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Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,088 ratings  ·  629 reviews
Noam Chomsky’s backpocket classic on wartime propaganda and opinion control begins by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. According to Chomsky, "propaganda is to democracy as the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state," and the mass media is the primary vehicle for deliveri ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 103 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by Seven Stories Press (first published 1995)
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Tom Short answer: sort of.

Long answer: Manufacturing Consent is arguably Chomsky (and Edward S. Hermans) magnum opus; Media Control is his runner-up. Medi…more
Short answer: sort of.

Long answer: Manufacturing Consent is arguably Chomsky (and Edward S. Hermans) magnum opus; Media Control is his runner-up. Media Control is much more a book of examples than philosophy. Whereas Manufacturing Consent seeks to establish a manifesto of sorts detailing the operation of propaganda and information control, Media Control seeks to provide examples of this manifesto.

If I recall correctly, the chapters in the book are actually taken from other written pieces and lectures and compiled into this work. I'd read it if you're particularly interested in evidence of propaganda and media manipulation. (less)

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Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm familiar with Noam Chomsky's ideas, from references and such, but I hadn't actually read any of his books. Not knowing where to start, I chose this one purely for convenience. Even though the writing could be better - there were lots of repetitions and the writing in general didn't feel properly edited - there's no denying that the ideas he presents are powerful. And very, very important.

And yes, I know that a lot of people accuse him of being a conspiracy theorist. Nowadays, anyone who even
Mario the lone bookwolf
Disinformation and confusion generated at ever higher levels. And that is the description of the condition more than 20 years ago.

Please note that I have put the original German text to the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

An even better understanding and overview of the overall situation can be seen in combination with his second work "Manufacturing Consent."
Long after its first publication, the work has lost none of its topicality. Each society returns to already reached poi
Sep 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Reading this book is like listening to a diatribe from your favorite professor. You think he is probably right in his conviction that the media is controlling public opinion of the "bewildered herd," but he doesn't present much empirical research. Must be nice to have tenure.

This is an important book for anyone studying media theory but I don't think the theories hold quite as much water in the digital age. (Post)modern media is more fragmented and thus public opinion is not as easily controlle
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read: July 2017

Shorter, and more readable than the last Chomsky book I read, I found Media Control thoroughly chilling. He calls the majority of the population (of America, though it can apply anywhere else as well) 'the bewildered herd' - the majority of which are by nature peaceful, and happy to not go to war with other countries. The media's job therefore, is to stir up patriotism with vague slogans like 'support our troops' which of course no one will be against, and to highlight atrocities
Mario García
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this text has been oxymoronically presented as "an excellent place to start with the anarchist left agenda" and somewhat entertaining as you will find in some balanced comments, one cannot leave this reading without even grasping the importance of Chomsky's overview: It is a must read for those who want to analyze the undermining of History itself by those in power.

Those in power, "They", as marginalized people bash while massively filling ballots, are the "intelligent few" in the words Ed
مصطفي سليمان
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
how to make ppl hate each other?

mmmm, Noam say it and give a great description

control the media full it with all crap you want

about bad (soviet's , communism , Islam , Arab , Asia ,etc...)

the dial is here in mid-east do this too , but on us

speared the fear make them need us , tell them we are the new Christ

the one , if we go you will doomed

and ppl believe , so when true ppl say no , get up ppl say NOOOO!!!

ib TV we trust

great book about how the world as*hole who call them self president mak
Jan 29, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017, nonfiction
I read this for my Propaganda in the Media class which I ADORE, from the content to my awesome professor. If you have the chance to take this class, it's an enlightening experience. This book overviews the modern history of propaganda but is also incredibly relevant to current events happening right now. It was so interesting to learn the theories behind media control and distraction techniques and how they relate to democratic society. It describes democracy itself in two perspectives and one o ...more
Wafa Foufa
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
"That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about."

A short but a good book for introducing and giving exemples of the use of propaganda by USA.
Mohsin Maqbool
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Taming the bewildered herd

