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Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media [Paperback]

Mark Achbar

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"The companion book to the celebrated film of the same name about world-renowned linguist and social theorist Noam Chomsky ... A complete transcript of the film is complemented by key excerpts from the writings, interviews and correspondence of Chomsky and his critics, additional historical and biographical material, filmmakers' notes, a resource guide, and 300 stills from the film."

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Primer for the Uninitiated 16 Mar 2001
By "pythagosaurusrex" - Published on Amazon.com
This documentary is a reasonable exposition of Chomsky's views. For those unfamiliar with Chomsky's (and Edward Herman's) propaganda model, this film is highly recommended. Those already conversant with Chomsky will probably revel in the extension of his ideas to real Living Color (those who agree with him anyway). However, I have one complaint: the propaganda system is complicated, and the film seems to take a dive on the specifics instead of dealing with its essential details. The failure to explicate what exactly Chomsky means when he speaks of "thought control in a democratic society" allows the pejorative claim that his ideas are "conspiratorial" to seep into the argument. Tom Wolfe scoffingly impugns what he calls, "the cabal"- I doubt he's actually read Chomsky. Anyone who understands the propaganda model, even if they fervently deny its existence, realizes that it is not worthy of "conspiracy theory" derision. The film would have done well to debunk this myth.
The other flaw as I see is the focus on Chomsky's background and personal life, which are superfluous to the film's main message and inconsistent with Chomsky's own feelings about celebrity.
As you can imagine, the film is rather one-sided in favor of Chomsky's views. Once you've seen this, it's absolutely imperative to read "Necessary Illusions", "Manufacturing Consent", and even some of Chomsky's other books- "The Washington Connection" and "Rouge States" are recommended. Also of note is that Chomsky may be Godfather of media criticism, but others including Nancy Snow and Michael Parenti have written well on the subject.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely useful book 18 Jan 2002
By Mark Achbar - Published on Amazon.com
"While the film has met with large-scale success throughout much of the world, it is as a book that Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media is most useful. A virtual transcript of the film, it also includes a range of other materials--extended extracts from Chomsky's writings, reviews of those writings, interviews and a variety of novelty items, from comic strips through to a set of "Philosopher all-Star" trading cards attached to the spine. Through these, the emphasis on Chomsky's personality with marks the film (and about which Chomsky himself was concerned) is diminished, and the result is a highly skimmable guide to Chomsky's political ideas, the controversies in which he has been embroiled, and the notoriously thorny question of the relationship between his political and linguistic ideas. It is, perhaps, too fragmentary and montage-like in its organization to serve as a course text, but as a distillation of one important current within Western radical thought it is extremely useful."
Will Straw,
Canadian Journal of Communication
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A primer in intellectual self-defense 30 Mar 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media is the essential companion book to the celebrated philosophical documentary film of the same name which was released in 1993.
Noam Chomsky followers and all free thinkers who have seen the film (and those who have not) owe it to themselves to get a copy of this provocative book and discover the incredible depth and lucidity of Chomsky's thought and ideas which address the most important moral, ethical, political and social issues of our time.
The book contains a complete transcript of the film, with 300 stills illustrating the text, as well as copious excerpts from Chomsky's writings, interviews and other sources. The side-bar rich format of the book is well designed in that it allows one to follow the sometimes fast pace of the documentary's narrative while providing well chosen excerpts from Chomsky's writings that enrich and elucidate the topics presented in the film.
Like the film, this book will hold your attention, and you will find yourself returning again and again to explore the political life and times of the controversial author, linguist, and radical philosopher Noam Chomsky. I would highly recommend this book both to the seasoned reader of Chomsky's work and as a very approachable introduction for the first time reader to this authors intellectually potent thought.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vast wealth of insight 13 Dec 2002
By Pen Name? - Published on Amazon.com
This book is much more than a simple transcript of the documentary of the same name, it also offers a lot of information and excerpts from interviews with and writings by Noam Chomsky not included in the film. It is a very wonderfully put together book. This might be the best introduction to Chomsky's thought around. and the philosopher all star trading cards in the back of the book are a great idea. Plus, it really looks good on the coffee table.
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