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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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  13,297 ratings  ·  499 reviews
An absolutely brilliant analysis of the ways in which individuals and organizations of the media are influenced to shape the social agendas of knowledge and, therefore, belief. Contrary to the popular conception of members of the press as hard-bitten realists doggedly pursuing unpopular truths, Herman and Chomsky prove conclusively that the free-market economics model of m ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published 2002 by Pantheon (first published 1988)
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Joe Defiant It's a structured book written by both Chomsky and Edward Herman. Lots of references/sources based on examples throughout history where two similar…moreIt's a structured book written by both Chomsky and Edward Herman. Lots of references/sources based on examples throughout history where two similar events happened at about the same time, one the US supported, the other the US denounced. It shows how US supported atrocities get almost 0 coverage and "official enemy" atrocities get endless coverage with detailed examples of both. It also details how there is basically goal posts in media coverage and anything between them is covered but anything to the right or left is not, not by some secret cabal meeting behind closed doors, simply by corporate media acting like a corporation.

There is a documentary widely available for viewing online that you could watch to get an idea of what the book is about that has the same title. The book is much more detailed obviously.(less)

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Nandakishore Varma
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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
...more
Michael
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, 2019
Forceful and harrowing, Manufacturing Consent lucidly breaks down how the U.S. mass media dutifully serves elite interests. Authors Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman demonstrate through a series of incisive case studies that, more often than not, America’s massive media conglomerates parrot the agenda of the government and major multinational corporations; to the extent that dissent is featured, the pair of writers illustrate, it is limited to disagreement among elites. Hopping from Eastern Europe ...more
Aaron
Jan 13, 2010 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
...more
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
Science (Fiction) Comedy Horror and Fantasy Geek/Nerd a.k.a Mario
The illusion of a mature awareness is a propaganda model.

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

In modern media, it is important never to let the uncomfortable and in-depth facts crawl too far out of their sockets. For this it is best to mention them in the shortest newsflashes for lousy airtime and in subsidiary columns with ten words. It is a difficult but essential game. If a media company forgets such a report, one sees itse
...more
Matthias
Aug 08, 2011 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
...more
Walter
Dec 03, 2007 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
Jeff Menter
Apr 08, 2008 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.

Congratulations.
Travis
Jun 01, 2009 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
...more
Glesnertod
Jan 21, 2012 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 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
...more
Natalie aka Tannat
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
David Cupples
Jun 28, 2012 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
Francesca Calarco
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman present a compelling (and horrifying) case for a type of media bias they deem the “propaganda model” in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

Published at the end of the Reagan era, the framework of the two authors’ argument stems largely from case studies of Cold War conflict overseas. They contend that much of the (U.S.) media coverage of U.S. involvement in Latin American, the Middle East, and most notably Vietnam, is inherently flaw
...more
Paul DeBusschere
Feb 09, 2015 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
...more
Kevin
Let's unpack this modern classic on the role of propaganda in perpetuating imperialism:

The Good:
--While "Manufacturing Consent" has become a subtitle to "Noam Chomsky", Herman seems to be the primary author of this book. Nevertheless, I felt the need to go through Chomsky's most-read book to evaluate the details for this often-cited framework.

--Having heard Chomsky summarize media propaganda elsewhere, what stood out with this book's presentation are:

1) Providing the 5 propaganda filters preven
...more
April Hawkins
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this entire work from cover to cover. It took me 9 mos. 9 mos. of suffering for this one. I'm not ashamed. I learned a lot, though there were also things that went over my head. It is NOT for the lay person. You need previous knowledge of the people and places he describes. Don't get me wrong, I love Chomsky, I think he's probably the smartest person alive today, but his writing is a headache to read. And I became very discouraged at times and wanted to quit. But I didn't quit, and now he ...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
Amy
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was studying political science during my undergrad circa 98-02, I had a little button that I wore for years that simply said ‘Read more Chomsky’.
I’ve read many of his books, but nothing in at least 15 years so I decided it was time to return to that buttons advice.
Picking up Manufacturing Consent, a book on my bookshelf that has been there for years without having been read, was like enjoying a bottle of my favourite wine, that I haven’t drank in eons. It’s just so good! So smart! Love
...more
Rae Diaz
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
listen, i'm disassociating as i write this and it's likely that i was in a similar state of mind half of the times i picked up this book but i'll wipe my own slate. i admit didn't read the entire book, i got up to the part about the pessimistic coverage of the Tet Offensive, so page 240?
it was a good book, don't get me wrong. this book is absolutely brimming with quotes, real life events, and references. it's thoroughly researched and in the end that's what made me stop reading it. it's so acad
...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
Naveed Qazi
Jun 04, 2011 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 systemati
...more
sologdin
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leftwing-theory
indispensable. basic thesis is that cappy 'journalism' will filter out certain information as a matter of structural necessity. premise is that debate shall be fiercely encouraged within a narrow ideological window in order to achieve a conformity of opinion unseen in torturer states; opinion outside the window is to be ignored and discarded as crazed. develops ideas articulated in the two-volume PEHR.
Marshall
Nov 08, 2016 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
...more
Leftbanker
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
I read this—or most of it—many years ago and felt it was time for a reread. As I plow through this hallmark of American liberal thought I realize how much Chomsky shaped my thinking throughout my life as someone who is interested in justice and democracy. Either you find great truths in this work or you find it to be radical hogwash.

I came upon Chomsky because of his work in linguistics, as languages have always been a fascination. Rereading this book 25 years later I realize how much he shaped
...more
Jim Drewes
Aug 13, 2013 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
...more
Julia Leporace
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"In contrast to the standard conception of the media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in their search for truth and their independence of authority, we have spelled out and applied a propaganda model that indeed sees the media as serving a "societal purpose", but not that of enabling the public to assert meaningful control over the political process by providing them with the information needed for the intelligent discharge of political responsibilities. On the contrary, a propaganda m ...more
Kara
... as Judge Gurfein ruled in supporting the right of the New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers after the government had failed to show any threat of a breach of security but only the possibility of embarrassment: "a cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know."
Peggy Warren
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for everyone.
Chuy Ruiz
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
An extremely detailed analysis of multiple foreign policy events in the 1980's, detailing what they called a propaganda model in US media that in effect manufactures consent for US intervention in other nations and colors, censors, and changes the information and the framing of information presented to the US public. An eye opening read if you've never analyzed US media or were skeptical of the way they provide information.
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9,840 followers
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
“Education is a system of imposed ignorance.” 554 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.” 32 likes
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