By Mohsin Maqbool Elahi

PROPAGANDA has had some spectacular achievements. However, one of the most spectacular has been the control over the media.
The book, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, has been written by Noam Chomsky, who needs no introduction.
The first modern government propaganda operation started under the Woodrow Wilson Administration right in the middle of World War I. The Wilson administration set up a government propaganda missio
Mar 13, 2011 rated it liked it
This book gives you quite a good idea about how propaganda is used in democracies, with examples we've lived without noticing how media was diverting the bewildered herd.
I couldn't rate it more than 3 stars because I needed to read more details about the usage of language, or topics in news bulletins.. etc. Such details that Chomsky didn't discuss it fully in this book.
Karlo Mikhail
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
offers an impressionistic account, peppered with anarchist doxa, rather than a serious look at how the corporate media is used by the financial oligarchy to foster their class rule
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Noam explains how people who control media easily manipulate public opinion and how they give their own version of the reality that does not much the real reality. He also points out how media select subject to talk about and hide some realities and distract the bewildered herd
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such a short but important book. Although it can be repetitive and the writing isn't brilliant, it is a great introduction to media propaganda. I recommend this to anyone and everyone who wants to see the truth
Alok Sharma
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
how politicians and corporation create a deadly combination for democracy.
A good and a very short book for propaganda busting in your own head without external need.
Ha Nguyen
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I guess Chomsky decided that just the briefest knowledge is sufficient for the bewildered herd. Repetitive and all over the place.
Vilém Zouhar
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
USA is totalitarian. Post communist eastern Europe countries are totalitarian.
In other news (more literally than usual): be content, it's normal.
Andrew Allison
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is split into two essays, the second of which, "The Journalist from Mars" was an excellent criticism of the US's hypocritical condemnation of terrorism while they themselves take part in terrorist acts by their own definition. Not relying on any moral truths other than "if some act is right for us then it's right for others, and if it's wrong when others do it, then it's wrong when we do it," Chomsky shows that there are innumerable instances of morally impermissible terrorist acts com ...more
Ali Reda
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A "revolution in the art of democracy," could be used to "manufacture consent" that is, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that they didn't want by the new techniques of propaganda. It was necessary because "the common interests elude public opinion entirely" and can only be understood and managed by a "specialized class" of "responsible men" who are smart enough to figure things out. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too, to be ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: research, non-fiction
Love Chomsky and THIS is required reading for anyone who engages with any kind of media ... ahem, so... everyone. The only way to arm yourself against inevitable daily propaganda brainwashing is to know that that it's everywhere.
بسام  الريحاني Bassem RIHANI
A few number of pages, yet, this is a very important and purposive book. It opens questions around the way we use Democracy today .. Which type of Democracy we use ? Around The General Opinion,, Is it truly reflected the Reality,, or this Reality can be constructed, in other words "engineering of consent" ?

So here’s some “long” quotes - really long - to help “summarize” a few points that the book talked about..

SPECTATOR DEMOCRACY which I called it The FAKE Democracy .
… there are two "
Tomoko Yoshikawa
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Very true in Japanese media, and people are controlled by these media. It's scary that our freedom of speech is in danger too.
Mohammed Abdelkafi
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
everyone should read..and I mean everyone!
Doc Brown
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you've never read any Chomsky then this is a good place to start
Nuruddin Azri
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chomsky hit the bar again with these two simple statements,

"State propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and many others, and it has been pursued to this day."

"One of the questions asked in that study was, How many Vietnamese casualties would you estimate that there were during the Vietnam war? The average response on the part of Americans today is about 100, 000. The official figure
Michael Anderson
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Apparently it’s easy for a government to “manufacture consent” for war through media propaganda. It’s how Wilson changed America from isolationism to virulent war hatred of Germany before World War I. It’s how small countries are portrayed and accepted as dangerous enemies of the US. It’s how terrorism is made to be what your enemies do, but not what you do. it’s a frightening look at how easily the minds and attitudes of people can be manipulated. The book’s one flaw is that the text is a trans ...more
Alexandra Cross
His writing was repetitive. Another review thought he should have worked through his writing more. I think it was done with intention. Chomsky's writing reminded me a lot of a video I saw on Trump's speeches, it said he would simplify and repeat to get the message across. Realizing this made it difficult to read without feeling manipulated or persuaded.

I did, however, value the first half of the book where he discussed loneliness, tv time & the lack of know how to organize for the general publi
Nikhil Waiker
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Can taste Chomsky's anger!
Ehsan Choudhry
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
More like an hour long lecture by Chomsky. Very brief, yet gives you few points as food for thought to reflect and study further on the issue.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A timeless classic. Chomsky heightens our awareness of the ways in which media can and do manipulate perceptions.
Tobias Taylor
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, history-politics
Apt I think, given the recent death of Fidel Castro, to confront where a lot of Western opinion on his various activities in Cuba originated. The year 1986 saw the release of Armando Valladares' memoirs which instantly became the topic of media frenzy. He had been a Cuban prisoner and, according to the Washington Post and New York Times, told an "inspiring and unforgettable account" of how Castro "created a new despotism that [had] institutionalized torture as a mechanism of social control." The ...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

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“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” 271 likes
“It's only terrorism if they do it to us. When we do much worse to them, it's not terrorism.” 132 likes
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