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1 Burnside International Studies- Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

by and

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Cover

ISBN13: 9780679720348
ISBN10: 0679720340
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 way.

Review:

"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 propagandistic — the 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....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." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"The overstatements and the weakness in the 'propaganda model' that the authors try to construct are unfortunate, because many of the book's raw-data comparisons are compelling indictments 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 Review

Review:

"The chapters do not all work equally well. In the case of Vietnam, especially, Herman and Chomsky are let down somewhat by their naive view that the factual record speaks for itself; though their analysis of the record is impeccable, and badly needed, they seem not to grasp that the U.S. case in Vietnam has an alleged moral and geopolitical justification independent of 'facts' about who invaded whom first and similar questions....Overall, though, Manufacturing Consent succeeds both as brilliant set pieces of reportage, and as a devastating indictment of the 'free press.'" Philip Green, The Nation

Review:

"Manufacturing Consent really is a conspiracy theory....Any kind of political murder committed by the left is condemned, a little perfunctorily, and then compared with the much greater and more outrageous 'mass-murder,' 'sadism,' and 'genocide' committed by the United States and its right-wing allies. All this is delivered in the leaden prose of a sectarian tract....What [they] are right about is that the big-time American press does operate within a fairly narrow range of assumptions, and that it...tends to...reflect what Herman and Chomsky, meaning to be withering, call 'patriotic premises.'" Nicholas Lemann, The New Republic

About the Author

Edward S. Herman is Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Noam Chomsky is Professor, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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GDuperreault, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by GDuperreault)
It's been many weeks, now, since I finished Manufacturing and started this review. In that time I have been wrestling with how to verbalize the feelings that this book has evoked. Sadly, the best description I can give is that it is easily and by far the most disturbing book I have ever read. Writing and re-writing that sentence, with its rather flaccid sentiment took me three days. My brain seems to have been hit hard with the breadth and depth of my state sanctioned and media promulgated ignorance and disinformation. But it has been stunned into gibber-jabber at economic actions that can only be called evil but have been either ignored or sanitized by our media.

I am disappointed and surprised that my having read eight of Chomsky's 150+ books a total of 13 times before tackling Manufacturing did not prepare me against being overwhelmed by the calm, incisive, and persuasive descriptions of both the immeasurable brutality of American foreign policy and the vile complicity of the press. Yes, I knew it was bad. I had come to that conclusion on my own long before I discovered NC.

When I began reading Manufacturing I proceeded with the naïve thought that I'd flag those bits that resonated with me in order to blog at least some of them. And at first that is exactly what did: many of the early pages are purpled with stickies, and it was at that time that it was with excitement, perhaps even zeal, that I blogged those two oh so perfect citations. [@ egajdbooks.blogspot.com]

But I flagged fewer and fewer pages because I began to realize that what I was reading could not be effectively snipped into even longish quotations. The book is only properly read as a wholeness because every piece of writing supports Herman's and Chomsky's arguments: removing words here and there weakened them because isolated they seem too unbelievable. Before this book I actually thought I understood Chomsky when he's commented that the modern media's need for concision is an extremely effective tool to delimit argument and promote ignorance within the acceptable and the delimited known. And I now understand why he has such vehemence whenever he refutes anyone trying in anyway to mollify in even the tiniest degree the evil that is America's actions in South Vietnam before, during, and especially after, the invasion.

Reading Manufacturing created an epiphany in me. I feel I have been ripped from the flawed world that I thought I had some understanding of and dropped into the fetid mire of an alternative universe.

In response to a comment I made about Manufacturing a co-worker stated the trope about the important role the media played in shortening the Vietnam War. His particular point was of the brutal war photography of a famous photographer (whose name I've now forgotten) who achieved much acclaim for the brutal photographs he took. I found myself unable to even open my mouth to contradict him his belief about the media's role in ending that war. How could I begin to re-articulate the entire text of Manufacturing, which would be the minimum required to exorcise that mystification? It would require both an acceptance of the scale of America's Machiavellian brutality that is all but unimaginable and that that brutality was not only knowingly condoned but significantly abetted by just about all of the news journals and their expert commentators and propagandizing editing and editorializing.

Actually, reading just Manufacturing would likely not be enough, because without additional awareness outside of it and Chomsky MC is probably unbelievable despite the hundreds of references and extended citations from everyone from Kissenger to President Carter. The scale of the deliberate and utter ruthless annihilation of democracy in Vietnam and Cambodia for the direct and clearly delineated and articulated, but unreported, purposes of American world hegemony is incredulous and sickening. And Vietnam cannot be dismissed as a reporting gaff because the improper reporting of American hegemony continued in South and Latin America. Perhaps most tellingly with how the media reported the rape, murder and mutilation of nine American church women who had left America to provide aide to those being killed by American backed, trained and financed henchmen.

As I mentioned, I was originally going to site lots of things. But after many weeks of struggle, I've decided to focus on why I've used the words 'evil' and 'sickening' to describe the government of America's behaviour in Vietnam and the media's complicity. To set that up, here's an excerpt that perhaps gives a hint of the scale of America's destruction of South Vietnam while they were reportedly 'saving' it: [It is very long - for those interested you can read it @ Extended Citations.]

I don't know why, but the deliberate kicking of the Vietnamese by America's political elite, after their country had been utterly destroyed by American armaments, chemicals, and the use of Rome plows, struck me as far more evil than the decision to destroy them was in the first place. The emotional turmoil that this has evoked in me is still rumbling around my system. I am not sure how, but something changed in me, and I'm at a kind of loss about how to bring that change into my official and proper and comfortable life.

[Note: my blog - egajdbooks.blogspot.com - of this review contains hyper links to the footnotes, and where possible, to sources and resources available on the web.]
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679720348
Subtitle:
The Political Economy of the Mass Media
With:
Chomsky, Noam
Author:
Herman, Edward S.
Author:
Chomsky, Noam
Publisher:
Pantheon
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mass media
Subject:
Public opinion
Subject:
Mass Media - Electronics Media
Subject:
World politics
Subject:
Political aspects
Subject:
Mass media -- Objectivity -- United States.
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
no. 67
Publication Date:
20020115
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9.21x6.15x1.09 in. 1.30 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » Chomsky Noam
History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780679720348 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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 propagandistic — the 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....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."
"Review" by , "The overstatements and the weakness in the 'propaganda model' that the authors try to construct are unfortunate, because many of the book's raw-data comparisons are compelling indictments of the news media's role in covering up errors and deceptions in American foreign policy of the past quarter-century."
"Review" by , "The chapters do not all work equally well. In the case of Vietnam, especially, Herman and Chomsky are let down somewhat by their naive view that the factual record speaks for itself; though their analysis of the record is impeccable, and badly needed, they seem not to grasp that the U.S. case in Vietnam has an alleged moral and geopolitical justification independent of 'facts' about who invaded whom first and similar questions....Overall, though, Manufacturing Consent succeeds both as brilliant set pieces of reportage, and as a devastating indictment of the 'free press.'"
"Review" by , "Manufacturing Consent really is a conspiracy theory....Any kind of political murder committed by the left is condemned, a little perfunctorily, and then compared with the much greater and more outrageous 'mass-murder,' 'sadism,' and 'genocide' committed by the United States and its right-wing allies. All this is delivered in the leaden prose of a sectarian tract....What [they] are right about is that the big-time American press does operate within a fairly narrow range of assumptions, and that it...tends to...reflect what Herman and Chomsky, meaning to be withering, call 'patriotic premises.'"
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