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Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media
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Funny, provocative and surprisingly accessible, MANUFACTURING CONSENT explores the political life and ideas of world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist Noam Chomsky. Through a dynamic collage of biography, archival gems, imaginative graphics and outrageous illustrations, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick's award-winning documentary highlights Chomsky's probing analysis of mass media and his critique of the forces at work behind the daily news. Available for the first time anywhere on DVD, MANUFACTURING CONSENT features appearances by journalists Bill Moyers and Peter Jennings, pundit William F. Buckley Jr., novelist Tom Wolfe and philosopher Michel Foucault. This Edition features an exclusive ten-years-after video interview with Chomsky.
- Noam Chomsky's reflections on the film and its impact
- Extended excerpts from the 1969 Firing Line debate with pundit William F. Buckley
- Never-before-seen 1971 discussion with philosopher Michel Foucault
- Filmmaker bios and production notes
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Top customer reviews
Chomsky repeated claims he eschews "sound bites" in his interviews, but he actually sound bites quite well (a credit to the filmmakers' editing). He is seen mostly in clips for various talks and debates, some of the debates in a quite informal setting allowing for more pointed and specific remarks to be made. Chomsky's background is put in perspective well (early upbringing and influences as well as his linguistics work at MIT), but the core of the film is his thesis that the mass media is a tool to help form public opinion to allow the government to carry out specific policies that benefit an elite few.
The film is not a Chomsky love-fest in that countering views are presented (in particular, the editor of the New York Times), though clearly the point of view of the film is that Chomsky is correct in his thesis. Two central examples of Chomsky's thesis are the comparison of media coverage between Cambodia and East Timor in the late 70's and the clear difference between defending someone's right to free speech without agreeing with the ideas proposed. What is most disturbing is Chomsky's discussion of how the media can marginalize those who even raise questions and in an eerie sense predicts the talking head shouting matches (laced with meaningless labels and rhetoric) that passes for "debate" today in the media.
Chomsky's writings, though he claims they're for the large mass of people that the state would like to simply not participate in the political process, are usually too difficult for the average attention span today. This DVD provides a very watchable, clear introduction to Chomsky's ideas and may provide the motivation to go through his writings. For those who think Chomsky is a liberal (as he is often labled), listen to when he discusses Carter's policies in Timor, and recall Carter was the "human rights" president. Highly recommended, considering the present state of the media in the US. The world is far more complex than the views you get on TV and when you ask the question: "why do they hate us so", you need to remember that you may not even have all the information to answer the question.