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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

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In this pathbreaking work, 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 the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.

Based on a series of case studies—including the media’s dichotomous treatment of “worthy” versus “unworthy” victims, “legitimizing” and “meaningless” Third World elections, and devastating critiques of media coverage of the U.S. wars against Indochina—Herman and Chomsky draw on decades of criticism and research to propose a Propaganda Model to explain the media’s behavior and performance. Their new introduction updates the Propaganda Model and the earlier case studies, and it discusses several other applications. These include the manner in which the media covered the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and subsequent Mexican financial meltdown of 1994-1995, the media’s handling of the protests against the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund in 1999 and 2000, and the media’s treatment of the chemical industry and its regulation. What emerges from this work is a powerful assessment of how propagandistic the U.S. mass media are, how they systematically fail to live up to their self-image as providers of the kind of information that people need to make sense of the world, and how we can understand their function in a radically new way.

412 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

Edward S. Herman

47 books188 followers
Edward S. Herman was an economist and media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy and the media. He was Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also taught at Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor of Arts from University of Pennsylvania in 1945 and PhD in 1953 from the University of California, Berkeley.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,122 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,863 followers
November 28, 2021
The illusion of a mature, open minded awareness is a constructed propaganda model.

Reread 2021 with extended review

In modern media, it´s important to never let the uncomfortable and in-depth facts crawl too close to the light, and to achieve this it´s best to mention them in the shortest newsflashes at lousy airtime and in subsidiary columns with ten words. It´s a difficult but essential game, because if a media company completely forgets such a report it could be exposed to the criticism of not openly and objectively reporting about essential topics. Therefore, the extremely important message about the controversial reform of the health care, pension, educational, etc. system is placed in poorly legible font size somewhere on the left bottom half of page 74 where nobody reads it.

Praise the independence of the media, it´s not as if MSNBC is close to the only larger media outlet that dares to criticize the economic system while CNN, BBC, etc. are, well, reporting about the irrelevance of the political and financial circuses without ever questioning the foundations of this madness.

These techniques of concealing and hushing critical voices are revealed and explained by Herman and Chomsky who emphasize that the essential thing is to more or less subtly shape the mind of the people on a consensus. Over many years and decades, the message is repeated in various forms through always similar reporting until it has flowed into the faith and the attitude of the vast majority of pseudo informed and fringe educated people. As an encore, it´s common practice to scatter confusing, inconsistent, exaggerated, and scary messages, which makes people even more accessible to the suggested solutions and options for action. The stoked fear can be combined with blind faith in authorities, which tremendously helps boosting the success of the wished opinion.

Herman and Chomsky defined the new kind of influence and media control as a propaganda model in which the owners and shareholders of the media dictatorially determine the type of coverage and content. To mask this one-sidedness, supposedly objective reporting is simulated without ever touching the real core of the problems, the exponential growth dogma.

An example: Unworthy killed terrorists in rogue states against heroic fighters in submissive vassal states. Cheapest simplification, pigeonholing, black and white painting, worthy and unworthy, friend and foe, good and evil. Adult children's books mistaken for education and information with the bad witch sizzling in the oven until it´s perfectly medium rare.

Twenty years after the publication of Hermans´ and Chomskys´work and the 50th anniversary of Operation Mockingbird
there is the question where we stand now, because what was possible at that time without technical goodies could soon have been expanded to unimaginable dimensions, let´s say individual, personalized propaganda to each smartphone, no matter which socioeconomic status, education, or ideology. It kind of seems as if a revision of the situation, a remake of Manufacturing Consent would urgently be needed, but, duh, which media would review something telling dirty, stinking, lies about the news. Self cannibalizing sucks.

However, Herman and Chomsky and, or their progressive successors should sit down with some of the leading activists and journalists and create a combination of the evaluation of the status quo and a prognosis of future developments. That would be a book.

In the past, blanket control and censorship without the internet were easy and now, this facilitated communication can be a blessing or a curse. An awakened, enlightened, not brainwashed civil society can solidarize and compel positive changes with its sheer mass whereas an apathetic, oppressed, and indoctrinated society may misuse the tools and turn their utility into the opposite. With a hammer, one can build a house or break a skull. Integrating this crucial new factor and thinking ahead with the concepts is a functional logic puzzle.

The media are still just as controlled as at any time of the democratic age, however, a significant amount of power has been put into the hands of users to get their data and earn money. This could be the overlooked factor, undermining the influence of the controlling bodies and finally bringing them down because they have given the masses an opportunity to unite and solidarize in exchange for unprecedented surveillance in a way never seen before.

Also, the new industries are not interested in concealing the lies of the past, since they have no contaminated sites, no skeletons in the closet, it´s in their interest to make the old dinosaurs appear in the worst light possible. By this means they can still bind people to their services, because they associate it with something positive while, at the same time, they can weaken their competitors by explicitly promoting and fueling the debates. Of course, they are also opportunists, followers, and profiteers of the situation, but not so directly to blame as the old industries that caused the whole mess.

How far the technology for control and manipulation has progressed now, can´t be estimated. Facebook alone employs thousands of people who are only concerned with the addictive flow production and the formation of perfect, cuddly filter bubbles. Google can influence a person's opinion across all platforms and age groups. The new giants are increasingly replacing the big media companies and it´s so much more entertaining and the people more united than with the passive, earlier methods. But the goal, controlling the dogmas, has remained the same.

A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books:

Kind of a warning:
As soon as one has read some Paul Hawken, Silvia Federici, Bill McKibben, Colin Crouch, Klein, William McDonough, Jessica Valenti, Henry David Thoreau, John Perkins, Steward Brand, Rebecca Solnit, George Monbiot, Kendi Ibram X, Yanis Varoufakis, Shiva Vandana, Jonathan Safran Foer, Ziegler, Davis Angela Y, Rachel Carson, Brittney Cooper, Kristof Nicholas D, etc., there is no way back, all once objective democratic institutions, media outlets, etc. just seem ridiculous, worthless, pathetic sockpuppets of corporate interests without any possibility of change.
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,256 reviews2,302 followers
September 19, 2015
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 corporate bookselling entity has taken over an independent website for book reviews. In no time, they are converting it from a meeting point of book-lovers to criticise and discuss books independently, to a marketing portal hosting fawning reviews of any rag they care to publish.

The corporate behemoths, for whom everything is either raw material to be exploited or a product to be consumed, is bent on polluting everything including the field of the intellect. We need people like Chomsky to point out the dangers, lest we become a generation of zombies.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,635 followers
November 18, 2019
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 example was Drumpf's use of misinformation, false news, lies and the press' blind belief in a solid Clinton victory which allowed him to sweep states that Obama had won in 2008 and 2012 and win the electoral college (which naturally he had criticized as useless in 2012). The erudite vision of Chomsky is perhaps hard to stomach for those who wish to guard their blinders but nonetheless, he has been right time after time.
On a side note, last year's Independant film Captain Fantastic does a beautiful and moving (to me anyway) homage to Noam :)
Happy reading!
Profile Image for Aaron.
100 reviews
March 7, 2010
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 far less the watchdog it was praised for being in covering the Watergate scandal?

Remember that Vietnam War "documentary" filmed by an entity called Freedom House that essentially argued the media were responsible for losing the war in Vietnam because they were too negative and anti-government and biased and anti-war? In some circles, that argument still holds weight, having taken root in the American Mind as an almost obvious given. It's total and complete bullshit, as Chomsky and Herman show.

To say the authors are scrupulous in taking on the above issues - and much more - is an understatement. This book is a true work of scholarship, extremely well-researched, heavily foot-noted and filled with ample evidence to back up its central argument that the mass media in the U.S. operate on a foundation of systematic propaganda.

Chomsky and Herman write: "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 fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda."

The maddening thing about this system is that, unlike a totalitarian state or one in which power is largely concentrated in some monopolistic, bureaucratic form, it is much more difficult to see a propaganda system hard at work where there is no formal censorship and media are largely privately held.

This explains why media compete and sometimes expose corporate or government corruption, and portray themselves, via their own channels of advertising, as looking out for the little guy. But, as Chomsky and Herman write, "What is not evident (and remains undiscussed in the media) is the limited nature of such critiques, as well as the huge inequality in command of resources, and its effect both on access to a private media system and on its behavior and performance."

A propaganda model, the authors argue, focuses on the inequality of wealth and power and "its multilevel effects on mass-media interests and choices. It traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public."

The essential ingredients of the U.S. propaganda model are as follows: "1) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth and profit orientation of the dominant mass media firms; 2) advertising as a primary income source of the mass media; 3 )the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and "experts" funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; 4) 'flak' as a means of disciplining the media; and 5) 'anticommunism' as a national religion and control mechanism."

