to us by large corp...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
A superb read on the media and the propaganda machine within our so-called "democratic" or "free" society. Meticulously researched and cited this book gave me mental push-ups for about 6 months while I chugged through it. Accessible in some areas, daunting in others, this book has a tremendous amount to offer. Not for the feint of heart. If you haven't read Chomsky before, I'd recommend listening to his lectures and/or reading some of his shorter works. I felt smarter and stupider after finishin...more
Jeff Menter
If you can slog through it (not that it's written poorly, it's just that the subjects that are covered have, to most people, the intrinsic appeal of lint analysis) you will be rewarded with a new way to look at the mass media and a new framework with which you can apply your own critical analysis.

Congratulations.
Glesnertod
I first added this to my 'books to read' list after watching the movie, "Good Will Hunting". I was not disappointed. This book is one of the best, if not the the most well written book I've read. I don't mean to say that the information was so life-altering that I will never be the same. But first and simply, that their sentence structure and flow of thought is clear, engaging and pieced together masterfully. They sift through a lot of information, wading through fact and fabrication that they s...more
David Cupples
Brilliant analysis by one of the great scientists of all time. Totally refutes the myth of the "liberal media" and secondly, the myth that this (nonexistent) liberal media is responsible for defeat in the Vietnam War. Clarifies that the war was not a mistake but a crime as defined by the Geneva Conventions (and common decency, I might add). Chomsky has consistently pointed out that in poll after poll the American public is well to the left of the supposed "liberal media." Beware of polls with tr...more
Travis
Smart people wrote this book. I don't say that because it was hard to understand at times (and it was), because that stemmed just from being verbose. I say it took smart people because the amount of data gathered and the analysis to tie to together was quite astounding.

The summary of the book is as follows: The US-media is a controlled information relay system (propaganda). The authors set forth a "propaganda model" that they see being employed in our media for decades. It isn't done in a secret...more
Aaron
Mar 06, 2010 Aaron rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: media
I've been a journalist for 15 years now, and I've often wondered how it is that the mass media in the United States manage to project the image of being defenders of democracy while actually deterring it.

Having just read "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media," by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, I finally understand as thoroughly as I've always wanted to.

Where to begin ... for starters, have you ever heard of worthy and unworthy victims?

Did you know that the press was fa...more
Mahmoud haggui
نعوم تشومِسكى يُنظًر للسياسات الأمريكية البشعة المُمثلة فى عدة شعارات مثل "الحرب على الإرهاب" "السيطرة على الإعلام" و كيف تم التلاعب بأبسط المفاهيم لكن لا بأس مع عقل شعبوى مُتحكم فيه من النخبة التى تُغيب الوعى عن عمد "فلنترك لهم مشاهدة التلفاز و نجعل قيمة الحياة تتلخص فى أن يكون لديك مشتريات ذات جودة" ، عندما تسيطر على الميديا و تعكس المؤسسة التعليمية اَراء النخبة، يمكنك أن تمرر وسائلك" هى ليست طريقةأبتدعتها الولايات المتحدة. فى الثلاثينيات أخافهم هتلر من اليهود والغجر تحت عبارات رنانة يرددهاال...more
Jacob
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 believ...more
Charlie
Chomsky fans, FYI: Chomsky emphasized Herman's name for a reason (note that the H author appears before the C author.) The reason is that Chomsky helped a bit but it's Ed Herman's book. This was my college reader and the primary focus of my undergraduate years. The academic reviews of this text give a fair indication of the level of tolerance to half assed journalism (and half assed academic research) that exist among our intellectual elite. A must read for any free thinker but beware, they auth...more
Matthias
Politicians are like hookers. You can't be one unless you can pretend to like people while you're fucking them.


In summary the propaganda model works like this: Bullshit politician with biased information is seen as an expert. Expert gives bullshit to news organization to inform the public. News organization repeats bullshit with cute voices and opinions. We all become stupid, except Chomsky. He writes this book. You read it. Become depressed and kill yourself.

I don't think I can do a serious r...more
Naveed Qazi
One of the very rare critiques of mainstream media, presented by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, ‘Manufacturing Consent’ – has been a path breaking, definitive and objective model against mainstream media institutions. A book widely which is widely acclaimed and read throughout.

‘Manufacturing Consent’ is an insightful critique of history, politics and media. However, the most unique style drafted by Noam and Herman, which is worth mentioning, is the usage of the ’propaganda model’ – a systematic...more
Emma Sea
A very thorough, comprehensive account of how "media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them."

The weak point of the book is that the examples discussed are so old (Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, etc) that I doubt the book will be accessible to Gen Y or younger. The 2002 edition I read has a new introduction with more recent discussions, but I think the book needs a complete new edition.

Although it's from a pre-internet world it is even mor...more
Ailema
I didn't find what I was looking for in this book. But it gets five stars anyway, because Chomsky's sheer, uncompromising critique of the lies which distort (in particular) Americans' worldview is a really important thing to read and understand.

