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Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
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Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,140 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Στο συναρπαστικό αυτό βιβλίο, ο Νόαμ Τσόμσκι, μέσω μιας πληθώρας ντοκουμέντων, καταρρίπτει τον μύθο των ανεξάρτητων ΜΜΕ, τα οποία η προπαγάνδα θέλει θεματοφύλακες της ελευθερίας του λόγου και της δημοκρατίας, ενώ δεν είναι παρά ένας μηχανισμός ελέγχου της σκέψεως, στην υπηρεσία των συμφερόντων του κράτους και των μεγάλων εταιρειών. Πίσω από το θέαμα του ανεξάρτητου δημοσιο ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by South End Press (Boston) (first published January 1st 1989)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,140 ratings  ·  48 reviews


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Trevor
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is old now - and in part that is a problem since a large part of the impact of this book is in the examples he gives and those examples are now from another world. All the same, very little has changed to undermine his basic argument for the media model. Today the media is even more dominated by the very wealthy, it is more likely to present information that confounds rather than illuminates, and does little to even pretend to present an ‘objective’ version of the truth. To give but one exa ...more
Leo Walsh
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't know why, but I've been on a Chomsky kick. I broke out this book -- which has been sitting unread on my book shelves for years -- and found it contains the skeleton key to Chomsky's political thought. A true scholar & scientist, Chomsky serves up an operational model of tearing apart media stories that anyone can apply.

Here's a quick overview....

1) Find a media story that tells about a war or economic policies of one of our "freinds" -- like, say, Israel. And pay attention to what th
...more
Patrick
Jul 20, 2007 rated it liked it
This is one of the most dry and depressing books I have ever read. This book will open your eyes to the ways that the American government and politicized newspaper editors work together to deal with international relations.

The American-Supported atrocities uncovered in this book (many of which are available from the government as public information, but that newspaper reporters and editors don't bother to address) are simply horrific.

This book really puts into perspective the power that the Unit
...more
Andy Guzik
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This was a big one for me at the time. If you look at my shelves you'll see that for a while I was chasing the Chomsky dragon, but nothing will ever compare to the first time.
Kamil
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Fantastically research study of how we are told what to believe in, how our judgments are altered, how logical analysis switched off when we are manipulated by media.... that might not even do it 100% consciously.
This is a great stuff, but Chomsky's books are so full of detailed case studies, one after another, that you just feel overwhelmed at times.
Randall Wallace
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When you use your magic Noam Chomsky decoder ring: “Special Interests” means the general population (the handicapped, workers, the elderly, etc.). You must deceive the masses with “necessary illusions” and let them challenge a few minor bad people but never let the masses discuss “the institutional factors” that cause their troubles. Noam defines the FBI as “a national political police” which rose after the Red Scare. Palmer of the Palmer Raids was actually a progressive and a liberal – a scary ...more
Kevin
Chomsky was the first anti-imperialist I read, and his ideas have weathered many applications since while other early readings have collapsed (Hitchens, Ron Paul). My purpose for revisiting this book is to review its optimal use.

Optimal application of Chomsky?
1) To educate default Liberals:
--By which I mean those who have not explored much regarding how the world works, thus cautiously sit on the fence and take a centrist position. However, here I would not start with this Chomsky book, but ins
...more
Alberto
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
A very basic point of this book is that media don't necessarily lie, but they withhold much of the information that goes against the interest of the elites. It was written in the 80's, so it is mainly focused in Nicaragua and Israel, two of the main foci of US foreign policy of the time. Both countries represent opposing sides of depiction. The Sandinistas are, by definition, bad. The Israelis are, by definition, good. Any deviation from these premises is either criticised or ignored. Case in po ...more
Arash Kamangir
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
اصل جنس.
blakeR
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a vitally important book for anyone concerned with Truth and/or Knowledge. It should provoke any mixture of the following emotions: outrage, shock, depression, shame, resignation, and hope. I'm embarrassed to say that this is the first book by Chomsky that I've ever read, despite being aware of his ideas from both articles and documentaries. Overall, this book met or somewhat exceeded my expectations, making up in content for what it lacked in accessibility.

This is a particularly intere
...more
Travis
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent Chomsky book! An incredibly rich analysis of US policies, the media's "service to power", and the victories of historical dissent. His revelations of official hypocrisies are incomparable. Special attention to Nicaragua and the Middle East, in which he absolutely skewers NYT reporters Stephen Kinzer and Thomas Friedman, among others. I was surprised to read the critique of Kinzer- I recently read his "Bitter Fruit" and would've assumed he was more critical of Reagan's Central A ...more
Robert Run
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
If you are a non-interventionist of any stripe you should read this.

Chomsky is hard to read, but for people who are afraid that he just "hates America", it really is based in fact and he is adept as a linguist, in fact, in other parts of the world, people don't even know he is political. The guy knows how and why people use the words they use.