In example after example, Chomsky and Herman show how these ingredients interact and reinforce each other. Take the issue of worthy and unworthy victims. The mainstream press (New York Times, Time Magazine, etc.), spoon-fed by government officials, finds the stories of victims of Soviet oppression to be worth heavy and sustained coverage. But when a U.S. client state (Guatemala, El Salvador), friendly to American business, brutalizes and terrorizes and murders its civilian population, the mainstream media look the other way or, when they do pay attention, they water down their coverage, banish it to a brief on the back page or simply report verifiably false information.

Not exactly the work of a free and independent press.

The Vietnam War is another case example. Contrary to the popularly held notion that the mass media turned the public against the war, the media actually favored the war from its inception, failing to raise even the most fundamental questions of morality in the beginning and then, as the war escalated, publishing the outright lies of the Nixon Administration. If you read the media then (and perhaps even today) you'd think America was righteously defending South Vietnam from the communists in North Vietnam. Utterly false, and the authors meticulously lay out the facts to prove it.

Even the most exhaustive of retrospective media documentaries about the Vietnam War stay true to the propaganda model, calling the war a "tragic error" despite all of the evidence of criminal aggression by the U.S. The authors write: "Our point is not that the retrospectives fail to draw what seem to us, as to much of the population, the obvious conclusions; the more significant and instructive point is that principled objection to the war as 'fundamentally wrong and immoral,' or as outright criminal aggression - a war crime - is inexpressible. It is not part of the spectrum of discussion. The background for such a principled critique cannot be developed in the media, and the conclusions cannot be drawn. It is not present even to be refuted. Rather, the idea is unthinkable."

"Manufacturing Consent" was published in 1988, and the copy I read was a reprint from 1994. I believe there is an updated, expanded version, and I kind of wish I had purchased that one instead of looking for the cheapest buy. That's because I imagine the latest version delves into the right-wing hysteria propagated by the likes of Fox News, and because I imagine it also takes on the role of the Internet in fragmenting media and, arguably, democratizing it by allowing essentially anyone to become a publisher.

At least, I imagine the latest version does these things. Maybe it doesn't. So I urge anyone interested in reading this most important work - perhaps the best and most incisive dissection of media I have ever read - to buy the most current edition. And then tell me about it.

In any case, prepare to have the fog of our propaganda model - and its central message that America is just great and, with the exception of a few minor tactical errors, is always on the side of freedom and democracy - lifted from your brain.

While Chomsky and Herman offer hope in the form of nonprofit and public TV and radio programs, and the dissident press, they are under no illusions about the political economy of the mass media: "In sum," they write, "the mass media of the United States are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without significant overt coercion. This propaganda system has become even more efficient in recent decades with the rise of the national television networks, greater mass media concentration, right-wing pressures on public radio and television, and the growth in scope and sophistication of public relations and news management."

Profile Image for Michael.
655 reviews964 followers
August 29, 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 to Central America to South Asia, Chomsky and Herman alternate between sketching a comprehensive history of postwar U.S. imperialism and detailing the media’s distorted and dishonest coverage of America’s international meddling. The book’s only flaw is that the writers don’t extensively consider how effective the media’s propaganda is in swaying public opinion, but it’s still well worth checking out.
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,287 followers
September 7, 2020
Convenient mythologies require neither evidence nor logic.

Once, I worked at a market research firm that specialized in print media. I learned quite a few things. For one, there are magazines and journals for everything—from fly-fishing to industrial food-processing equipment, from alpaca farming to professional clown associations. One particular magazine, for yacht owners, taught me something about wealth inequality. But all of the magazines taught me about the importance of ad revenue. While I had naively thought that publications make their money from subscriptions, readers are more akin to television viewers than true customers: they constitute an audience for advertisers to sell to.

It does not take a conspiracy theorist to conclude that this must have some influence on the actual content of the articles. After all, if a publication hopes to make money by selling, say, Home Depot adds, they will be disinclined to rail against the evils of home improvement. Yet this is only one factor that the Herman and Chomsky identify as influencing media coverage. Not only are publications directly funded by large corporations, but these days they are themselves owned by large corporations.

Then there are simply matters of logistics. If a publication must maintain its reputation of credibility while churning out ‘important’ news in the requisite amounts, then it must have a reliable source of news. Sending out investigative reporters to every corner of the world is not cost-effective. Instead, media outlets have symbiotic relationships with government agencies, often merely typing up press releases with a few explanatory comments. This benefits both parties, since the news outlets have reputable and newsworthy information, while the government agency is able to directly shape the narrative.

But the strongest influence of all—at least when it comes to foreign affairs—may be the invisible pull of patriotism. A coworker of mine had a cartoon on his locker that summed this up very nicely. My brave explorer is your bloodthirsty invader, my freedom fighters are your insurgents, my noble traditions are, for you, barbaric rites, and so on. Humans have a nearly irresistible tendency to apply an ethical double-standard when group loyalty is involved. We are always the good guys in the story.

When you put psychological bias, economic incentive, and structural inducements together, you get what the authors creatively term propaganda. Now, it is not propaganda of the traditional sort, with the government actively writing, screening, and approving news stories. Rather, it is a system where the limits of debate are established within an acceptable range, and where certain events are deemed important and others unimportant. It is, in other words, a system of assumptions about what is newsworthy, what is outrageous, and what is acceptable. The authors call this description of media activity the “propaganda model,” and set out to prove it.

Manufacturing Consent has achieved its status as a classic, not because of its sophisticated theorizing, but because of its well-documented case studies in media bias. The first case study may be the most convincing of all: a comparison of the media treatment of the murder of Jerzy Popieluszko, a Polish priest, and the killings of several religious personnel in Latin America. Popieluszko, who was murdered at the hands of communist police, was the subject of ongoing and enthusiastic media coverage, while the deaths of activist nuns, priests, and archbishops in El Salvador and Guatemala received only intermittent and relatively dry reporting. This is especially ironic, as the authors point out, as Popieluszko’s killers were brought to justice, while the vast majority of the murders in Latin America led to no conviction or even investigation.

The reason for this disparity is not far to seek. It is politically beneficial—not to mention emotionally gratifying—to focus on the atrocities of our enemies (the Soviets, in this case), while it is political damaging to consider that our own country is condoning or sponsoring similar terror. The double-standard reappears when it comes to elections. As the authors convincingly demonstrate, the US media went out of its way to praise quite flawed elections in US backed El Salvador and Guatemala, while questioning the validity of much fairer elections held in adversarial Nicaragua.

The book culminates with two long chapters on the Indochina conflicts (the Vietnam War and its spillover). These chapters are especially powerful, since they contradict the popular narrative of how media coverage influenced the war. The standard story goes that the media, by showing Americans how brutal the war really was, effectively ‘lost’ the war by undermining public support.

But the authors show that the objections to the war presented in mass media insistently centered on whether it was ‘worth it’—whether we were gaining or losing from the endeavor—not, that is, on whether it was even ethical in the first place. There are many other examples of this bias: the use of Agent Orange to destroy crops was discussed in the press as a hazard to American troops, not as a war crime or a chemical weapon; and the lack of support for American involvement among the South Vietnamese was consistently sidestepped. The authors eventually conclude that the media’s portrayal of the war’s progress was more positive than the government’s own internal briefings.

Though the authors are convincing, I cannot help wondering whether the authors’ analysis still neatly applies to the present day. The media misdeeds analyzed in this book occurred during the Cold War, when the United States had an omnipresent enemy to defeat. Shortly after this book’s publication, the Soviet Union fell; but soon enough America had a new enemy in Islamic terrorism. This threat, too, now seems to be receding from public consciousness, and most Americans no longer have such a strong us-versus-them mentality are regards to the wider world. Lacking this evil adversary, does the mainstream media still use such an egregious double standard?

One major shortcoming of this book is its near exclusive focus on foreign affairs (something which, I fear, is of secondary importance to most voters). The exception to this is a short section comparing the media treatment of Watergate, which targeted the elite Democrats, and the simultaneous revelation that the FBI had been actively interfering with and harassing the socialist party for years. The former was a major scandal, while the latter hardly blipped the public’s awareness. But I would have enjoyed a deeper analysis of how issues in, say, presidential elections are framed by the media.

Another shortcoming is the authors’ sharp focus on proving their thesis rather than offering solutions. While the reader is convinced, by the end, of the double standard applied by the media in foreign affairs, we are left in the dark as to how to fix this predicament. Their account of media bias could have been balanced, therefore, by a look at organizations which manage to do a better job, and an analysis of how they do it. Lacking this—or even a list of sources that the authors themselves find useful—the readers is left in perplexity and despair.

The closest the authors do come to imagining a solution is their call for more democratically controlled media. By a miracle of technology, we now find ourselves in just this situation: virtually everyone can upload videos and pictures, write articles and blogs, and potentially reach a wide audience. Yet the evidence is rather unclear as to whether this has been a good thing.

