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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Paperback – 20 Apr 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (20 April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099533111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099533115
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"[A] compelling indictment of the news media's role in covering up errors and deceptions in American foreign policy of the past quarter century."--Walter LaFeber, The New York Times Book Review

Book Description

A detailed and compelling political study

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Steven Jackson on 5 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by someone I was having a discussion with when I expressed my frustration about how our media consistently toe the government line and frame the discussion in such a way as to absolve our countries of any culpability in the horrific suffering we've inflicted on others - wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are all fine examples.

I couldn't figure out how our media consistently follow a very similar line, regardless of whether they are supposedly left or right-wing publications (that we are good and are bringing freedom, regardless of our very clear real motives, and our chosen victims who are evil and ridiculous). In this book, Chomsky and Herman define a propaganda model for modern capitalist societies that explains how and why this is so. They also provide some fascinating and eye-opening examples and case studies that are meticulously backed up with their sources (so you're not just getting their opinion on the matter). The discussions of El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and others are very well structured and are easy to read.

In conclusion, I would say that if you've identified that we get an extremely skewed representation of the news in our media and want to know why that is, this book is pure gold.

Also, the book was written in the late 1980s, and I was amazed that as I read it so many of the examples could have easily been applied to how our media reports the current Syrian civil war where there are very strong vested interests for Western nations. It's proof of a sound model and a timeless book. One of the most enlightening I've ever read, and to counter some of the comments about "conspiracy theories" - this book clearly is not supporting that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By NGNM on 3 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having had a an avid interest in the mainstream media for some years now and having read quite a few books on the subject over the years I can say without hesitation that Manufacturing Consent is the best book I have ever read on the subject.
The power of the media in shaping perceptions about current and past events should need little explanation in itself as I'm sure anyone who is interested in the subject would agree.The question is who is behind the shaping of public opinion and why is it so important to them that we see things in very specific ways.
Manufacturing Consent presents a lucid and compelling case about how the mainstream media serves powerful special interest groups within our societies and prevents us, the general public , from applying the same standards to all situations and all parties via a set of media " filters " that have an enormous effect on public perceptions
The first chapter sketches out a " propaganda model " that is applied to various situations and incidents covered by the mainstream media ranging from the highly selective treatment of elections in Central America , alleged state plans to assassinate the Pope , state terrorism , worthy and unworthy victims through to the Vietnam war and much more in between.
The book is complete with a thorough end notes section from a wide range of sources and is a absolute must read for any who wish to see through the smoke and mirrors that obscure some ugly truths about the service to power the mainstream media provides in our " free " societies.You will never see the media in the same light again !!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I once wrote an article which was eventually published in the local newspaper with the subject title. It concerned my interactions with NY Times columnist, Tom Friedman, and how the "balanced" statement which I have made to him was transformed, through his unique alchemy, into a very one-sided statement that fit his pre-conceived ideas, and was published in one of his columns to reinforce those ideas. Yes, I was "misquoted," in concept, if not in fact. But my interest in the subject of what becomes news, and what does not, predated the above interaction by many years. Regrettably, it was only recently when I purchased and read this book. The central theme is an examination of what and how the news in made, particularly in the United States, and just as importantly, what is omitted (left on the cutting room floor, as the movie industry has it.)

This book was first published in the late `80's, and this edition contains a 36 page introduction which was written in 2002. Herman and Chomsky are listed as co-authors, and I struggled with the question of which one wrote more of the book: I believe it was Edward Herman. The book has numerous strengths. Remember that it was written long before the era of the purported "fair and balanced" reporting of Fox News, and therefore addressing the truly "low-hanging fruit" of Fox's biased coverage is not included. Much of the book looks at what we refer to as our "newspaper of record," the New York Times. Their thesis is rather provocative: much of our "news" should be viewed as propaganda, just as we KNOW the "news" issued by various totalitarian regimes is propaganda.
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