This book describes very well the collusion between the mass media and the govt. on issues of foreign policy, and even touches on marketing and the integ
...more
Dahmane
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is another amazing book from Noam Chomsky shredding the US media to pieces, brings out their hidden agenda and fabricated lies in support of illegal crimes against humanity that are committed by CIA agents & US goverment in different parts of the world.
Ryan
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
When I started reading this, I was expecting it to not be all that interesting. "After all," I told myself, "it seems to mostly be based on historical US intervention in places like Vietnam and Nicaragua. How relevant could that be to today?" Sadly, I was very solely mistaken. Chomsky explores, at great detail, how media in "free" Western countries often toe the line for government when it serves their interests, going to the extent of deceiving people when 'necessary'. Sadly, most of this still ...more
Reginald Simms
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
The actual main part of the book is short but there are multiple appendices added to give evidence to the five chapters that make it up and explain certain methods in more detail. Chomsky uses the Iran-contra affair as the situation in which to explain how the media in democratic societies control the narrative from both sides, omit the truth, and promote one side of the story opposed to others. Media outlets go along with the official story or sometimes don't report certain things that would ma ...more
Lyn
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, social
Reading this made me realize how dim it is to form an opinion from the little information we get on any issue...

It was too political for me to enjoy as I thought it was more of a linguistic/ideology book, but I think I understood the point. It is important to understand how words are used, such as the concept "democracy" and how it is not defined in action what we would think it means.

Interesting read, but politically dense.

Skeptical Leftist
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Eye opening view on the subservience of the media, and the tacit complicity of the masses in the crushing of theirs and others future for the sake of tribal comfort. Terrifying in that it exposes us as a society to be nothing more than rigorously fallacious and emotional beings bent on comfort and belonging as opposed to truth and justice.
Rights are only real when they are maintained and enforced from below if not they mean nothing.
David Cupples
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Any book by Chomsky is crucial. This is a really good one. The man dishes criticism where it is deserved, right left or middle. The conscience of the nation. 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
Riley
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it
To me, reading Noam Chomsky is similar to reading Marxist criticism: You don't have to buy into the superstructure to appreciate that the analysis makes many valid points.

This book (published in 1989) is often repetitious, and many of its examples are used in other works by Chomsky, but I think many of its critiques still read well today.
Benjamin
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent as always, listened on Audiobook, not Chomsky's voice.

This one is concerned more with Chomsky's propaganda model and understanding the complicity of the media in manufacturing consent, spending a particularly long time digging into the details of Israel's subjugation of Palestine and the U.S. subjugation of Latin America.
Joseph
Jun 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
Chomsky interview books? Smart. Illuminating. Thought provoking even. Books written by Chomsky himself? Well, just don't operate heavy machinery afterwards. It's actually stunning how bad an author the noted linguist can be at times. Only for completists...and not really even then.
Michael
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A groundbreaking book that really established Chomsky as an authority on issues such as thought control in democratic societies. A heavy tome, that requires contemplative, patient reading, but well worth the effort.
Timothy R.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it liked it
This was my first exposure to Chomsky. I found it very difficult to read. When I heard him speak at MIT a few years ago, I found him very boring to listen to. It's unfortunate because he undoubtedly has things to say/write that people should consider.
Elmo
Mar 12, 2008 rated it liked it
When an author's appendix to support his argument is larger than the actual book itself, and even footnotes have footnotes, you can be assured that at the very least he's not making this crap up. The book was amazing, but a bit dry, would rather sit and have a conversation with him.
Siv30
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
כיצד משיגים שליטה ברוב במדינות דמוקרטיות? במדינות טוטאליטריות התשובה לשאלה הזו הברורה מאליה, אבל במדינות דמוקרטיות ישנה בעיה להשיג שליטה ברוב ולשכנע אותם לפעול כנגד האינטרס העצמי שלהם. זהו ניתוח תקשורתי מאיר עניים המלמד כיצד הדברים מתנהלים, מקומה של התקשורת ומקורו של שכנוע ההמונים.
Patrick
Aug 21, 2009 is currently reading it
Facts showing how the media has contributed to the effective conditioning of our worlds views.
Vikas Lather
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I think Chomsky has done a great favor to every journalism student by producing a whole new branch of analysis on Media
Genevieve C
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is "heavy." You would think a linguist would be a better writer. Rather than simplifying complex ideas, his style complicates matters. Despite that, it's an important book.
Jeffrey Thiessen
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A bit of a tough, dry read, but more than worth your time.
Vikram X
Having read his previous works "Manufacturing Consent" and "Understanding Power" , I found this more of a summarization of the role media conglomerates play in maintaining the status quo.
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Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, considered to be one of the most significant contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. H
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“Within the reigning social order, the general public must remain an object of manipulation, not a participant in thought, debate, and decision.” 10 likes
“In accordance with the prevailing conceptions in the U.S., there is no infringement on democracy if a few corporations control the information system: in fact, that is the essence of democracy. In the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the leading figure of the public relations industry, Edward Bernays, explains that “the very essence of the democratic process” is “the freedom to persuade and suggest,” what he calls “the engineering of consent.” “A leader,” he continues, “frequently cannot wait for the people to arrive at even general understanding … Democratic leaders must play their part in … engineering … consent to socially constructive goals and values,” applying “scientific principles and tried practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs”; and although it remains unsaid, it is evident enough that those who control resources will be in a position to judge what is “socially constructive,” to engineer consent through the media, and to implement policy through the mechanisms of the state. If the freedom to persuade happens to be concentrated in a few hands, we must recognize that such is the nature of a free society.” 3 likes
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