To me it seems that the democratization of media has led both to the greater circulation of truth and falsehood. On the plus side, the growing awareness of police brutality could probably not have come about if people were not able to capture videos and upload them, thereby providing citizens with shocking and undeniable evidence of violence. On the negative side, however, this same easy access has allowed misinformation to be circulated just as widely, creating a kind of epistemological crisis where different political groups not only have different opinions, but believe in very different facts.

This has culminated in an alarming growth of conspiracy theories, most notably the Qanon movement, which Buzzfeed has recently taken to calling a “collective delusion.” As somebody who has witnessed a person fall through the rabbit hole of “alternate” news sources, from vaccine skepticism, to the JFK assassination, and finally to Qanon (complete with rabid Trump support, of course), I am fairly skeptical that democratization of news sources will suffice to save us.

There do not seem to be any easy answers. Good reporting requires resources—not only technology and capital, but trained personnel who are familiar with journalistic standards. The technology, capital, and training must come from somewhere, and it is difficult to imagine where it may come from that would not affect the information in significant ways. State-owned media are not beholden to advertisers, but to the state; and journals funded by subscriptions alone face the strong temptation to gratify their readers with sensationalist content.

One wonders, then, whether this critique of the main-stream media has ultimately backfired. Nowadays, one hears media skepticism most virulently from the right, not the left; and Trump has used this skepticism as a powerful weapon to escape accountability. Skepticism and democratization are blades that cut both ways, it seems. What can be done?
Profile Image for Kevin.
290 reviews929 followers
January 19, 2021
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 preventing free press (monopolized private ownership, advertising as income, reliance on elite sources, disciplinary disincentives, and anti-communist ideology) and applying these in case studies.

2) Illustrative comparative case studies to isolate profound American media bias (this term seems too docile given the consequences of genocide, fascism, and imperialism): US in Vietnam vs. USSR in Afghanistan, US allies El Salvador/Guatemala elections vs. enemy Nicaragua elections, etc.

3) The 5 criteria for meaningful elections is also useful, given the propaganda value of declaring "fair elections" vs. "rigged elections"

--In scrutinizing the book's delivery, this format seems more useful to counter devoted centrists/Liberals/Social Democrats (i.e. ones who actually follow/contribute to foreign policy mass media, like NYT's Stephen Kinzer used in case studies here) than for educating default centrists (who just assume what they perceive as the "middle ground" without following the details).
...Devoted centrists can tune out conflicting frameworks like power/class relations as "ideology" (and therefore not "objective"), but they still rely on some logic to arrange the bit-sized details they consume. Would they implode at a certain point from their internal contradictions? Or were they pre-selected for superhuman abilities in cognitive dissonance?

The Missing:
--The rigor in this book is most useful as a reference and historical resource; for the other group of centrists, the default centrists, accessibility (and greater scope) would be a better place to start than this grueling read...
--Chomsky intros:
1) Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky
2) Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies

--Although not part of this book's scope, a common debate regarding Chomsky is his anarchist/anarcho-syndicalist critiques of real-world socialism as authoritarian (you can witness this unfold in the comments below). Also, I have created a playlist to provide alternative perspectives (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLS...), featuring:
1) Vijay Prashad: Red Star Over the Third World
2) Michael Parenti: Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism

--The "media" in this book is confined to foreign policy/international relations (thus omitting domestic issues and of course pop culture/entertainment); this topic indeed receives the most insidious propaganda. A more-opaque topic is the structures capitalism (profit/private power/capitalist property rights/endless accumulation/economic rent), the modern religion:
1) Useful intros:
-Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works - and How It Fails
-Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism
-Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present
2) Next-level:
-Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance

...This book does provides an illustrative example of market logic in theory ("freedom!") and practice (one-dollar-one-vote), where the working class Daily Herald in Britain had 4.7 million readers in its last year, almost doubling the combined readership of establishment giants The Times, The Financial Times, and the Guardian. However, the Herald was no longer competitive in terms of profitability given the growing dominance of advertising profits (one-dollar-one-vote, as opposed to one-person-one-vote). Unpacking market ideology in healthcare, education, pensions, labor market, etc. in an accessible manner is much needed...
Profile Image for Natalie aka Tannat.
600 reviews5 followers
December 19, 2014
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 difficulties in mustering support for the latest national venture in counterrevolutionary intervention."

Yes, that was a paragraph, and it was from chapter 1, so it didn't exactly help my experience. I don't even think it's the best example of what bothered me about the writing. If it didn't bother you, you'll be fine. I have issues with any book where I have to reread sentences 3 times just to parse their meaning.
Profile Image for Paul DeBusschere.
Author 2 books5 followers
February 20, 2015
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 stems from the book having been written in the late 1980's and only lightly revised in 2000. Hence, the text does not include the media's eight year vilification of George W. Bush's domestic and foreign policy, and its incessant love affair with Barack Obama's leftist agenda. Thus the perspective the book offers on the media seems dated, as the three examples given - Central America, Vietnam, the Bulgarian Connection - arise from a different political era. As for media reporting on domestic issues, the book takes a complete pass.

Furthermore, the underlying premise of Herman and Chomsky is one that deserves more critical examination than is given in the book. This is not that media serves to spread propaganda. Rather, the book's underlying assumption is that the media is right-wing in nature because media outlets are owned and controlled by corporations. Although asserted, no proof is given in the text. However, one can easily conclude this is fallacious based on contributions by corporation to both political parties. Corporations are profit driven and there are just as many left-wing corporate heads as there are right-wing, if political contributions are any indicator.

Additionally, the text of Manufacturing Consent has the appearance of a scholarly work, but a careful reading reveals it doesn't measure up. End notes are sporadic, though numerous. There are many assertions of opinion in the text which are not supported in the text or by any end notes. In some instances where an assertion has a note, the note is just another assertion, with no reference. In some other instances, the authors reference unpublished works, which is as good as no reference at all. Apparently, the authors think the readers should simply trust them.

Despite all of this, Herman and Chomsky do make a convincing case. One should be skeptical of the media - just not for the base reasons the authors cite. Coming from as far left as Herman and Chomsky must be, it is not too much of a stretch to understand their warped view of the media as right-wing. Considered from a more inclusive and centrist lens, however, one still can accept the propaganda model they propose, but from a more balanced perspective.
1 review3 followers
August 9, 2011
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 review on this book.
Profile Image for May.
299 reviews12 followers
April 16, 2021
A well-researched and eye-opening book. It came as no wonder to me that the U.S. government basically screws over every other nation which is deemed not Capitalist/Neo-liberal enough, or is not an ally and thus whatever atrocities committed within its borders are acceptable, as this does not serve the financial and political interests of those in power, namely the mega-corporations, their owners, and their lobbyists.

What truly shocked me though was the extent to which the U.S. interefered with foreign affairs, and the callousness and sheer cruelty it exhibited in Latin America, Vietnam, and other "communist" countries, even using chemical warfare and annihilating thousands of peasants by depriving them of their sustenance and indiscriminately bombing their villages.

A democracy only in name with its sacred religion of "anti-communism", the U.S. government continues to wreak havoc using its superior military prowess instead of truly furthering the goal of world peace and environmental protection.

Manufacturing Consent illustrates and drives home the fact that the media, accused of being "cOnTrOllEd by the LEFT", is, on the contrary, in the hands of the rich and powerful, as those are the very same people that finance it and comprise its "official sources" of information.

"Ben Bagdikian notes that when the first edition of his Media Monopoly was published in 1983, fifty giant firms dominated almost every mass medium; but just seven years later, in 1990, only twenty-three firms occupied the same commanding position. Since 1990, a wave of massive deals and rapid globalization have left the media industries further centralized in nine transnational conglomerates…These giants own all the world's major film studios, TV networks, and music companies, and a sizable fraction of the most important cable channels, cable systems, magazines, major-market TV stations, and book publishers."

The filters that produce this most deplorable result are summed up as follows:

1- The size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms: the limitation on ownership of media with any substantial outreach by the requisite large size of investment
2- Advertising as the primary income source of the mass media
3- The reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and "experts" funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power
4- “Flak" (the ability to complain about the media's treatment of news) as a means of disciplining the media
5- “Anticommunism" as a national religion and control mechanism.

I gave the book four stars only because I felt it was repetitive at times, in addition to containing too many details that were of no interest to someone living outside the U.S. and had not experienced the reaction of the media to the various wars and invasions discussed.

"...a propaganda model suggests that the "societal purpose" of the media is to inculcate and defend the economic, social, and political agenda of privileged groups that dominate the domestic society and the state. The media serve this purpose in many ways: through selection of topics, distribution of concerns, framing of issues, filtering of information, emphasis and tone, and by keeping debate within the bounds of acceptable premises."

