Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Paperback – Jan 15 2002
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An absolutely brilliant analysis of the ways in which individuals and organizations of the media are influenced to shape the social agendas of knowledge and, therefore, belief. Contrary to the popular conception of members of the press as hard-bitten realists doggedly pursuing unpopular truths, Herman and Chomsky prove conclusively that the free-market economics model of media leads inevitably to normative and narrow reporting. Whether or not you've seen the eye-opening movie, buy this book, and you will be a far more knowledgeable person and much less prone to having your beliefs manipulated as easily as the press. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Herman of Wharton and Chomsky of MIT lucidly document their argument that America's government and its corporate giants exercise control over what we read, see and hear. The authors identify the forces that they contend make the national media propagandisticthe major three being the motivation for profit through ad revenue, the media's close links to and often ownership by corporations, and their acceptance of information from biased sources. In five case studies, the writers show how TV, newspapers and radio distort world events. For example, the authors maintain that "it would have been very difficult for the Guatemalan government to murder tens of thousands over the past decade if the U.S. press had provided the kind of coverage they gave to the difficulties of Andrei Sakharov or the murder of Jerzy Popieluszko in Poland." Such allegations would be routine were it not for the excellent research behind this book's controversial charges. Extensive evidence is calmly presented, and in the end an indictment against the guardians of our freedoms is substantiated. A disturbing picture emerges of a news system that panders to the interests of America's privileged and neglects its duties when the concerns of minority groups and the underclass are at stake. First serial to the Progressive.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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This is for the interested kid or student or person inclined towards radical politics who maybe doesn't have a Phd degree, or who doesn't sit around discussing the scholarly implications of books for the sake of showing off their superior intellect.
First of all, don't be scaired by the 400 pages of the book. Its actually just barely above 300, with about 100 pages of appendixes and footnotes.
It is a very readable book for anyone who has at least a vague idea of recent world affairs (of the past 3 decades or so). And even if you don't have much familiarity, after finishing this book, you certainly will. Some parts may be a bit overwhelming, but they are few and far between.
The basic premise of the book is that the mainstream American corporate media (the big networks, the big newspapers, news magazines, etc)serve to uphold the interests of the elites in this country (political and economic). Chomsky and Herman acknowledge that we do have a "liberal" press, (what does it really mean to be 'liberal' in America today anyways?), but that the liberalness is kept within acceptable boundaries. Basically, the mainstream press may give a liberal slant on what the dominant institutions and systems are doing...but they will not question the very nature of the institutions and systems themselves.
For example, today's Los Angeles Times (January 6,2003) had a page 2 story on the U.N sanctions against Iraq. Now, the typical reader may see the story, and figure that since the LA Times is even reporting on the impact of sanctions against Iraqi civillians, this is demonstrative of their 'liberal' leanings.Read more ›
Obviously, not all happenings in the world can fit between the covers of the New York Times. Herman and Chomsky outline five filters, interrelated to some extent, through which these events must pass in order to become newsworthy. First, huge transnational businesses own much of the media - a fact probably more true now than in 1988 with Disney, Westinghouse, and Microsoft bullying in on the news markets. The corporate interests of these companies need not, and probably do not, coincide with the public's interests, and, consequently, some news and some interpretations of news stories critical of business interests will probably not make it to press.Read more ›
The book comes in three sections: A propaganda model, a review of "alignment" news stories, and coverage of the Indochina wars. The propaganda model is fairly simple. The mainstream news sources are corporate entities with a set of built-in limitations. Reporters need to serve their government sources or they'll be out of the loop. Editors and owners will be watching for stories that slant the wrong way (too pro-union, for example). Meanwhile, freelance "flak" providers raise the red flag when a reporter --- or newspaper or TV channel --- is straying from the path of orthodoxy.
During the Cold War, communism was used to keep the media in line. If you stray, you might be labeled a commie or a socialist. These terms changed to "liberal" during the late 1980s (and became institutionalized in the 1990s). The words are different, but the effect is the same. Chomsky has said in interviews that the emphasis on painting reporters as "reds" was too specific --- flak doesn't have to take the form of red-baiting. (The references in the book on this topic feel a little dated.)
The second section is a collection of case studies in alignment: The media adopts a pro-US stance when covering foreign elections, demonizing official enemies, and counting victims from wars, massacres, and human rights violations.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
One of my top 5 reads of the year. I highly recommend reading this.Published 7 months ago by Zach Pajtasz
"Manufacturing Consent" is repetitious and thin on content: it covers media treatment of elections in Central America and the Vietnam war. Read morePublished 11 months ago by ogilvie
Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent is not what I would consider an exciting read. Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2011 by Cornelius
Is the media free? According to this book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, it is far from free. Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by T. Hooper
Ever since the term 'ideology' appears in the wake of the French Revolution its implications have haunted modernity (although an equal case could be made that it springs from the... Read morePublished on May 16 2004 by John C. Landon
The title and subtitle are misleading: this is not a book about the impact of media on the public or about the internal structures of the media. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by razetheladder
This book, along with the Godfather, is what inspired me to study Political Science at UCLA. His thesis, that the American Media is a mouthpiece for corporate and pentagon... Read morePublished on Dec 10 2003 by Ron Bassilian
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