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Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (Open Media Series) [Kindle Edition]

Noam Chomsky
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Noam Chomsky’s backpocket classic on wartime propaganda and opinion control begins by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. According to Chomsky, "propaganda is to democracy as the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state," and the mass media is the primary vehicle for delivering propaganda in the United States. From an examination of how Woodrow Wilson’s Creel Commission "succeeded, within six months, in turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war-mongering population," to Bush Sr.'s war on Iraq, Chomsky examines how the mass media and public relations industries have been used as propaganda to generate public support for going to war. Chomsky further touches on how the modern public relations industry has been influenced by Walter Lippmann’s theory of "spectator democracy," in which the public is seen as a "bewildered herd" that needs to be directed, not empowered; and how the public relations industry in the United States focuses on "controlling the public mind," and not on informing it. Media Control is an invaluable primer on the secret workings of disinformation in democratic societies.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
116 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to thinking about media bias. 15 Aug. 2005
Chomsky's famous books "Necessary Illusions" and "Manufacturing Consent" (co-written with Edward S. Herman) stand as excellent assessments of the propaganda inherent in the current media system. The thing is with those books is that they are quite detailed, and for someone seeking a nice route into thinking about the issue of propaganda, government spin, and how the media are complicit in it, Chomsky's "Media Control: Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda" is a much better choice. It is good because it introduces some basics. For example, how did the modern PR (public relations) industry start? Who gave rise to the way propaganda is used in modern society? So, all this is good entry-level stuff. The book itself is short and could be read in about an hour to two hours (depending on how quick you read). A couple of things to note is that Chomsky likes certain themes to illustrate his points (I guess the ones that he's done most research on in his time), such as what happened in Nicaragua, for instance. You'll find some of that in this book, so if you've read it elsewhere, you may get a little frustrated that he's using the same examples. If you don't know anything about propaganda or Nicaragua, you're looking at the right book. I'm not saying Nicaragua is where the propaganda happens. The propaganda is in OUR culture, but Nicaragua is relevant for other reasons - and its a nice way to learn some history you may not know. So a lot is squeezed into this little book, and moreover it's written in a much simpler style than most of what Chomsky puts out. The one drawback I think the book suffers from is that it isn't referenced as well as all his other work. I think this is because the majority of the material comes from speeches he's made and it's difficult to reference them in retrospect. Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Harry
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recommend this book to people who think that their liberal democratic society is perfect. According to Friedrich and Brzezinski, one of six defining characteristics, regarded by Mussolini and Hitler as the important, in the totalitarian regime, is control of popular opinion through the media. This book exposes that, whether or not their mechanisms are known to us, we can deduce that there are controls on what the media says, and the media has a shared agenda with the state. This is one of the most perilous and enslaving aspects of Totalitarianism.

Liberal Democracies have cynically compensated for their lack of a single party state and brainwashing by making far heavier emphasis than is made by totalitarian states, on propaganda and the misdirection of public opinion, constantly deceiving them until the oligarchy wins out. They have become experts in manufacturing consent before they ask for it. The EU is also based on this. If they cannot get popular support in favour of a treaty or law to be applied to the European peoples, they will invest millions in massive propaganda campaigns to turn popular opinion in favour - at least for a short while - so that they can "persuade" us by bombarding the weak-minded herd with a torrent of lies and vacuous promises. This cynical application of democracy is proof that Liberal Democracies are neither liberal nor democratic. Men like Chomsky are helping us to unmask Liberal Democracy as a total scam, a failure, another kind of oligarchy of the capitalist class. Liberal Democracy is nothing but a totalitarian regime making greater use of hypnosis rather than bullets - but its goal and its priority is exactly the same as a fascist regime.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chomsky at his most accessible 8 May 2004
Chomsky comes up with another classic this one probably his very best, accessible open and less of the references than he normally provides.
The basic premise is that the media creates the agenda, drives it along creating moral panics causing crisis which governments react to so fueling the media to create more moral panics. Anyone familar with Stanley Cohen's seminal work on Moral Panics will know what Chomsky's writing on American media and White House reaction about will come as no surprise.
To others Chomsky says that the media creates panics and crisis to fulfil its own agenda and its own politcal masters to panic the general public into pressing its Governments to fight the enemy or create an enemy. Has anyone forgotten the media fuelled Paedophilla panic back in 2000 ?
So Mr Chomsky's onto something isn't he then?
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chomsky for Virgins 18 Jun. 2003
This was the first Noam Chomsky I'd ever read and apart from Stupid White Men by Micheal Moore it was the first political book I'd read and I think it is an excellent book if your just starting to look at politics. It is very informative and it MAKES SENSE, after reading this book when you look at the world you see it more clearly. The essay about the war on terror at the end is essential reading and is easy to read. 5 thumbs up.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be required reading 23 Feb. 2003
By E Parry
If you are already well-versed in the likes of Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and so on, then perhaps this book isn't for you. However, I found it to be a great starting point on reading up on politics and what is really going on in the world today. Though it sounds like some sort of conspiricist ranting; the media is really a tool that keeps the truth from the citizens in order to keep them subdued and unaware of the governments real plans, Noam Chomsky describes the history of how this state of affairs came about and shows just how much sense it makes. He also, like any author should, acknowledges his sources, allowing the reader to confirm these things for themself.
I have always been sceptical about the news, but after reading this I know not to trust it. The sad thing is that some people still think the ideas in this book are far-fetched, and even more sadly in the current times, people still believe what they are made to believe by the media (not just the news; popular entertainment, soaps, magazines): that they are helpless and shouldn't bother trying to make a difference. Nevertheless, I think everyone should read this book and be given some idea what is really going on, whether they decide to do something about it or not.
Chomsky as a writer does have a tendency to recite facts and statistics at the reader quite a lot more than perhaps is necessary. Inparticular, he often reduces his writing to merely listing American atrocities. Now, we in the western world more than anyone should be made aware of these, but he does often seem to be getting off the point, especially in a book about media control. In contrast, he can also present rather simplified ideas. However, I think this is just because this is a short book meant as a kind of pamphlet, and the ideas can be confirmed with research. I haven't read any of Chomsky's larger books, but I will be seeking them out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great thanks.
Published 2 months ago by Stuart Shand
5.0 out of 5 stars Noam explains how democracy works
Noam tells it the way it is no nonsense. A real eye opener on democracy for those of us with a new interest in politics
Published 4 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars CHOMSKY
Published 6 months ago by
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice one
The book look small but contains a lot of relevant information. Nice one Chomsky
Published 6 months ago by peter
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good stuff
Published 7 months ago by BadgerMan
1.0 out of 5 stars What a let down: A condesending rant, poorly researched, somehow...
Do not waste your money, top three reasons why this book is awful say it all:
1. It's a rant. Nothing more. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Charlotte
1.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER BOOK i HAVE NOT ORDERED
Published 10 months ago by cindy d'lequez-sage
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight
For anyone who has doubts about our present political system & the collusion between it & the media. Read more
Published 11 months ago by billsads
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is an excellent read! It highlights very well how the media are used to manufacture consent for any given action.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars So true!
As expected, logical argument, well written.
One star less because it covers exclusively the influencing of public opinion on supporting a certain foreign policy. Read more
Published 15 months ago by And a half
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