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Shadin Pranto.
1,193 reviews263 followers
March 15, 2020
পুনর্পাঠ সমাপ্ত।

নোয়াম চমস্কি এবং এডওয়ার্ড এস. হারম্যানের এই বইটি বিশ্বব্যাপী অত্যন্ত জনপ্রিয় এবং গণমাধ্যম চিন্তাধারার ওপর খুবই প্রভাবশালী। উদারবাদের পতাকাধারী মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের গণমাধ্যমের আসল চরিত্র জনতার সামনে তুলে ধরেছেন এই দু'জন৷

মূলত, গণমাধ্যমের প্রোপাগান্ডা মডেল উপস্থাপন পুরো পৃথিবীতে গণমাধ্যমসংশ্লিষ্ট 'শুভ' ভাবনাকে ধাক্কা দিয়েছেন। পাঁচটি ধাপে একটি দেশের সকল দলকানা এবং তথাকথিত নিরপেক্ষ সংবাদমাধ্যমগুলো জনতাকে বলির পাঁঠা বানায়। আর নিজেদের স্বার্থকে সদা রাখে সমুন্নত।সেই ছলচাতুরির ইতিবৃত্ত মার্কিনদেশের প্রেক্ষাপটে লিখেছেন এই বইতে। আসুন, চমস্কি বর্ণিত প্রোপাগান্ডা মডেলের চিরন্তন ধাপগুলো জেনে নিই -

১. গণমাধ্যমের আকার, মালিকানা এবং মুনাফা চিন্তাঃ গণমাধ্যম বড় না ছোট, মালিক কোন দলের, সরকার কি চায় এই তিনটি মোটাদাগের বিষয়ের মাধ্যমে নির্ধারণ হয় কোন সংবাদটি প্রকাশ করা হবে। আর কোন জনগুরুত্বপূর্ণ কিন্তু মালিকস্বার্থবিরোধী খবরকে মাটিচাপা দেওয়া হবে তাও ঠিক করা হয়। ঠিক এই কারণের যুগান্তর পত্রিকার যমুনা গ্রুপের মালিকের কর ফাঁকির মামলার খবর পান না। এইজন্যই নিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর কিংবা বাংলাদেশ প্রতিদিন কখনো টু শব্দটি করে না বসুন্ধরা গ্রুপের জমি দখল নিয়ে!

২.বিজ্ঞাপনঃ মোবাইল কোম্পানিরগুলোর ইন্টারনেটের উচ্চমূল্য, হাজার কোটি টাকা কর ফা��কির সংবাদ কিংবা স্নো মাখলেই নূরানি চেহারা হয় না তা নিয়ে কখনোই উচ্চবাচ্য করতে পারে না এদেশীয় গণমাধ্যমগুলো৷ কারণ এইসব বিজ্ঞাপনদাতাদের টাকায় তারা চলেন। তাই বিজ্ঞাপনদাতা বড় বড় কোম্পানির অপকর্ম কিংবা এই প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর মার্কেটে নেতিবাচক প্রভাব ফেলতে পারে - এমন কোনো অনুষ্ঠান কিংবা সংবাদ প্রচার করার সাধ্য গণমাধ্যমগুলোর কলিজায় নেই।

৩.সংবাদের জন্মদানঃ ভাবছেন দেশে যা ঘটছে তাই ���ড়ছেন পত্রিকায়, দেখছেন টিভির পর্দায়। বিলকুল নেহি। সংবাদমাধ্যমগুলো ঠিক যা চাইছে তা দেখছেন, তাই পড়ছেন প্রতিদিন। এজন্য হিরো আলম বিরাট কাভারেজ পান। কিন্তু তনু হত্যার ঘটনা সোশ্যাল মিডিয়ায় ঝড় না তুললে কানেই নেয়না মূলধারার সংবাদমাধ্যমগুলো। 'ক্রসফায়ার'এর খবরের উৎস হয় আইনশৃঙ্খলা রক্ষাকারী বাহিনী। সেই সংবাদে থাকে না নিহতের পরিবারের কথা। আসেনা 'ক্রসফায়ার' এর প্রকৃত সত্য।

৪.হুমকি, ভয়ঃ 'নিউজ করবি তো জানে মাইরা ফালামু ' এই হুমকির পর দ্বিতীয়বার ভাবতে হয় সংবাদটি আলোর মুখ দেখবে কীনা। রাষ্ট্রযন্ত্র যখন বিভিন্ন অজুহাতে সংবাদপত্র, টিভি চ্যানেল বিনা নোটিশে বন্ধ করে দেয়, তখন সেই সংবাদমাধ্যমের মালিক, কর্মী সবাইকে ভীত থাকতে হয় 'নিউজ করলে অফ করে দিব ' এই অঘোষিত হুমকির ভয়ে। রাষ্ট্রের দায়িত্ব গণমাধ্যমের স্বাধীনতা নিশ্চিত করা। অথচ রাষ্ট্রই যখন কালা কানুনের মাধ্যমে গণমাধ্যমের মুখ সজোরে চেপে ধরে, তখন নিশ্চয়ই 'সত্য খবর' পাওয়ার আশা অঙ্কুরেই শেষ হয়ে যায়।

৫. লালভীতিঃ চমস্কির প্রোপাগান্ডা মডেলের সর্বশেষ ধাপ ছিল জনতাকে কমিউনিজমের ভয় দেখিয়ে সত্য সংবাদ 'কিল' করা। কিন্তু সোভিয়েটের পতনের পর শত্রু বদলেছে। আগে দেশের গণমাধ্যমগুলো পশ্চিমাদের প্রেসক্রিপশনে কিংবা চাপে সাম্যবাদ ভীতি ছড়াতো, ভয়ের সংস্কৃতি সৃষ্টি করতো কমিউনিজম বিরোধিতার নামে। কিন্তু এখন গণমাধ্যমগুলোর কমন শত্রু পালটেছে। হান্টিংটনের 'ক্ল্যাশ অফ সিভিলাইজেশন' পড়লেই পরিষ্কার বোঝা যায় ব্যাপারটা। গণমাধ্যমের মূল বিরোধিতা এখন সাম্যবাদ না। শক্র এখন ইসলাম। পশ্চিমা সংবাদমাধ্যমগুলোর কাভারেজ লক্ষ করলেই এই সত্য বোঝা যায়।

দেশে এখন একাদশ জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচনের হাওয়া। সক্কল নিরপেক্ষ বুদ্ধিমানের চাওয়া আমাদের পশ্চিমা দাদাবাবুরা কি বলেন তার দিকে। তেনারা ভালো বললে বুদ্ধিমানরা সমস্বরে বলবেন, 'নির্বাচন গুড হয়েছে।' তেনারা মন্দ বললেই স্লোগান হবে, ' নির্বাচন অবাধ, সুষ্ঠু ও নিরপেক্ষ হয়নি। ব্যাপক কারচুপি হয়েছে। ' এই পশ্চিমা পর্যবেক��ষকদের রায় যারা বেদবাক্য মনে করেন, তাদের উদ্দেশে চমস্কি তৃতীয় বিশ্বের তিনটি দেশের নির্বাচনের উদাহরণ টেনেছেন। এল সালভাদর, গুয়েতেমালা এবং নিকারাগুয়া৷ দেশ তিনটির নির্বাচন পর্যবেক্ষণ করে চমস্কির মত, পশ্চিমা দাদাবাবুরা নিজেদের স্বার্থে সেনাবাহিনীর একনায়কের নির্বাচনকে বলে অবাধ, সুষ্ঠু। যেমনটি করেছে গুয়েতেমালা আর এল সালভাদরে। আবার তুলনামূলক সুষ্ঠু, নিরপেক্ষ নির্বাচন হলেও পশ্চিমা পর্যবেক্ষকদের চোখে নিকারাগুয়ার নির্বাচন ভালো মনে হয় না। তাই চমস্কির বিশ্লেষণের পর সহজেই কইতে পারি, পশ্চিমা দাদাবাবু পর্যবেক্ষকদের কথায় ভরসা করা ঠিক হইবো না। তাদের পর্যবেক্ষণ নির্ভর করে দেনা-পাওনার ওপর। গণতন্ত্র কিংবা বাকস্বাধীনতার স্বপক্ষে তো নয়ই।
Profile Image for Walter.
33 reviews8 followers
December 4, 2007
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 corporations and other powerful interests.

They do a good job supporting their claim (solid scholarship I recall...though my standards have gotten a bit higher since them) that almost all television and most magazine content is shameless propaganda for the dominant classes. Read this book and then see if you can watch TV or read a paper in the same way again...I doubt it.
Profile Image for Jeff Menter.
31 reviews30 followers
April 8, 2008
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.

