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Manufacturing Consent

The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Edward S Herman Noam Chomsky



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07 February 1995
A detailed and compelling political study of how elite forces shape mass media Contrary to the usual image of the press as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in its search for truth, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky depict how an underlying elite consensus largely structures all facets of the news. They skilfully dissect the way in which the marketplace and the economics of publishing significantly shape the news. They reveal how issues are framed and topics chosen, and contrast the double standards underlying accounts of free elections, a free press, and governmental repression between Nicaragua and El Salvador; between the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the American invasion of Vietnam; between the genocide in Cambodia under a pro-American government and genocide under Pol Pot. What emerges from this groundbreaking work is an account of just how propagandistic our mass media are, and how we can learn to read them and see their function in a radically new way.
By:   Edward S Herman, Noam Chomsky
Imprint:   Vintage
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   298g
ISBN:   9780099533115
ISBN 10:   0099533111
Pages:   432
Publication Date:   07 February 1995
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Edward S. Herman is Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power; The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda; Demonstration Elections: U. S.-Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and El Salvador (with Frank Brodhead) and The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection (with Frank Brodhead). Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. A member of the American Academy of Science, he has published widely in both linguistics and current affairs. His previous books include At War with Asia, American Power and the New Mandarins, For Reasons of State, Peace in the Middle East?, Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle: The U. S., Israel and the Palestinians, Pirates and Emperors, The Culture of Terrorism, Manufacturing Consent (with E. S. Herman), and Necessary Illusions.

Reviews for Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

More heavy-handed analysis by the baron of linguistics, Chomsky (Rules and Representations, 1980, among others), and Herman (Finance/Wharton School). The subject is the actual effect of the mass media on public opinion and just what it is that the media attempt to accomplish. As the title suggests, the authors aim to demonstrate that the media in America tend to buttress elite groups and privileged organizations. Those who argue that the media are too aggressive, obstinate, or cantankerous in their public persecutions of selected government leaders or policies are wrong, the authors state. Rather, the media always serve a societal purpose - which is not that of enabling the public to assert meaningful control over the political process by providing them with the information needed for the intelligent discharge of political responsibilities. On the contrary. . .the 'societal purpose'. . .is to inculcate and defend the economic, social, and political agenda of privileged groups. . . How do the media accomplish this? Via selection of topics, distribution of concerns, framing of issues, filtering of information, emphasis, and tone. This argument is not original; other books have argued (in much clearer prose) basically the same idea (e.g., The Media Elite, by Robert S. Lichter, 1986). And what further weakens this book are the strained examples that the authors choose: that media excesses in the Watergate scandal and in advocating an anti-Vietnam stance, for instance, were not cases of adversarial journalism, but of journalism coming to the defense of a weakened Congress (itself a prime example of a privileged group). Stretching for its thesis, and as a result not strongly argued. (Kirkus Reviews)

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