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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
by Edward S. Herman
Edition: Paperback
93 used & new from $0.01

26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Marks to Chomsky and Herman, February 21, 2000
As an avid Chomsky reader (cf. my other reviews), it is not surprising that I am fascinated with this book. Chomsky et al. confidently and carefully disect the actual construction of the media outlets. They ask questions I am yet to see elsewhere: who OWNS the media? Who PAYS for the words you see on a newspaper or hear on the tube? This book changed my views radically when I first read it (the book can be read 2-3 times a year for life in my opinion). Until I read this book, I assumed that the product of a newspaper was just that, the newspaper. However, as the authors point out this is not the case. The product of a newspaper is the reading audience, who are then sold by the newspaper to advertisers. As Chomsky has pointed out, newspapers do not make money from the 30 or 40pence you pay for a paper, after all, they are happy to post it on the internet for free. The media institutions are answerable to the advertisers who ultimately pay for the media and thus allow it to continue.
Through diligent examination of various case studies, Chomsky and Herman demonstrate other factors which influence and blur news reporting. My advice is as follows: buy the book, read it, consider the arguments and the case studies presented, and then apply the principles of the propaganda model to your own favourite newspaper or TV news programme. Don't be surprised however if you never believe a word you read or are told again. For this book is about critical thinking. It deals with awakening your innate skills of critical analysis. Chomsky and Herman do not ask, nor expect, you just to accept what they tell you; rather they request you look at the evidence yourself and come to your own conclusion. Walter Lippmann said that when everyone is thinking the same, then no one is thinking. Think about that.


Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
by Noam Chomsky
Edition: Paperback
93 used & new from $0.01

285 of 295 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary Illusions: Chomsky's tour de force, February 21, 2000
Of all the articles and books of Chomsky that I have read, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies is without doubt the most exhaustively researched (and footnoted), the most logically structured, and the most convincing. Chomsky reminds us that the majority of the populace rely on the various media institutions for their information about political affairs; both domestic and foreign. One can only hold an opinion on a topic if one knows about the topic. So take, for example, the popular myth of the 'persistent Soviet vetoe' at the UN during the cold war. Why do people believe the USSR was constantly vetoeing any and every Security Council Resolution? Simple! When they did, it generated front page condemnation. When the US or the UK exercised their right of veteo: silence. As Chomsky notes, during the years of 1970 and 1989 the former Soviet Union veteod 8 resolutions. The US veteod some 56. This is what Chomsky refers to as Thought Control. Unless the public examine the factual record of the UN themselves, they will never come by this information, (at least not in the mainstream press). So although Chomsky's title may appear somewhat paradoxical, or oxymoronic, a moments reflection on such facts shows it to be, in fact, extremenly pragmatic and truthful. The question is, have you the honesty and sheer guts to question yourself and challenge the information which has contributed to your beliefs? The crux of Chomsky's argument is that propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship. Chomsky points out that, in fact, propaganda is, contrary to popular postulations, more important and vital to a democratic society because people still have some rights. That is, since people can talk, the powers that be must ensure that only the correct words come out of the peoples' mouths. In a dictatorship it does not really matter too much what people think; for whatever they may think, they have to do what they are told, by pain of death. In countries such as the US (and the UK) other, more subtle, methods are required. People often critisise Chomsky for the sources of his information (the copious footnotes). No such critique can be levelled at this work. Chomsky's sources are declassified internal planning documents, naval proceedings documents, and the very institutions he examines, New York Times, Washington Post etc. If there was one Chomsky book I would suggest you to read, this would be it.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2016 12:03 PM PST


The Chomsky Reader
The Chomsky Reader
by Noam Chomsky
Edition: Perfect Paperback
Price: $17.76
244 used & new from $0.01

37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seminal Introduction to Chomsky's Major Viewpoints, February 18, 2000
"The Chomsky Reader" kicks off with an excellently composed essay by the books editor, Peck. Excellent as this initial taste is, it gives but a slight indication of what is to come. For this collection of essays by Chomsky gives a unique insight into the viewpoints and observations of one of this century's greatest political thinkers. Is this book 'enjoyable' fellow students have asked me? Perhaps this, in fact, is not the right question. After all, how enjoyable can it be reading essays (backed up by exhaustive evidence) dealing with topics such as tens of thousands of innocents slaughtered in not so far off lands while our 'free press' turns the other way, unwilling to impart meaningful information to their audience? But this book is more than a Chomskyian socio-political critique; avid readers (even with no prior germane knowledge) should enjoy the essays examing language and human nature, (don't forget Chomsky is a Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy). One word of warning, this book can not be leafed through or merely perused; it must be read. Intellectuals, states Chomsky, have a responsibility to tell the truth. Think about that.


Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order
Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order
by Noam Chomsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.87
103 used & new from $6.19

122 of 135 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chomsky's damning disection of global capitalism, February 18, 2000
Chomsky's "Profit over People" is a careful and thought provoking (not to mention exhaustive) examination of the ultimate goals of the world of private business: profit, power, and the maintance of the status quo and the class system at any cost. If that cost is to be paid in human lives and soles, (as in East Timor and elsewhere); so be it. Of particular interest in this work by Chomsky are the sections in which he examines the recent changes from 'real' business, viz., business linked to production etc., to modern 'speculative' business, i.e, gamblers buying and selling foreign currencies etc., and the effect this has had (and will continue to have) on a global economy obsessed with nothing but profit, profit, and more profit.
Do yourself a favour and read this book. Forget Clancy, Archer, etc. That's released on to the market simply to distract the peasants of society (i.e. non-millionaires). Read instead Chomsky, Herman, Orwell, Wells, Said, Huxley, et al. Gain an insight into how much harm we, as citizens of democratic societies, are inflicting on the Third World. In addition, ponder on why you have not seen this (or any other) book by Chomsky reviewed in the main stream press. If Professor Chomsky's observations and views are as easy to dismiss as his critics would have us believe, why don't they?


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