Profile Image for Rubell.
136 reviews25 followers
March 21, 2022
In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.
― Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent:The Political Economy of the Mass Media বই আকারে প্রথম প্রকাশ পেয়েছিল ১৯৮৮ সালে। Cold War তখনও শেষ হয়নি। Edward S. Herman এবং Noam Chomsky লিখেছেন আমেরিকা(USA) কীভাবে গণমাধ্যমকে ব্যবহার করে সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ জনগণের রাজনৈতিক মতাদর্শ ঠিক করে দেয়। বইটাকে দ্বিতীয় বিশ্বযুদ্ধের পরের পৃথিবীর রাজনৈতিক ইতিহাসেরও চমৎকার একটা দলিল হিসেবে বিবেচনা করা যায়। এখানে উপস্থাপিত অনেক উদাহরণ, তথ্য-উপাত্ত পরবর্তীতে কম-বেশি প্রাসঙ্গিকতা হারায়। তাই লেখকদ্বয় ২০০২ সালের সংস্করণে নতুন ভূমিকা যুক্ত করেছিলেন। ২০০৮ সালে আরেকটি রচনা যুক্ত হয়, যেখানে ইরাক যুদ্ধের আগে এবং পরে জর্জ বুশ সরকার ও আমেরিকার মেইনস্ট্রিম মিডিয়ার ভূমিকা সংক্ষেপে লিপিবদ্ধ হয়েছে।

স্বভাবতই ২০০৮-এর পরও ইতিহাসের দলিল বহুবার হালনাগাদ হয়েছে। ইরাক, আফগানিস্তান যুদ্ধ আমেরিকার গণহত্যার অনেক অজানা তথ্য ফাঁস করেছিল উইকিলিক্স; ভিয়েতনাম যুদ্ধের সময়কার অনেক গোপন তথ্য প্রকাশ করেছে আমেরিকার গোয়েন্দা বাহিনী। এছাড়াও গত পনের বছরে উত্থান হয়েছে ফেসবুক, টুইটার, ইন্সটাগ্রাম, ইউটিউবের মত মিডিয়ার যেখানে সাধারণ মানুষ মিডিয়া বা সাংবাদিকদের টপকে বিভিন্ন তথ্য প্রকাশ করতে পারছে।

সম্মতি উৎপাদনের প্রপাগান্ডা মডেল গণতান্ত্রিক সরকারব্যবস্থার ক্ষেত্রে বিশেষভাবে প্রযোজ্য। একটা অথোরিটেরিয়ান রেজিম ক্ষেত্রবিশেষে জনগণের সম্মতিকে গুরুত্ব দেয় না, কারণ ক্ষমতায় থাকার জন্য তারা জনগণের ভোটের ওপর নির্ভর করে না। হারম্যান এবং চমস্কির প্রোপাগান্ডা মডেলের পাঁচটা ফিলটার আছে:
১)মিডিয়ার মালিকানা থাকবে একটা প্রভাবশালী গোষ্ঠীর হাতে
২) বিভিন্ন ব্যবসাপ্রতিষ্ঠান মিডিয়াকে স্পন্সর করবে
৩) তথ্যের সোর্স ঠিক করে দেওয়া(কারা বিশ্বাসযোগ্য, কারা গ্রহণযোগ্য না)
8) ভিন্নমত পোষণকারীদের (যারা এস্টাবলিশমেন্টের জন্য হুমকি হয়ে দাঁড়াতে পারে) যেকোন উপায়ে দমন করা হবে
৫) নৈতিক দ্বন্দ্বের ধারণা সৃষ্টি(ভালোর সাথের মন্দের লড়াই)
এখন প্রশ্ন আসতে পারে ফেসবুক-টুইটারের যুগে এই মডেল কতটুকু কার্যকর? যদিও মেইনস্ট্রিম মিডিয়া কিছুটা হলেও প্রভাব হারিয়েছে বলা যায়, কিন্তু তারা এখনও সবচেয়ে প্রভাবশালী আছে, ভবিষ্যতেও থাকবে। কারণ সরকার, মেইনস্ট্রিম মিডিয়া, বড় ব্যবসায়ীদের গ্রুপ – এই তিন পার্টি একজোট হয়ে কাজ করলে কোন অভ্যন্তরীণ প্রতিরোধ/বিদ্রোহ মাথাচাড়া দিয়ে উঠতে পারে না।

It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.
― Noam Chomsky

ক্যাপিটালিস্টিক সিস্টেমে হাতেগোনা কিছু বড় কর্পোরেশনের মালিকানায় অনেকগুলো ব্যবসা প্রতিষ্ঠান থাকে। একটা প্যারেন্ট কর্পোরেশন একাই অনেক রকম মিডিয়ার মালিক হয়ে থাকে (টেলিভিশন, নিউজপেপার, ম্যাগাজিন, মুভি এবং টিভি সিরিজ, বই, অনলাইন ম্যাগাজিন)। একটা কর্পোরেশনের উদাহরণ দেওয়া যায়, AT&T বর্তমানে পৃথিবীর সবচেয়ে বড় টেলিকমিউনিকেশন কর্পোরেশন। যার একটি সাবসিডিয়ারি কম্পানি WarnerMedia। WarnerMedia পৃথিবীর সবচেয়ে বড় বিনোদন ও গণমাধ্যম করপোরেশনগুলির একটি। যাদের প্রোডাক্টের মধ্যে আছে টেলিভিশন চ্যানেল CNN, Cartoon Network, HBO; সিনেমা তৈরির কারখানা Warner Bros, New Line cinema, DC comics ইত্যাদি। সম্প্রতি Discovery Channel সংযুক্ত হচ্ছে WarnerMedia-এর সাথে। তাহলে ব্যাপারটা দাঁড়াচ্ছে টম অ্যান্ড জেরি, হ্যারি পটার, বেয়ার গ্রিলসের অ্যাডভেঞ্চার, ব্যাটম্যান, গেম অফ থ্রোন্স, CNN এর খবর- সব একটা নির্দিষ্ট কম্পানির প্রোডাক্ট। শিশু থেকে বৃদ্ধ সব বয়সের মানুষ এই মিডিয়া কম্পানির গ্রাহক। তাদের প্রিয় সিনেমা, টিভি শো, কার্টুন দেখার সুযোগ করে দিচ্ছে বড় বড় কর্পোরেশনগুলো, যাদের মধ্যে আছে তেল-গ্যাসের ব্যবসা প্রতিষ্ঠান, আধুনিক যুদ্ধ সরঞ্জাম প্রস্তুতকারী বিভিন্ন প্রতিষ্ঠান, ইলেক্ট্রনিক্স পণ্য উৎপাদনের প্রতিষ্ঠান, ...। এই বড় কর্পোরেশনগুলো আমেরিকার রাজনীতিবিদদের নির্বাচনী প্রচারণায় বড় অর্থসাহা���্য করে। যেমন AT&T ছিল আমেরিকার সাবেক প্রেসিডেন্ট জর্জ ডব্লিউ বুশের সবচেয়ে বড় ডোনারদের একটি। স্পন্সর ছাড়া রাজনীতিবিদদের পক্ষে বড় খেলোয়াড় হয়ে ওঠা সম্ভব না, তাই ক্ষমতায় গেলে রাজনীতির মাঠের বড় খেলোয়াড়রা তাদের স্পন্সরদের প্রতি কৃতজ্ঞতা প্রকাশ করতে ভোলে না।

All art is propaganda
- George Orwell
(*এটা বলা হচ্ছেনা সব প্রোপাগান্ডা খারাপ)

মিডিয়াকেও কৃতজ্ঞতা প্রকাশ করতে হয়। প্রায় বিনামূল্যে এতো এতো মজার টিভি সিরিজ, সিনেমা, খেলাধুলা, দিনভর বিনোদনের সুযোগ করে দেওয়া স্পন্সররা কি পায় মিডিয়ার কাছ থেকে? মিডিয়া তাদের দেয় গ্রাহকদের ‘সম্মতি’। প্রবাদ আছে- If you're not paying for the product, you are the product. মিডিয়া আমাদের এমন কিছু জানাবে না বা দেখাবে না যেটা তাদের স্পন্সরদের ব্যবসায়িক স্বার্থ আঘাত করে। যেমন যুদ্ধের সময় যারা রমরমা ব্যবসা করে, তারা কি যুদ্ধের নৃশংস বর্ণনা আপনাকে জানাবে? জানাবে না, আপনাকে জানানো হবে পরিসংখ্যান। a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths are a statistic. মিলিয়ন মৃত্যুর জন্য দায়ী জোসেফ স্ট্যালিনের কথা। একটা মৃত্যুর ট্র্যাজেডি ভাবলে আনা ফ্রাঙ্কের কথা বলা যায়, ডায়েরি অফ আনা ফ্রাঙ্ক পড়ার সময় কিশোরী আনার প্রতি কি মমতা জন্মে গিয়েছিল আমাদের! কারণ তার সাথে পাঠকদের একটা ইমোশনাল যোগাযোগ তৈরি হয়েছিল। নাজি জার্মানির কনসেন্ট্রেশন ক্যাম্পে নিহত বাকি মিলিয়ন ইহুদিদের কজনের কথা ভেবেছি আমরা? হয়তো আর কাউকে ভাবি নি, অথবা আর দুই-চারজন যাদের গল্প নিয়ে সিনেমা বানানো হয়েছে;বাকিরা হয়ে গেছে পরিসংখ্যান।

