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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  10,744 Ratings  ·  323 Reviews
Librarian's note: There are Alternate Cover Editions for this edition of this book here and here.

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 t
Paperback, 412 pages
Published January 15th 2002 by Pantheon (first published 1988)
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Nandakishore Varma
Oct 18, 2013 Nandakishore Varma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-get, politics
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
Michael Finocchiaro
On the even more intellectual edge of the left, Noam Chomsky has relentlessly fought against the blindness of American foreign policy and how the press manipulates public opinion to endorse and encourage catastrophes such as the Vietnam War (and more recently, the disaster of the two Iraq Wars, the War in Afghanistan, etc.) This book explains how the press (even when it takes a slightly more critical view of events), is still at heart manipulating the truth in service of power. The most recent e ...more
Dec 03, 2007 Walter rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 08, 2011 Matthias rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 13, 2010 Aaron rated it it was amazing
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
Jeff Menter
Apr 08, 2008 Jeff Menter rated it it was amazing
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.

Jun 01, 2009 Travis rated it it was ok
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
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
Paul DeBusschere
Feb 09, 2015 Paul DeBusschere rated it it was ok
In Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky present an outdated and flawed thesis asserting government and corporate control over mass media to promote a right-wing agenda, yet still makes some valid points regarding propaganda in the media. By cherry-picking a handful of egregious media missteps related to foreign policy, the authors hope to convince readers of the media's complicity in pushing a right-wing corporate/government agenda to deceive the American public.

One problem with all this st
Jan 21, 2012 Glesnertod rated it it was amazing
Shelves: journalstic
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
Emma Sea
Jun 15, 2013 Emma Sea rated it really liked it
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
David Cupples
Jun 28, 2012 David Cupples rated it it was amazing
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
Mahmoud Haggui
Mar 02, 2014 Mahmoud Haggui rated it really liked it
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
Atila Iamarino
May 21, 2017 Atila Iamarino rated it liked it
Não estava preparado para este livro gigante. O ponto central é bem importante, mostrar como a mídia serve para passar o conceito que o estado quer apresentar. Retratando uma guerra de maneira parcial, não citando um lado em um debate, tendo dois pesos e duas medidas, etc. O que não esperava é que fossem detalhar tão profundamente cada exemplo citado – Vietnã, troca de governo na Nicarágua e Guatemala, invasão do Camboja, etc.

Estou mais acostumado com livros mais recentes e dinâmicos, que norma
Jan 16, 2012 Jacob rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2014 Natalie rated it it was ok
Hard to rate. The ideas were great but it was a real slog of a read, so I can't recommend it. Paragraphs like the following were not uncommon:
"Meanwhile, because of the power of establishment sources, the flak machines, and anti-Communist ideology, we would anticipate outcries that the worthy victims are being sorely neglected, that the unworthy are treated with excessive and uncritical generosity, that the media's liberal, adversarial (if not subversive) hostility to government explains our dif
Nov 11, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it
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
I'm a bit surprised I didn't get around to reading Manufacturing Consent years ago. I suppose I wasn't especially shocked by any of Chomsky's findings or analysis, as a 27 year old who's read a fair number of left texts, but it remains solid, necessary research, and (perhaps borne out of familiarity) I was especially taken by the sections on America's quagmiring of Laos and Cambodia. Yes, at this stage, I am probably the wrong audience, but I know, know, that if I could send it to myself 10 year ...more
May 05, 2015 illias rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, favorites
For me personally, Noam Chomsky is without a doubt one of the greatest thinkers of our time and this book was simply mindblowing. I would even go as far as saying that this book is probably one of the best books ever produced concerning politics and media.
Jim Drewes
Aug 13, 2013 Jim Drewes rated it it was ok
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
Oliver MacDonald
Nov 24, 2015 Oliver MacDonald rated it really liked it
The most informative part of this book is the beginning. The first part of the book describes the 'propaganda model' and the mechanics behind it. The model describes the ways in which government and powerful private interests influence the presentation of content by the mass-media. There are no deals struck behind closed doors in smoky rooms between business leaders, politicians and the owners of media conglomerates. The powers that force the media to conform to government and business interests ...more
Naveed Qazi
Jun 04, 2011 Naveed Qazi rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2016 Marguerite rated it really liked it
An intriguing and alternate view of the mainstream media, with solid case studies to back up the conclusion that the mass media frequently serve to reinforce government propaganda. A former journalist, I saw this dynamic up close in the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when my newsroom was quick to form a "war team" while remaining unquestioning about the need for a military response. (The coverage area of the newspaper is heavily military, though that likely didn't affect the decision.) A ...more
Greg Strandberg
I picked this book up at the University of Montana Bookstore when I was a bright-eyed, idealistic student. I knew that the world was not working for common people, and this book seemed like it'd preach to the converted nicely. It did.

There are lots of pictures of newscasters doing their thing, and Chomsky analyzes what they tell us and how similar it is to other corporate news sources. Today we talk a lot about corporate news but when I read this book in 2001 that wasn't talked about as much.

Jan 03, 2017 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very compelling book that largely fulfills its objective of exposing how the corporate media is used as a vehicle for propaganda. It provides several well researched examples that it explores in detail, sometimes tediously so--though I recognize that this exercise is necessary in backing up its controversial thesis. If the reader does not want to invest the time for the whole book, I would recommend reading the intro, one of the in depth example chapters, and the conclusion.
Nov 08, 2016 Marshall rated it it was ok
I read the first chapter of this book in college, as part of an assignment. I found the thesis profound: state propaganda doesn't necessarily require a conspiracy to control the media. Certain aspects of the media itself can that can end up with the same result, with no state oversight necessary. It gives five such aspects:

"The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news 'filters,' fall under the following headings: (1) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit
Jan 19, 2010 Ryan rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2009 Darren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political
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
Oct 25, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing
This is an 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 Vietnam (although Vietnam had a much higher magnitude of significance). What's 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 all-the-while they ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
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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 about Noam Chomsky...

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“Education is a system of imposed ignorance.” 472 likes
“The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.” 18 likes
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