Manufacturing Consent was recommended to me by a friend, when I said that I found Flat Earth News by Nick Davies amazing. Based on our conversation, I was expecting to find a detailed analysis of how and why it is that error and political distortion cree...more
Chris
This is an extremely enlightening book about the American mass-media propaganda of the 1960s through 1980s. Even though it's old it still applies to contemporary issues, as Iraq has often been compared to Viet Nam (although Viet Nam had a much higher magnitude of significance). But what is most similar is how the government used the media to make a strong case for occupying these territories and proceeding to terrorize their populations for the dogmas of "freedom, justice, equality, etc", when a...more
Darren
In constructing their incredibly logical propaganda model, Herman and Chomsky illuminate a great deal about the relationship between media, government and corporations. One of the most obvious, yet striking propaganda filters described by Herman and Chomsky is that of sourcing (the third filter). Herman and Chomsky astutely note that daily demands for news have placed a high premium on the reliable, steady flow of “raw material of news.” Strictly in terms of economic practicality, it follows tha...more
Robert
This one has been on my "to read" list for decades, and it does not disappoint. The theme of media subservience to elite needs and assumptions is prevalent throughout Chomsky's (I'm not as familiar with Herman's) work, but here it is front and center.

There are some reviews of this book that take it as a counter to claims of "liberal bias" in the mainstream media. I think these reviewers are somewhat confused. Most mainstream media display a liberal bias *as in the liberal wing of the ruling cla...more
Courtney
Perhaps the most important book any journalism student could read. the first four points made in the book outlining the Propaganda Model, being the most important. the fifth, addressing communist paranoia could better be interpreted as implementation of fear tactics with the purpose of further marginalizing the public, which was applied alarmingly after 9-11. i'll be introducing the PM to my dad's american government class next week in a lecture.....and in my research of methods used in teaching...more
Thomas
There's a decent book here about the economic and political environment in which American media operate, but it's confined to the introductory chapters, which describe this idea, and the conclusion, which reiterates and expands upon it. The meat of the book — comprising its "case studies" — seem mainly to be about the atrocities committed by the U.S. government in Latin America and Indochina. These case studies are described in far greater detail than would have been necessary to tie them back t...more
Steven Salaita
Chomsky writes pretty much the same book every year. He's a good analyst of world affairs, but much of his work is more uncritical than it might be (e.g., his discussions of Zionism, sports, and Indigenous rights). His best work by far is Manufacturing Consent (co-written with Edward Herman), though the authors' basic premise is lifted whole cloth from Antonio Gramsci's theory of hegemony. Chomsky and Herman's critique becomes more relevant by the day, which shows that the world is becoming scar...more
Scott Meyer
Essential reading in an age of deceptive marketing practices, and the illusion of choice when it comes to things that actually matter in our lives. You'll never view an ad or listen to a pundit or politician the same way again.

Corporations and crooked politicians will dismiss Noam Chomsky as a dangerous socialist. What they are really afraid of is the threat of an informed electorate.
Kathy
Aaaach!! I learned so much from this book while at the same time questioning the author's presentation of events. I gave it three stars because that is the closes to declaring a love/hate relationship I could come.
Maryam
The title is translated into Farsi as«فیلترهای خبری».
Jim Drewes
If I'd have just read the first chapter of the book, I would have given it a 3 or 4 star review. But in its entirety, it gets a 2. It is terribly boring, and it isn't the unassailable crown jewel of political literature that so many reviewers make it out to be.

First - take all the 4 and 5 star reviews with a grain of salt. Read them, and ask yourself how much sense it makes. Many of the reviews will comment on how brilliant the book is, but will also note that it was difficult to get through. To...more
Guy

It's been many weeks, now, since I finished Manufacturing and started this review. In that time I have been wrestling with how to verbalize the feelings that this book has evoked. Sadly, the best description I can give is that it is easily and by far the most disturbing book I have ever read. Writing and re-writing that sentence, with its rather flaccid sentiment took me three days. My brain seems to have been hit hard with the breadth and depth of my state sanctioned and media promulgated igno...more
Yugaljoshi
The book talks about the pliant and pusillanimous USA media when it comes to defying the US government in search of truth. The book tells something which is an open secret but indeed adds to the reader's knowledge of hard facts and data points. As expected from Naom Chomsky, it contains detailed elaboration of various cases in USA history where USA's imperialistic tendencies of messing around with other (generally smaller) countries to grab their resources under the garb of "fighting for freedom...more
James Perkins
This book is an excruciatingly detailed expose of several serious political incidents perpetrated by various governments around the world, the reaction or lack thereof from the American government, and the consequences that followed. The main idea seems to be an indictment of U.S. foreign policy for its inconsistency, not only from a political point of view, but from how it is reported in the media; rather than a truly "free press", stories are often overreported or regularly ignored in order to...more
Doug
Probably the worst kept secret out there: Mass Media serves special interests.

If you are like me, you already suspect as much so why would you want to read a book stating the obvious? Empowered observation, that's why.

Manufacturing Consent establishes a 'propaganda model' and applies it to events that have been label by critics as examples of media overstepping its bounds challenging authority. Considering the book was written in '87, the resonating events included are Indochina (Vietnam, Laos,...more
Ryan
Everything you hear in the media about media bias, though perhaps true in some sense, is mostly a distraction. As the authors demonstrate in this book, it isn't the nominal & altogether pitiful range of political discourse in our media that matters, so much as what is excluded and excised from the start- what is simply not discussed at all. When it comes to matters of real importance- the historical role of the United States in geopolitics, foreign policy, and imperialism- the talking heads...more
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Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, considered to be one of the most significant contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. H...more
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