সিনেমা!!! সবার প্রিয় বিনোদনের মাধ্যম। এবং মানুষকে পরোক্ষভাবে শিক্ষাদানের একটা শক্তিশালী মাধ্যম। সবাই তো ইতিহাসের বই পড়ে না, ডকুমেন্টারি ফিল্ম দেখার ধৈর্যও অনেকের নাই, অনেকে সিনেমা থেকেই জানে যুদ্ধের ভয়াবহতা সম্পর্কে। Life is beautiful, The Pianist, Schindlers List,... এমন কিছু সিনেমাতে আমরা দেখেছি ইহুদিদের নৃশংস গণহত্যার শিকার হবার প্রতিকী চিত্র। কিন্তু আমরা কখনও হলিউডি সিনেমায় ভিয়েতনামের মানুষদের আর্তনাদ দেখিনি, বরং The deer Hunter মুভিতে ভিয়েতনামিজদের বর্বর হিসেবে দেখানো হয়েছে, ইরাকের মানুষের আর্তনাদ আমরা সিনেমায় দেখিনি। আমেরিকার গণহত্যা কথা যদি নাও বলি, আমরা কি ১৯৪৩ সালের বাংলার দুর্ভিক্ষ(পঞ্চাশের মন্বন্তর, ব্রিটিশরা যার জন্য দায়ী) নিয়ে কোন হলিউডি ছবি দেখেছি? আফ্রিকায় ফ্রান্সের গণহত্যা নিয়ে কোন ছবি?
রাশিয়া হামলা করেছে ইউক্রেন, আশা করছি ইউক্রেনের অসহায় মানুষদের যুদ্ধপীড়িত জীবন নিয়ে শীঘ্রই কোন সিনেমা আমরা দেখতে পাবো।
এইযে আমেরিকার মিডিয়ার কাছে রাশিয়ার ইউক্রেন আক্রমণে বিপন্ন মানুষদের দুর্দশার বিস্তারিত বিবরণ আমরা জানতে পারছি, কিন্ত ইরাকের মানুষদের ক্ষেত্রে শুধু পরিসংখ্যান জেনেছি। এই ঘটনাকে হারম্যান এবং চমস্কি বলছেন ভিকটিমদের 1. Worthy Victims 2. Unworthy Victims হিসেবে শ্রেণিবিন্যাস। আমেরিকা বা তার মিত্রদেশের গণহত্যার শিকার হলে আমেরিকার মিডিয়ার চোখে তারা unworthy Victims। যেমন ১৯৭১ সালের বাংলাদেশের মুক্তিযুদ্ধের সময় পাকিস্তান ছিল আমেরিকার মিত্র, আমেরিকার কাছে বাংলাদেশের নিরপরাধ মানুষ তখন Unworthy Victims. যদিও আমেরিকার মিডিয়া তখন ভিয়েতনাম নিয়ে ব্যস্ত। নিজেরাই গণহত্যা করে কূল পাচ্ছে না, তখন পাকিস্তান রেজিমের কর্মকাণ্ড রিপোর্ট করার সময় কোথায়! ডিসেম্বরে পাকিস্তানের পরাজয়ের আগের কয়েকটা দিন জাতিসংঘে আমেরিকার যুদ্ধবিরতির চেষ্টা বাংলাদেশের ইতিহাসের একটা শ্বাসরুদ্ধকর অধ্যায় ছিল।
দুই-চারটা রিপোর্ট অবশ্য আমেরিকার মেইনস্ট্রিম মিডিয়া করেছিল। Newsweek বঙ্গবন্ধুকে Poet of politics বলেছিল, সেই কথা এখনও বাংলাদেশের মানুষ গলায় গাঁদা ফুলের মালার মত ঝুলিয়ে রাখে।

America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.
― Henry Kissinger

যাহোক, আমেরিকার কাছে কখনও কখনও WORTHY VICTIMS পরিণত হতে পারে UNWORTHY VICTIMS-এ। ক্যাম্বোডিয়ার কমিউনিস্ট নেতা পল পটের নেতৃত্বে ক্ষমতাসীন Khmer Rouge পার্টি ১৯৭৫ থেকে ১৯৭৯ সালের মধ্যে ১৫ থেকে ২০ লক্ষ মানুষ হত্যা করে। আমেরিকার সরকার এবং মিডিয়া তাকে ‘আরেক হিটলার’ হিসেবে অভিহিত করে। এদিকে The New York Times -এর সাংবাদিক সিডনি শ্যানবার্গ পল পট রেজিমের রোমহর্ষক গণহত্যা নিয়ে লিখে পুলিতজার পুরষ্কার লাভ করেন। পরবর্তীতে ভিয়েতনাম সরকার পল পটের সরকারকে উৎখাত করলে “শত্রুর শত্রু আমার বন্ধু’’ মতবাদে বিশ্বাসী আমেরিকা পল পটকে সমর্থন করতে শুরু করে। তারা পল পটকে থাইল্যান্ড সীমান্তে আশ্রয় পেতে সাহায্য করে, নতুন করে ক্যাম্বোডিয়ার ক্ষমতা দখলের জন্য পল পটকে মিলিটারি সাহায্য দেওয়া হয়। প্রেসিডেন্ট জিমি কার্টারের ন্যাশনাল সিকিউরিটি অ্যাডভাইজার Zbigniew Brzezinski বলেন (১৯৭৯) “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. I encouraged the Thai to help D.K." [Democratic Kampuchea, Pol Pot’s forces]. পূর্বে ক্যাম্বোডিয়ার গণহত্যা নিয়ে উথাল-পাথাল করে ফেলা The New York Times ন্যাশনাল সিকিউরিটি অ্যাডভাইজারের এই মন্তব্য ছাপাতে সম্পূর্ণরূপে ভুলে যায়।

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.
― Noam Chomsky

২০০৩ সালের আজকের দিনে (২০ মার্চ) ইরাকে হামলা করে আমেরিকা ও তার মিত্র সৈন্যবাহিনী। তখনকার আমেরিকার প্রেসিডেন্ট জর্জ ডব্লিউ বুশ দাবি করে সাদ্দাম হোসেন রেজিমের কাছে Weapons of mass destruction(WMD)আছে। আমেরিকা-ই ১৯৮০ এর দশকে রোনান্ড রিগ্যানের প্রেসিডেন্সির সময় সাদ্দামকে Weapons of mass destruction(WMD) তৈরির রসদ সরবরাহ করেছিল। পরবর্তীতে সাদ্দাম সরকার WMD তৈরির রসদ নষ্ট করে ফেলে। ইরাকে কোন WMD না থাকা প্রমাণিত হয় UN ও IAEA-এর অনুসন্ধানে। তারপরও The New York Times ইরাকে WMD থাকার সমর্থনে প্রথম পাতায় ভুয়া রিপোর্ট পাবলিশ করে ২০০২ সালের শেষার্ধে। এরপর জর্জ বুশ আমেরিকার নিরাপত্তার অজুহাত এবং ইরাকে গণতন্ত্র প্রতিষ্ঠার প্রয়োজনীয়তা দেখিয়ে ইরাক আক্রমণ করে। পরবর্তী পনের বছরে প্রায় ছয় লাখ ইরাকি নাগরিক নিহত হয়।
ইরাক যুদ্ধের প্রপাগান্ডা মেশিন হিসেবে কাজ করা the New York Times এবং Washington Post ইরাকে ভুল কারণে গণহত্যা ঘটে যাওয়ার জন্য "দুঃখপ্রকাশ" করে।

