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Rajiv
10-29-07, 10:16 PM
The classic Canadian documentary Manufacturing Consent based on the Noam Chomsky/Edward Herman book by the same name. Explores the the propaganda model of the media.

2 hours 47 min




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From Manufacturing Consent (http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/Manufac_Consent_Prop_Model.html) by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky



The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.

In countries where the levers of power are in the hands of a state bureaucracy, the monopolistic control over the media, often supplemented by official censorship, makes it clear that the media serve the ends of a dominant elite. It is much more difficult to see a propaganda system at work where the media are private and formal censorship is absent. This is especially true where the media actively compete, periodically attack and expose corporate and governmental malfeasance, and aggressively portray themselves as spokesmen for free speech and the general community interest. What is not evident (and remains undiscussed in the media) is the limited nature of such critiques, as well as the huge inequality in command of resources, and its effect both on access to a private media system and on its behavior and performance.

A propaganda model focuses on this inequality of wealth and power and its multilevel effects on mass-media interests and choices. It traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public. The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news "filters," fall under the following headings: (I) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (~) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and "experts" funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) "flak" as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) "anticommunism" as a national religion and control mechanism. These elements interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print. They fix the premises of discourse and interpretation, and the definition of what is newsworthy in the first place, and they explain the basis and operations of what amount to propaganda campaigns.

The elite domination of the media and marginalization of dissidents that results from the operation of these filters occurs so naturally that media news people, frequently operating with complete integrity and goodwill, are able to convince themselves that they choose and interpret the news "objectively" and on the basis of professional news values. Within the limits of the filter constraints they often are objective; the constraints are so powerful, and are built into the system in such a fundamental way, that alternative bases of news choices are hardly imaginable. In assessing the newsworthiness of the U.S. government's urgent claims of a shipment of MIGs to Nicaragua on November 5, I984, the media do not stop to ponder the bias that is inherent in the priority assigned to government-supplied raw material, or the possibility that the government might be manipulating the news, imposing its own agenda, and deliberately diverting attention from other material. It requires a macro, alongside a micro- (story-by-story), view of media operations, to see the pattern of manipulation and systematic bias.

Rajiv
10-30-07, 10:01 AM
Also relevant is this article by Justin Raimundo -

The War in the Media (http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=11814)
The Iraq war and dueling narratives


Newsmen risk their careers if they go up against the official narrative and fail to "balance" their reporting of Iraqi realities with the administration's make-believe "good news," as Chris Matthews revealed at the tenth anniversary party for "Hardball," where he told the assembled guests that White House officials and he singled out some in Dick Cheney's office had attempted to "silence" him by pressuring MSNBC executives. In an interview with TV Guide, Matthews elaborated, averring that there was a "concerted effort" to choke off discussion on his show about the key role played by the Cheneyites in hyping the alleged nuclear threat posed by Iraq: "It came," charged Matthews, "in the form of three different people calling trying to quiet me."

There is, by Matthews's account, a concerted effort to exclude alternative voices, especially when it comes to the war issue: "There's a lot going on among our producers, our young bookers, now that I never noticed before. There is an almost menacing call that you get whenever someone hears something they don't like their people call up and threaten, or challenge, and get very nasty. That's now become the norm."