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

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  8,285 ratings  ·  223 reviews
We normally think that the press are cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in its search for truth. In Manufacturing Consent Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky show how an underlying elite consensus largely structures all facets of the news. Far from challenging established power, the media work hard to discover and mirror its assumptions. The authors skilfully dissect the w ...more
ebook, 3rd Edition, 543 pages
Published March 11th 2011 by The Bodley Head (A Division of Random House Publishing) (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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Aaron
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
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
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
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
Andrew
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
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
Paul DeBusschere
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
...more
Captainanarchy
This book is not exactly fun to read, but thats okay because it is not the point of it anyway. It is about the way the content of the news(papers) is influenced by the general structure of the media industry. It clearly shows why conspiracy theories are wrong: propaganda works way better with biases that are inherent in the system than with a large conspiracy.
Weather one likes Chomsky or not: Manufacturing Consent casts light on issues and raises questions every being with only a little bit int
...more
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
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
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
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
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
Celticguardian
Manufacturing Consent is rightly regarded as a seminal work of media analysis. Chomsky and Herman sketch out they’re ‘propaganda model’. This model is composed of five filters through which the ‘raw material of news must pass through...leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print.’ These five filters are the constraints imposed upon the media. They are: (1) The size and ownership of the media; (2) media funding through advertising; (3) the media’s reliance on government and corporate “experts” ...more
Rick Vigorous
The basic argument of the book, written in 1988, is that the media, which has become ever more centralized and corporatized in recent decades, tends to show a consistent bias toward reporting the news in a way that is favorable to those in power, including government institutions and corporations.

In the book's preface, the authors make the important point that their analysis differs from a conspiracy theory in that, rather than positing some powerful puppet master who is secretly pulling all of
...more
Natalie
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
...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».
Evan Hughes
Very interesting read on the propaganda model that influences American media. Chomsky compares and dissects the coverage of a number of events (violence in Guatemala and El Salvador (U.S. supported states and thus less coverage for victims of atrocities and less scrutiny of elections) vs. violence in Nicaragua (non-supported and more coverage for victims and more scrutiny of elections), the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II (attempted to shift blame to Soviets), and the Vietnam, Cambodi ...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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