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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky
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“Education is a system of imposed ignorance.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“The beauty of the system, however, is that such dissent and inconvenient information are kept within bounds and at the margins, so that while their presence shows that the system is not monolithic, they are not large enough to interfere unduly with the domination of the official agenda.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“Structural factors are those such as ownership and control, dependence on other major funding sources (notably, advertisers), and mutual interests and relationships between the media and those who make the news and have the power to define it and explain what it means. The propaganda model also incorporates other closely related factors such as the ability to complain about the media’s treatment of news (that is, produce “flak”), to provide “experts” to confirm the official slant on the news, and to fix the basic principles and ideologies that are taken for granted by media personnel and the elite, but are often resisted by the general population.1 In our view, the same underlying power sources that own the media and fund them as advertisers, that serve as primary definers of the news, and that produce flak and proper-thinking experts, also play a key role in fixing basic principles and the dominant ideologies. We believe that what journalists do, what they see as newsworthy, and what they take for granted as premises of their work are frequently well explained by the incentives, pressures, and constraints incorporated into such a structural analysis. These structural factors that dominate media operations are not allcontrolling and do not always produce simple and homogeneous results.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“A propaganda model has a certain initial plausibility on guided free-market assumptions that are not particularly controversial. In essence, the private media are major corporations selling a product (readers and audiences) to other businesses (advertisers). The national media typically target and serve elite opinion, groups that, on the one hand, provide an optimal “profile” for advertising purposes, and, on the other, play a role in decision-making in the private and public spheres. The national media would be failing to meet their elite audience’s needs if they did not present a tolerably realistic portrayal of the world. But their “societal purpose” also requires that the media’s interpretation of the world reflect the interests and concerns of the sellers, the buyers, and the governmental and private institutions dominated by these groups.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“Genocide" is an invidious word that officials apply readily to cases of victimization in enemy states, but rarely if ever to similar or worse cases of victimization by the United States itself or allied regimes.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages.24 Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“Large corporate advertisers on television will rarely sponsor programs that engage in serious criticisms of corporate activities, such as the problem of environmental degradation, the workings of the military-industrial complex, or corporate support of and benefits from Third World tyrannies.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“Propaganda campaigns in general have been closely attuned to elite interests. The Red scare of 1919-20 have served well to abort the union-organizing drive that followed World War I in the sell and other industries. The Truman-McCarthy Red scare helped inaugurate the Cold War and the permanent war economy, and it also served to weaken the progressive coalition of the New Deal years. The chronic focus on the plight of Soviet dissidents, on enemy killings in Cambodia, and on the Bulgarian Connection helped weaken the Vietnam syndrome, justify a huge arms buildup and a more aggressive foreign policy, and divert attention from upward redistribution of income that was the heart of Reagan's domestic economic program. The recent propaganda-disinformation attacks on Nicaragua have been needed to avert eyes from the savagery of the war in El Salvador and to justify the escalating U.S. investment in counterrevolution in Central America.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“The culture and ideology fostered in this globalization process relate largely to “lifestyle” themes and goods and their acquisition; and they tend to weaken any sense of community helpful to civic life.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“This bias is politically advantageous to U.S. policy-makers, for focusing on victims of enemy states shows those states to be wicked and deserving of U.S. hostility; while ignoring U.S. and client-state victims allows ongoing U.S. policies to proceed more easily, unburdened by the interference of concern over the politically inconvenient victims.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“media are independent and committed to discovering and reporting the truth, and that they do not merely reflect the world as powerful groups wish it to be perceived.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“In the succeeding thirty-two years of U.S. guidance, not only has Guatemala gradually become a terrorist state rarely matched in the scale of systematic murder of civilians, but its terrorist proclivities have increased markedly at strategic moments of escalated U.S. intervention. The first point was the invasion and counterrevolution of 1954, which reintroduced political murder and large-scale repression to Guatemala following the decade of democracy. The second followed the emergence of a small guerrilla movement in the early 1960s, when the United States began serious counterinsurgency (CI) training of the Guatemalan army. In 1966, a further small guerrilla movement brought the Green Berets and a major CI war in which 10,000 people were killed in pursuit of three or four hundred guerrillas. It was at this point that the "death squads" and "disappearances" made their appearance in Guatemala. The United States brought in police training in the 1970s, which was followed by the further institutionalization of violence. The "solution" to social problems in Guatemala, specifically attributable to the 1954 intervention and the form of U.S. assistance since that time, has been permanent state terror. With Guatemala, the United States invented the "counterinsurgency state.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“In effect, the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access by their contribution to reducing the media's costs of acquiring the raw materials of, and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become "routine" news sources have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers. It should also be noted that in the case of the largesse of the Pentagon and the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy, the subsidy is at the taxpayers' expense, so that, in effect, the citizenry pays to be propagandized in the interest of powerful groups such as military contractors and other sponsors of state terrorism.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“The hypothesis advanced by the propaganda model, excluded from debate as unthinkable, is that in dealing with the American wars in Indochina, the media were "unmindful", but highly "patriotic" in the special and misleading sense that they kept -- and keep -- closely to the perspective of official Washington and the closely related corporate elite, in conformity to the general "journalistic-literary-political culture" from which "the left" (meaning dissident opinion that questions jingoist assumptions) is virtually excluded. The propaganda model predicts that this should be generally true not only of the choice of topics covered and the way they are covered, but also, and far more crucially, of the general background of the presuppositions within which the issues are framed and the news presented. Insofar as there is debate among dominant elites, it will be reflected within the media, which in this narrow sense, may adopt an "adversarial stance" with regard to those holding office, reflecting elite dissatisfaction with current policy. Otherwise the media will depart from elite consensus only rarely and in limited ways. Even when large parts of the general public break free of the premises of the doctrinal system, as finally happened during the Indochina wars, real understanding based upon an alternative conception of the evolving history can be developed only with considerable effort by the most diligent and skeptical. And such understanding as can be reached through serious and often individual effort will be difficult to sustain or apply elsewhere, an extremely important matter for those who are truly concerned with democracy at home and "the influence of democracy abroad," in the real sense of these words.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media