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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Paperback – January 15, 2002
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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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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They note that "The great media also depend on the government for more general policy support" (Pg. 13), and that "Time magazine hardly attempts to hide the face that it takes its cues from Washington." (Pg. 118) Government-controlled "experts" and "pseudo-events" are used to attract media attention and "channel it in the direction of the propaganda line." (Pg. 139)
Concerning Vietnam, they assert that "principled objection to the war as ... a war crime is inexpressible. It is not part of the spectrum of discussion... It is not present even to be refuted. Rather, the idea is unthinkable." (Pg. 252) The media encourage spirited debate, criticism, and dissent, "as long as these remain faithfully within the system of presuppositions and principles that constitute an elite consensus, a system so powerful as to be internalized largely without awareness." (Pg. 302) And it does this "without significant overt coercion." (Pg. 206)
They state, "We do not accept the view the freedom of expression must be defended ... by virtue of its expression to some higher good; rather, it is a value in itself." (Pg. 298)
This book is a challenging, provocative, and thought-provoking discussion, and well worth study by anyone, of any political persuasion.
So many questions, and more importantly so many answers, supported by data. Backed by facts. Who decides and chooses what we read and don't read? What we see and don't see? What we hear and don't hear? The power of the media and its influence often stems from not only what is reported but what is *not* reported. This, is power. And, who actually owns the major media conglomerates?
What we, the common people, discuss over a cup of coffee or beer at the dinner table is spoon-fed to us. The "topics of the day," week, or year, are handed to us on a dish. And naively, we eat what's on the plate.
This book is one of Chomsky's most influential and heuristic books. And, there is a reason why Noam Chomsky is blacklisted from the (MSM) mainstream media in the United States, while being the 8th most cited author in the world for over 20 years.
WORTHY VS. UNWORTHY VICTIMS
The concept of the "worthy" vs. "unworthy" victim is statistically studied in "Manufacturing Consent." A worthy victim is abused or murdered in an enemy country by a perceived or actual enemy, whereas an unworthy victim is abused or killed in a "friendly" country. Whether a nation or movement is an "enemy" or "friend" is defined by the mainstream media, which is no doubt firstly influenced by the U.S. government, whose foreign policy establishes the rules, or teams, if you will.
One example of a worthy victim noted was Polish priest and solidarity supporter Jerzy Popieluszko. A perfect example of news creation and news management of propaganda. The Polish secret police abducted, bound and gagged, and murdered Popieluszko and threw his body into a reservoir. The media response and coverage of this was comprehensive, emotional front-page news. But this case, is compared to others. Who chooses to run a story front-page? For how many days? Yes, Popieluszko was a worthy victim to be reported on, but why were so many other "worthy victims" ignored. Ideological management by the mainstream media.
Another more detailed example example of this is in the section covering The Indochine Conflicts in Laos and Cambodia in "Manufacturing Consent."
After reading "Manufacturing Consent" we can recognize our new "heroes" and "worthy victims" of today: with the recent Iraq conflict the media is using the "Cult of the Fallen Soldier," which a concept originally created by the Germans, hundreds of years ago.
Further reporting includes adjectives used to describe the "heroism" and "bravery" of soldiers in military conflict. The specific acts are almost never specifically detailed, nor the details corroborated. Weazel Words. This was very common in Vietnam and now is used in Iraq. Some individual fighting for the "good guys" is labeled a "hero," but we are not informed of the heroic act(s) that he did. Was it documented? As for the term "brave," Perhaps he or she was. We don't know, because we're not told. A recent example is the case of Jessica Lynch. This does not only apply to the false myth of Jessica Lynch, but is used throughout these military-media campaigns to cover all of the participants, be they military, military families, civilian, bureaucrats, (e.b. Paul Bremer) and politicians.
"Manufacturing Consent" is timeless, and we see the mainstream media today function exactly the same way today as it did when this book was written. it's just that the "bad guys" who "threaten" the US and it's 5,100+ nuclear warheads have changed. The fact that this book was written in the late 1980s reinforces the facts that only the players have changed, yet the game remains the same.
Many citizens of the world view "reality" that is carefully constructed for them, and often through an "ideological" lens. There is comprehensive and pervasive censorship in America. The filtering of the info was receive is not about the false "Left vs. Right" paradigm. It's about the paradigm of perception.