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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Paperback – September 12, 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (September 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679720340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679720348
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

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.

More About the Author

Edward S. Herman is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and has written extensively on economics, political economy, and the media. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power; The Real Terror Network; The Political Economy of Human Rights (with Noam Chomsky); and Manufacturing Consent (with Noam Chomsky). David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago.

Customer Reviews

So much for true freedom of the press.
Tim
Written in 1988, Manufacturing Consent is the classic left-wing analysis of US mass media as a "propaganda model".
Douglas S. Wood
The case studies are meticulously argued and the book is damning in its conclusions.
Ben

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

327 of 352 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's 1988 analysis of press censorship in America, is an insightful look at the ways public opinion and choices can be molded by dominating interests in a free society. Its value lies in the model Herman and Chomsky develop and test to account for this censorship; while they limit their investigation to a few specific cases -- three 1980s Central American elections, the alleged 1981 KGB-Bulgarian plot to kill the Pope, and the Indochina Wars -- their model is testable and can be applied and modified to a variety of events.
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.
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214 of 249 people found the following review helpful By kevin rivera on January 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a very scholarly and academic review of this book thats laden with a bunch of big words, etc., read one of the other reviews.
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.
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123 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Marco Polo on December 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
A tour de force, co-authored by one of the world's leading experts on language and meaning.Ā@In this book, Herman and Chomsky put forward a "propaganda model" to explain the bias in Western (mostly US) media on international affairs. Their thesis is that, although the US is not a dictatorship where a single leader can censor the press, the very market forces that lead people to believe in the freedom of their press actually work to create a self-imposed censorship which creates a biased media, more intent on delivering audiences to their advertisers and vital corporate sponsors than in providing their readers with balanced and informed news.Ā@The authors back up their theory with a large number of examples, and focus on 3 main topics: Latin America, Vietnam and the attempt on the life of the Pope in 1981. Using extensive quotations from US contemporary media reports, and comparing them with official sources such as government documents, White House memos, State Department press releases, as well as reports in non-US-based media, Herman and Chomsky are able to bolster their thesis of a propaganda model, and show that US media reports are nearly always skewed to show the US and its allies as the "good guys", and other (enemy) states as the "bad guys". When "they" do it, it's called "terrorism", when "we" do it, it's called "fighting for democracy and freedom."
Such a statement seems too blatantly simplistic to require serious consideration; nevertheless, the authors do give it very serious consideration, and the evidence they have scrupulously collected is hard to refute.
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