Manufacturing Consent Book Report

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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The thesis of Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman is the United States mass media supports government and elitist agendas as opposed to providing objective, meaningful news. Manufacturing Consent is written with the assumption that the American government and it's foreign policy serve the interests of elite groups within the U.S. not general population. In order to support their thesis Chomsky and Herman construct a "propaganda model"� and then it to the media's coverage of; victims of state murder, Central American elections, the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II and the Indochina wars.

The Propaganda Model: A propaganda model refers to a series of filters, which are imposed on "news"� items before they can be aired or published. The purpose of a propaganda model is to ensure that news which is critical to government and elite agendas does not reach the public. The filters are: the concentration of media ownership, advertising as the media's primary source of income, reliance on the government for information, "flak"� and anticommunism as a national doctrine.

Chomsky and Herman contend that if the propaganda model is valid coverage in the media will reflect the government views and any debate or dissent will remain within the guidelines that constitute the elite consensus.

Worthy and Unworthy victims According to the propaganda model, political murders committed in states, which are unfriendly to the U.S., will receive more coverage than the same acts committed in states, which are allied with the U.S. To prove their thesis Chomsky and Herman contrasted the coverage given to the murder of Jerzy Popieluszko by Polish state police with a series of murders committed against rights workers (some of whom were American citizens), in El Salvador and Guatemala. In addition to examining the number of articles allotted each murder,

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