Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media  
Manugactorinconsent2.jpg
Author(s) Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Politics
Publisher Pantheon Books
Publication date 1988
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
ISBN 0-3757-1449-9
OCLC Number 47971712
Dewey Decimal 381/.4530223 21
LC Classification P96.E25 H47 2002
Preceded by The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians
Followed by Necessary Illusions

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, is an analysis of the news media as business. The title derives from the phrase “the manufacture of consent” that essayist–editor Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) employed in the book Public Opinion (1922).

Contents

The propaganda model

Using the propaganda model, Manufacturing Consent posits that corporate - owned news mass communication media — print, radio, television — are businesses subject to commercial competition for advertising revenue and profit. As such, their distortion (editorial bias) of news reportage — i.e. what types of news, which items, and how they are reported — is a consequence of the profit motive that requires establishing a stable, profitable business; therefore, news businesses favoring profit over the public interest succeed, while those favoring reportorial accuracy over profits fail, and are relegated to the margins of their markets (low sales and ratings).

Government and news media

Editorial distortion is aggravated by the news media’s dependence upon private and governmental news sources. If a given newspaper, television station, magazine, etc., incurs governmental disfavor, it is subtly excluded from access to information. Consequently, it loses readers or viewers, and ultimately, advertisers. To minimize such financial danger, news media businesses editorially distort their reporting to favor government and corporate policies in order to stay in business.

Editorial bias: five filters

Herman and Chomsky's "propaganda model" describes five editorially-distorting filters applied to news reporting in mass media:

  1. Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation: The dominant mass-media outlets are large firms which are run for profit. Therefore they must cater to the financial interest of their owners - often corporations or particular controlling investors. The size of the firms is a necessary consequence of the capital requirements for the technology to reach a mass audience.
  2. The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a "de-facto licensing authority".[1] Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers. News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers. This has weakened the working-class press, for example, and also helps explain the attrition in the number of newspapers.
  3. Sourcing Mass Media News: Herman and Chomsky argue that “the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access [to the news], by their contribution to reducing the media’s costs of acquiring [...] and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become 'routine' news sources and have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers.”[2]
  4. Flak and the Enforcers: "Flak" refers to negative responses to a media statement or program (e.g. letters, complaints, lawsuits, or legislative actions). Flak can be expensive to the media, either due to loss of advertising revenue, or due to the costs of legal defense or defense of the media outlet's public image. Flak can be organized by powerful, private influence groups (e.g. think tanks). The prospect of eliciting flak can be a deterrent to the reporting of certain kinds of facts or opinions.[2]
  5. Anti-Communism: This was included as a filter in the original 1988 edition of the book, but Chomsky argues that since the end of the Cold War (1945–91), anticommunism was replaced by the "War on Terror", as the major social control mechanism.[3][4]

Recent developments

  • In 2006, the Turkish government prosecuted Fatih Tas, owner of the Aram editorial house, two editors and the translator of the revised (2001) edition of Manufacturing Consent for "stirring hatred among the public" (per Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code) and for "denigrating the national identity" of Turkey (per Article 301), because that edition’s introduction addresses the Turkish news media’s reportage of governmental suppression of the Kurdish populace in the 1990s; they were acquitted.[5][6]
  • In 2007, at the 20 Years of Propaganda?: Critical Discussions & Evidence on the Ongoing Relevance of the Herman & Chomsky Propaganda Model (15–17 May 2007) conference at the University of Windsor, Canada, Herman and Chomsky summarized developments to the propaganda model, followed by the publication of the proceedings of a commemoration of the twentieth publication anniversary of Manufacturing Consent in 2008.
  • In 2008, Chomsky replied to questions concerning the ways internet blogs and self-generated news reportage conform to and differ from the propaganda model.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ James Curran and Jean Seaton, Power without responsibility : the press and broadcasting in Britain (First edition 1981, with many subsequent editions).
  2. ^ a b Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent.
  3. ^ Noam Chomsky, Media Control, the Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (1997).
  4. ^ Noam Chomsky (2002). "The Journalist from Mars". Third World Traveler. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/Journalist_Mars.html. Retrieved 2009-11-08. , pp. 69–100
  5. ^ Butler, Daren (2006-07-04). "Turkish publisher faces prosecution over Chomsky book". Reuters. http://www.kurdishaspect.com/doc75101.html. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  6. ^ "Turks acquitted over Chomsky book". London: BBC News. 2006-12-20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/europe/6198021.stm. Retrieved 2006-12-20. 
  7. ^ "Authors@Google: Noam Chomsky". 2008-05-02. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnLWSC5p1XE#t=27m38s. 
  1. ^ Butler, Daren (2006-07-04). "Turkish publisher faces prosecution over Chomsky book". Reuters. http://www.kurdishaspect.com/doc75101.html. Retrieved on 2006-07-12.
  2. ^ "Turks acquitted over Chomsky book". BBC News. 2006-12-20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/Europe/6198021.stm. Retrieved on 2006-12-20.
  3. ^ Chomsky, Noam 2002 "Media Control, The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda", Seven Stories Press ISBN 1-58322-536-6

External links


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