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
― Noam Chomsky

বর্তমানে ইন্টারনেটের কল্যাণে আমেরিকার মিডিয়ার একতরফা প্রভাব কিছুটা কমেছে। আমরা একই সময়ে আমেরিকা, রাশিয়া, চায়না তিনটা গ্লোবাল সুপারপাওয়ারের বক্তব্য জানতে পারছি। সহজেই বুঝতে পারছি সবাই আংশিক সত্য- আংশিক মিথ্যা মিশিয়ে বক্তব্য দিচ্ছে। কিন্তু শেষ পর্যন্ত মেজোরিটি জনতা যুদ্ধের ক্ষেত্রে নিজের দেশের টিভি, অনলাইন নিউজপেপার বা ম্যাগাজিনকে বিশ্বাস করে। মেইনস্ট্রিম মিডিয়ার প্রভাব তাই থেকেই যায়। টুইটার ফেসবুক ইউটিউবের কল্যাণে যদিও মেইনস্ট্রিম মিডিয়ার সাথে দ্বিমত করার সুযোগ আছে। তারপরও সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে এস্ট্যাবলিশমেন্ট যদি কোন বৈরিতার সম্মুখীন হয় তাহলে স্ট্যাটাস কো নষ্টকারীদের ফেসবুক-টুইটার-ইউটিউব আইডিগুলার রিচ কমিয়ে দেয়া হয়, অথবা তাদের আইডি সাসপেন্ড করা হয়, তাদের বক্তব্যকে গুজব বলে অভিহিত করা হয়, ব্যক্তিগত তথ্য ঘাটাঘাটি করে সামাজিকভাবে হেয় করার চেষ্টা করা হয়। মনে রাখতে হবে, ফেসবুক, টুইটার, গুগলও এস্ট্যাবলিশমেন্টের একটা অংশ। কোথায় ব্যক্তিস্বাধীনতার লাগাম টেনে ধরতে হবে, কোথায় হেট স্পিচ অ্যালাউ করতে হবে সেটা কর্তাব্যক্তিরাই ঠিক করবে। মায়ানমারে রোহিঙ্গা গণহত্যায় ফেসবুকের ভূমিকা আন্তর্জাতিক গণমাধ্যম দ্বারাই স্বীকৃত। (এইযে, আমিও এইমাত্র ভ্যালিডিটির জন্য মেইনস্ট্রিম মিডিয়ার দ্বারস্থ হলাম)

গতমাসে (ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০২২) ইউক্রেন আক্রমণ করার পর থেকে রাশিয়ার প্রসিডেন্ট ভ্লাদিমির পুতিনকে মানবতার শত্রু আখ্যা দিচ্ছে আমেরিকার মিডিয়া। ২০০০ সালের রাশিয়ার প্রেসিডেন্ট নির্বাচনে আমেরিকার প্রিয় প্রার্থী ছিল পুতিন। আলোচ্য বইতে সেই নির্বাচন নিয়ে লেখা কিছু কথা তুলে দিচ্ছি এখানে:

The same bias was evident in reporting on the March 2000 Russian election, won by Yeltsin’s anointed heir and former KGB operative Vladimir Putin. Putin had built his popularity by conducting a brutal counterinsurgency war against Chechnya, and his electoral success rested heavily on the fact that the powerful state TV and radio stations campaigned furiously on his behalf and denigrated and gave no broadcasting time to his opponents. A September 2000 exposé of the Putin election campaign by the expatriate Moscow Times, based on a six-month investigative effort, uncovered compelling evidence of election fraud, including ballot stuffing, ballot destruction, and the creation of 1.3 million “dead souls” inflating the election rolls. The U.S. mainstream media, however, never found any evidence of fraud at the time of the election, and they have been reluctant to report the findings of the Moscow Times study. Putin is another “reformer,” like Yeltsin, supported by the West, so that it follows once again that for the mainstream media a flawed election—hardly admitted to be flawed—remains better than none.

(পরবর্তীতে রিভিউটা কিছু এডিট করবো। কিওয়ার্ড: ভিয়েতনাম যুদ্ধে ecocide , and dioxin+agent orange+napalm এর ব্যবহার, সার্বিয়াতে ন্যাটো হামলা… রাশিয়ার ইউক্রেন আক্রমণে মিডিয়ার তুলনামূলক প্রতিক্রিয়া)
Profile Image for T.
131 reviews
June 1, 2009
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 room with a man smoking a cigarette in a dark corner. It is done through a series of very public filters - each filter is named and described. They make sense to me (I agree with the authors).

Most of the filters come from the fact that each media organization is a business and has to be profitable. For instance, FOX, CBS, NBC, etc all have advertisers. Which of those organizations do you think will run a documentary slamming the business practices of GE? None, of course. GE is a HUGE company that would immediately withdraw their commercial support. Another example is the fact that news gathering is expensive. Most news outlets rely on the government and military as news sources. This is often (very often) a conflict of interest. Nevertheless, for the sake of cost, news organizations read those sources as "authoritative" simple for cost. Moreover, negative reporting on the US government's activities abroad will cause their access to "sources" to dry up. There are a few more, but you'll have the pull the book to get them.

It was a so-so book.
Profile Image for Book Clubbed.
146 reviews210 followers
January 22, 2022
Manufacturing Consent, in which Daddy Chom Chom kicks through the door of the 4th estate and asks, what the fuck are we really doing in here?

Still a classic, and it holds up better than it should (unnervingly so). I'm a child of the 90s, so I was unfamiliar with some of his examples, but the US military has been using the same playbook forever--they weren't hard to map onto more recent US excursions in the world.

While US institutions garner less trust than ever, and alternative media has provided us with new sources of information, manufactured consent remains a powerful force. We are siloed into our political beliefs, existing on different planes of belief than our fellow citizens. I mean, we all know Fox News is a propaganda machine, but go check out how many MSNBC guests are former CIA analysts, military generals, or Bush-era administrators. Fun!

Hell, we don't even need traditional journalists to set the boundaries of discourse for us--we do that every single day on social media! Manufactured Consent is a group project now, and even if you're that person in the group who doesn't do any work, you still have to play by the rules.
Profile Image for Glesnertod.
95 reviews3 followers
August 15, 2012
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 seem to slip into place without effort. Not only does this represent their bank of information on the three case studies (among others), it shows that they can place that information relevantly and do so in a way that is atmospherically readable. (highly readable, sorry about that). I enjoy a lot of books. I enjoy them for a lot of reasons. With Manufacturing Consent, I enjoyed reading this book for the joy of how it was written. The content was challenging too.

What they share does bring alterations to the table. You will not be able to sit back and watch the 6 O'Clock news the same way again. But, due to this book and others like it, you probably already don't. I suspect, from my own upbringing and experience, that many do not trust the media. The media (see book for who this is," mass") has sold their soul to two-face, the devil and love, (of money). It is sickening to know now more of the truth to the three case studies shared. And to suspect that this is happening even today. Really, as I write my stomach weakens. We need these stories told. We need to tell them.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,179 reviews433 followers
February 5, 2020
Infuriatingly and terrifyingly relevant. Like, up to this very day, where you couldn’t even update the book with current examples because there are too many to choose from. Venezuela, Syria, Iran. Ad infinitum. It’s all following the same script. Where you could argue the book is dated, that actually further proves its point, such as the west’s support and glorification of Putin thirty years ago when he fit their needs in a different way. It’s all narrative. And it’s all managed to achieve an end.

Some of these case studies have been swallowed by history and the news churn; others (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) still beg for a reckoning. Thirty years later, the lies debunked here remain the official account. The past is the future. Every bit of truth helps.
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
575 reviews760 followers
August 24, 2022
Everyone is always mentioning this as the Chomsky book to read, the one that really changed their perception so definitely felt like I had to read it. It was what I was expecting, I think if you have heard media critiques from the left then this is well trodden territory. The specifics mentioned in the case studies presented were new to me though and I did learn things I hadn't known. It did feel repetitive at times because they often would reiterate what they had already said but I think thats mostly a function of an argumentative academic writing style. Mostly though when I read books like this now it just makes me wonder about the things happening currently that I'm not aware of and makes me feel sort of exhausted at the idea of trying to stay abreast of current events.
Profile Image for Amy.
525 reviews37 followers
February 5, 2019
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 the arguments and how it is broken down! Yes it’s old, even though I read the 2002 new intro version, but it doesn’t matter. The arguments are sound and with the existing North American media landscape, even more relevant than ever. This is a book that I fantasize that every single person involved in media, communications, journalism and political science should have as mandatory reading during their BA and imagine how the collective consciousness of our societies would rise. I dare dream what a better world it would be if everyone read a bit more Chomsky.
19 reviews
June 9, 2014
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 me, 5 stars means that the content was good, AND the presentation was good. Certainly there was some thoughtful analysis in this book, but much of the content was presented in an overly wordy form. Unfortunately, I think the language and writing style employed by the authors leads many readers to somehow assign more credibility to the content than is really merited.

Which brings me to my second point - while I don't disagree with the premise of the book, I found some of the analysis to be equally as biased as the media the authors seek to discredit. Chomsky and Herman frequently show their disdain for the right-wing in ways that don't serve to further the point they were making at the time. This kind of sniping struck me as hypocritical.

