Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent : The Political Economy of the Mass Media

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Contrary to the usual image of the press as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in its search for truth, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky depict how an underlying elite consensus largely structures all facets of the news. They skilfully dissect the way in which the marketplace and the economics of publishing significantly shape the news. They reveal how issues are framed and topics chosen, and contrast the double standards underlying accounts of free elections, a free press, and governmental repression between Nicaragua and El Salvador; between the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the American invasion of Vietnam; between the genocide in Cambodia under a pro-American government and genocide under Pol Pot. What emerges from this groundbreaking work is an account of just how propagandistic our mass media are, and how we can learn to read them and see their function in a radically new more

Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 30mm | 281.23g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099533111
  • 9780099533115
  • 28,825

Review quote

"[A] compelling indictment of the news media's role in covering up errors and deceptions in American foreign policy of the past quarter century."--Walter LaFeber, The New York Times Book Reviewshow more

Flap copy

In this pathbreaking work, now with a new introduction, 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 more

Review Text

More heavy-handed analysis by the baron of linguistics, Chomsky (Rules and Representations, 1980, among others), and Herman (Finance/Wharton School). The subject is the actual effect of the mass media on public opinion and just what it is that the media attempt to accomplish. As the title suggests, the authors aim to demonstrate that the media in America tend to buttress elite groups and privileged organizations. Those who argue that the media are too aggressive, obstinate, or cantankerous in their public persecutions of selected government leaders or policies are wrong, the authors state. Rather, the media always serve a "societal purpose" - which is "not that of enabling the public to assert meaningful control over the political process by providing them with the information needed for the intelligent discharge of political responsibilities. On the contrary. . .the 'societal purpose'. . .is to inculcate and defend the economic, social, and political agenda of privileged groups. . ." How do the media accomplish this? Via "selection of topics, distribution of concerns, framing of issues, filtering of information, emphasis, and tone." This argument is not original; other books have argued (in much clearer prose) basically the same idea (e.g., The Media Elite, by Robert S. Lichter, 1986). And what further weakens this book are the strained examples that the authors choose: that media excesses in the Watergate scandal and in advocating an anti-Vietnam stance, for instance, were not cases of adversarial journalism, but of journalism coming to the defense of a weakened Congress (itself a prime example of a privileged group). Stretching for its thesis, and as a result not strongly argued. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Edward S. Herman

Edward S. Herman is Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power; The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda; Demonstration Elections: U. S.-Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and El Salvador (with Frank Brodhead) and The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection (with Frank Brodhead). Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. A member of the American Academy of Science, he has published widely in both linguistics and current affairs. His previous books include At War with Asia, American Power and the New Mandarins, For Reasons of State, Peace in the Middle East?, Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle: The U. S., Israel and the Palestinians, Pirates and Emperors, The Culture of Terrorism, and Necessary more

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10,612 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 46% (4,846)
4 36% (3,815)
3 14% (1,505)
2 3% (324)
1 1% (122)
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