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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media [Hardcover]

Edward S. Herman , Noam Chomsky
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 1988
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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; 1 edition (Oct 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394549260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394549262
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,093,503 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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A detailed and compelling political study --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book Since "The Media Monolopy" 21 Jun 2009
I'm not a fan of writing long reviews, so I'll just state that Chomsky and Herman do a phenomenal job of contrasting, what Chomsky calls, the 'hypocracy' in American politics. Namely the US focusing on their enemy's crimes, and overlooking its own crimes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly excellent 5 Jun 2013
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moment of Clarity 3 Nov 2011
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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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
"This book centers in what we call a "Propaganda Model", an analytical framework that attempts to explain the performance of the U.S. media in terms of the basic institutional structures and relationships within they operate. It is our view that, among their other functions, the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful social interests that control and finance them.... In our view the...underlying power sources that own the media and fund them as advertisers, that serve as primary definers of the news, and that produce flak and proper thinking experts, also play a key role in fixing basic principles and the dominant ideologies. We believe that what journalists do, what they see as newsworthy, and what they take for granted...are...well explained by the incentives, pressures, and constraints incorporated into such a structural analysis."

Noam Chomsky (MIT)
and Edward Herman (Wharton Business School)
From the Introduction

Next to the Bible, Joseph Campbell's THE POWER OF MYTH and FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, the seminal work of psychologist Alice Miller, every single American home should have this book. Perhaps to a greater extent than even much of the other work of Noam Chomsky, MANUFACTURING CONSENT reveals the irony of where a truly moral path leads in our world. Meaning, the religious/moral paradigms of Christian Conservatism, embraced in the inner world of personal integrity and "family values" and followed to their obvious conclusion--our outer world structured by commerce and international politics--leads one invariably to finding GOD somewhere on the left of America's political center; far and away from the Limbaugh-isms on American conservative radio. Anything less is either cancerous cynicism or delusional hypocrisy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book is a must read for media scholars or anyone interested to understand how mass, mainstream media produce the news reports they do. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Filip
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for everyone interested in how the media construct our...
A detailed study of subtle techniques used in the contemporary western medias designed to instill in the audience particular views about reality. Read more
Published 4 months ago by I Dragoun
5.0 out of 5 stars Manufacturing consent
I thought I knew a lot about the subliminal propaganda carried by even the best of the mainstream media. This masterpiece has taught me a lat more. Read more
Published 6 months ago by George Brennan
5.0 out of 5 stars Second hand book
Arrived quicker than the delivery date stated, so I was delighted! The cover isn't the same as the picture but its the same thing so it doesn't really matter! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Roisin Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars This book empowers the reader to critically approach all media
Superb book that allows the reader to take a critical, informed approach when reading/viewing various media. Read more
Published 12 months ago by R PEPPER
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived safely
It is ok but o do not like the paper type such a newspaper... and no banderole...

Arrived on time
Published 19 months ago by Samsuni
4.0 out of 5 stars Manufacturing consent
Subtle,in-depth analysis of media manipulation by the Establishment.A very good read and particularly relevant today;no doubt the Establishment will soon "discover" WMDs... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Proinsias
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
I'm very glad I read this book, I feel I have learnt something very important. It professionally and comprehensively explains how we are manipulated and why. Read more
Published on 13 Oct 2011 by forumsfeedback
4.0 out of 5 stars Manufacturing the news...
I once wrote an article which was eventually published in the local newspaper with the subject title. Read more
Published on 13 July 2011 by John P. Jones III
5.0 out of 5 stars Our world of lies explained
Two bright lights illuminate the many darkened rooms and dingy corners of our 'democracies'.
The world presented to us by main stream media, on behalf of western governments... Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2010 by A. G. Jarrett
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