Finally, I think the approach taken to illustrate media bias was overly deep with regard to the case studies they utilized, and quite sparse in terms of the breadth of case studies. The authors spent over 300 pages describing media bias from just 3 main political news stories from the 50 years preceding the writing of the book. There are far more examples to draw from, and I would have preferred to see a deeper study into the application of the propaganda model across many historic events. Anyone who understands simple supply and demand economics, and has completed even a remedial marketing course can sense the media bias in front of their faces without having to labor through these case studies. A far more interesting study would be to show statistically that the bias exists, and to offer evidence as to what really causes the bias. Very little of the Chomsky/Herman content was dedicated to the "why", past the first chapter.
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,191 reviews1,078 followers
June 15, 2013
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 more relevant now.

Because I don't watch TV I didn't realise how poor the actual reporting had become in NZ until the Kim Dotcom case. Not one mainstream media organisation contextualized the case in any way: the general public opinion therefore was that "If the FBI want him he must be a bad guy and the NZ government is entitled to break the law, and lie about it, in order to catch bad guys." The Gen Y kids I teach have no knowledge about the issue, and don't care. I feel highly disturbed about that. Sometimes I find myself unexpectedly turning into my grandfather.
Profile Image for David Cupples.
Author 1 book11 followers
August 30, 2012
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 trick or leading questions. Much more in this classic, indispensable work, but it's been a while since I read. Reviewed by David Dusty Cupples, author of Stir It Up: The CIA Targets Jamaica, Bob Marley and the Progressive Manley Government (a novel)Stir It Up
Profile Image for Raewyn.
55 reviews1 follower
February 28, 2021
as someone who, personally, is immune to propaganda, it was interesting to read about how other people's consent is manufactured. like a particularly disturbing episode of "How It's Made" where the final product is the citizenry's views on foreign policy (but not mine, though, bc mine were artisanally hand-crafted by myself without any external inputs; no offense to Garfield but I'm different)

this also kind of works as a crash course on U.S. international affairs in the 70s and early 80s
407 reviews68 followers
July 14, 2020
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 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 orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (2) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and 'experts' funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) 'flak' as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) 'anticommunism' as a national religion and control mechanism."

This was a perspective I hadn't considered before. Since then I'd always meant to read the whole book, and now I finally did, 20 years later. I'm surprised how little this book has to do with the media. The vast majority of it is painfully boring accounts of American foreign relations in the 60's and 70's. Maybe it's because of how long ago this was, but I think it's mostly because the writing is just not engaging.

There aren't exactly any "smoking guns" in this book. There is no evidence of media companies overtly censoring some stories and pushing through others, based on the five filters, as you'd expect. Really, all this book does is tells stories that were mostly ignored by the mainstream media and should not have been. It merely looks at the effects and declares that they are in line with what we'd expect from their proposed propaganda model. The motive for why these stories weren't covered by the press is simply assumed.

Also, now that I'm older and have more experience with the media and politics, I think Herman and Chomsky are overlooking some things. For one thing, he laments that the perspective of the "radical press" is missing. In my 20's, I might have called that censorship, but now I can think of a much better reason these perspectives aren't heard: they're fucking loons. Keeping out radical nut jobs is not censorship any more than not teaching creationism in schools is Christian persecution. Discredited bullshit has no place in the news. I think there's already way too much of this wingnut crap in the media as it is.

Probably the highlight of this book is the discussion of the Vietnam War. There are many impressions Americans have of this war that are false or incomplete. One is that "the media lost the war." This book points out that America "lost" the war only if you define "lost" as "didn't complete 100% of their objectives." In fact, most of our objectives were achieved. Moreover, the media's role at the end of the war tends to overshadow its role at the beginning, which was extremely supportive of the war. So, even if it's true that the media lost the war, it's also partly the media that got us into the mess in the first place.

Finally, the biggest regret people have about Vietnam, and the media also conveys, is the cost of the war effort, not that aggression is wrong. The end of the chapter sums this up nicely:

"The more significant and instructive point is that principled objection to the war as 'fundamentally wrong and immoral,' or as outright criminal aggression--a war crime--is inexpressible. It is not part of the spectrum of discussion. The background for such a principled critique cannot be developed in the media, and the conclusions cannot be drawn. It is not present even to be refuted. Rather, the idea is unthinkable."

I wouldn't say it's unthinkable, but it is a good point nonetheless. I've heard regrets about the financial costs and the American lives lost, but rarely do people wring their hands over the Vietnamese costs and lives lost, including civilians. It tends to be described more as wasteful than immoral.

I think Herman and Chomsky overlook the biggest media filters: pandering and sensationalism. These make the media behave like propaganda in some cases, but like an echo chamber in all cases. People want to hear their beliefs reflected back to them, and they want lots of drama. They find this very entertaining and comforting. The media follows the public opinion fashions of the times very closely, and always tries to reflect the current trends.

This, I believe, better explains the media's behavior during the Vietnam War: at first, people supported the war effort, so the media did too. When people started protesting the war, that's when the media started showing them graphic images of Americans dying. They're showing them what they want to see. Only when people support the war effort will the media behave like propaganda. So it's only a part-time propaganda machine, but it's a full-time pandering machine.

It's a feedback loop. The media panders to public opinion, then people see their opinions reflected in the media, and they feel that confirms what they already thought. Then, if they start doubting their original stance, the media follows along obediently. Herman and Chomsky focus on the way the media shapes public opinion but ignore the ways public opinion shapes the media.

I was amazed by the turn of events after 9/11, for example. One minute, the media is talking about terrorism, WMDs, and giving George W. Bush extensive air time, and the next minute, they're talking about Bush's war crimes. Only when the people are supportive of the military does the media tend to fit the propaganda model that Herman and Chomsky talk about.

One of the filters Herman and Chomsky mention is "'anticommunism' as a national religion and control mechanism." While this is true, it's even more true that communism is a national religion and control mechanism. I think of the cold war, McCarthyism, and Vietnam as all part of a religious war. More and more, I'm starting to notice all the ways political ideologies operate like religion. People say you should avoid discussing religion and politics, and there's a reason these topics are so divisive: they both evoke our tribal instincts. I'm right, you're wrong, so you must die. It's for the good of The People/The Chosen Ones/God's Children. Instead of exposing politics as religion, Herman and Chomsky are really just fighting for their own religion. They miss the bigger underlying psychology at work.

Still, I'd rather live in a world with Chomsky in it than not. He raises unpopular perspectives, and he bases them on a lot of data. I'm not sure I could say I'm glad I finally read this book, as I didn't get much out of it, but at least now I won't be wondering about it anymore.
Profile Image for Mahmoud Haggui.
225 reviews55 followers
March 3, 2014
نعوم تشومِسكى يُنظًر للسياسات الأمريكية البشعة المُمثلة فى عدة شعارات مثل "الحرب على الإرهاب" "السيطرة على الإع��ام" 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 يرددهاالقطيع الضال مثل "عليك أن تحطمهم لتدافع عن نفسك" بعد ما يقرب من نصف قرن من الحرب العالمية الثانية إستحدمت الولايات المتحدة عبارات "الروس قادمون لغزو العالم و نشر الإرهاب " فى صخب الميدياوالصحافة أصبح مُحال على الذين يُستضعفون معنويا فى مشارق الأرض و مغاربها أن يُقدم تعريفاً ل "ماذا يعنى كلينتون بالحرب على الإرهاب؟ ما هو مفهوم الإرهاب؟ ما هى الإستجابة ضد الإرهاب؟ و أياً ما كانت الإجابة على السؤال الأخير. هل ستتم الإستجابة وفقاً للمعايرالأخلاقيةالمُسلم بها؟ لماذا تساند الولايات المتحدة إسرائيل فى الصراع العربى الإسرائيلى بعد لماذا ترعى أمريكا الإرهاب و تستخدم حُجة الحرب على الإرهاب لتصعيد العمليات الإرهابية فى الشرق الأوسط.القطيع الضال يُعد مشكلة على رجال الأعمال و النخبة . فهم مُوكل أمرهم إلى الإعلام يشغلهم بمشاهدة أفلام العنف و مسابقات القمار. و بين الحين و الاَخر علي النخبة أن تدعوهم لترديد عبارات مثل "ساندوا قواتنا" لابد من إخافتهم من شياطين الداخل و الخارج. فالتغلب على الخوف يُفضى إلى إلى التفكير و لا بد وأن يتم دفع الجمهور للتبلد و الطاعة العمياء.فى النهاية المجد للأحرار. المجد للمستنيريين المجد لأعداء التضليل. المجد لكل من يتقرب إلى الله بالتنديد بالظلم و النداء لمراعاة حقوق الإنسان دون النظر إلى جنس ، لون، دين.
Profile Image for Atila Iamarino.
411 reviews4,384 followers
May 22, 2017
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 normalmente passam mais tempo explicando conceitos do que descrevendo todos os detalhes. Boa lição, mais detalhes e história do que o necessário.
Profile Image for Andrew.
2,027 reviews727 followers
July 17, 2014
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 years ago, it would have changed my life.
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