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  • Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media [VHS]
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Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 2
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Video
  • VHS Release Date: October 11, 1994
  • Run Time: 166 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303295576
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,418 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar made this penetrating documentary about the career and views of linguist and media critic Noam Chomsky. While the man is the subject of the movie, the filmmakers wisely and carefully choose not to make Chomsky more important than his insights into the way print and electronic journalism tacitly and often willingly further the agendas of the powerful. We learn a lot about Chomsky's formative experiences as a child, student, academic, activist, and politician (he has campaigned for office), but we learn just as much about the media institutions that deny him access today, from ABC to PBS. The centerpiece of the film, arguably, is a long examination into the history of the New York Times' coverage of Indonesia's atrocity-ridden occupation of East Timor, reportage that (as Chomsky shows us) was absolutely in lock step with the government's unwillingness to criticize an ally. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

151 of 156 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Despite the previous reviewer's remarks, not once in this film does Noam Chomsky argue that the media suppreses certain news items at the behest of the goverment. Instead, he argues that the national media, as part of the elite corporate power structure, has certain vested interests in not reporting on potentially embarrasing events where the U.S. government is heavily involved on the wrong side. Places like East Timor in the late 1970s, for example. There is no conspiracy theory here. Chomsky is very clear on that. Rather, it's simply a case of people and corporations in power seeking to maintain their hold on power. That's it. Chomsky is an advocate of full, democratic participation in all aspects of American life, and that's the case he presents in this film. It's a wonderful educational tool. Highly recommended.
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159 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Allan Ostermann on May 15, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of the most influential documentaries I've ever seen. It has affected my life in ways I never imagined; like reading Walden or Catcher in the Rye in high school.
It's very difficult to rebuke what Dr. Chomsky says and writes. He backs up his views with miles of objective research (although even he may claim that no source is truly objective). He spoke of East Timor in the 70's. Perhaps you recall sound bites about the atrocities, which finally became "public" in about 1999.
But Manufacturing Consent sticks to media influence; how corporations control the media, and that the media is not free speech since it's owned by corporations. The New York Times will print what is in the interest of The New York Times.
Government will suppress news in its best interest. This is only considered a "fact" if one looks historically. We laugh at the inane propaganda of early newsreels, but is World News Tonight any different? Will it cover mass genocide in other countries without previous consent or some agenda? No. If the US backs the current regime, chances are you won't hear about any problems in, say, some small country near Indonesia, or in Africa.
There's so much to say about Chomsky, but I must end. See this film, even if you hate it. It will make you think. You may just think Chomsky's a paranoid nut, but at least it made you think. And it's harder to question an MIT scholar (who just so happens to also be the most important figure in Linguistics) than, say, a commentator with a degree in Communications.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Tony Hall on September 7, 2003
Format: DVD
I originally bought this DVD because I read a review that said it's a great place to start if you don't know much about Noam Chomsky and I'd like to reaffirm that with my review. This DVD is a wonderful introduction to Noam Chomsky, his political views, and his theories of media propaganda. You should know that this is not a Noam Chomsky produced film. This is a documentary about Noam Chomsky by people that of course support his views.
Although it says "DVD release date 2002" above, you should realize that this film is kinda old. Some of the cheesy visual and sound effects are laughable, but that's not what's important with this DVD. Another thing that you should know is that this is not the type of film that you want to watch on a romantic evening with your loved one. My girlfriend was bored to tears for all THREE hours of it! Of course I was loving every minute of it. Buy it, make yourself some coffee, and watch it alone.
One more thing: Although this is no substitute for Noam Chomsky's book of the same title, this is also an excellent source of the basic ideas in the book. By the time you finish watching this documentary, you'll be able explain to your friends how the media selectively filters information in the interests of themselves, the government, and the system (not how Noam would say it) before reaching you and the history books.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Cubist on May 27, 2004
Format: DVD
With the recent media frenzy surrounding Michael Moore's documentary, Fahrenheit 911, it is interesting to observe how the controversy currently swirling around it (Disney backed it financially but won't distribute it) has been documented in the press. It makes a film like Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media all the more relevant more than ten years after its release. Chomsky is a soft-spoken professor at MIT who has become quite a vocal political activist and critic of the American media. He believes that ordinary people can comprehend and act on the issues he raises, but this is not always an easy task because of the thick web of doublespeak that the government creates to blind us from what he calls the "elementary truths" that are right in front of us.
However, people are indoctrinated to be apathetic so that they don't want to make the effort that is needed to see what is really going on. And the media doesn't help either. In fact, one might say that they promote this sense of apathy by showing redundant, repetitive sitcoms and reality shows that turn us into mindless couch potatoes. Now, you might be thinking, this sounds like a lot of conspiracy theory garbage, but Chomsky does not look, act or speak like some crazed conspiracy nut. He is an intelligent man who talks to a BBC reporter the same way he would talk to an ordinary person. Chomsky is a clear and concise speaker who backs up everything he says with an ample supply of facts and unfaltering logic. He is a man dedicated to uncovering the deception and atrocities that are committed by governments all over the world and teaching others how to become aware of and act on these acts.
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