Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media is a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) and Noam Chomsky, in which the authors propose that the mass communication media of the U.S. "are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion", by means of the propaganda model of communication.[1] The title derives from the phrase "the manufacture of consent," employed in the book Public Opinion (1922), by Walter Lippmann (1889–1974).[2]

The book was revised 20 years after its first publication to take account of developments such as the fall of the Soviet Union. There has been debate about how the Internet has changed the public’s access to information since 1988.

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
Cover of the first edition
CountryUnited States
SubjectMedia of the United States
PublisherPantheon Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
381/.4530223 21
LC ClassP96.E25 H47 2002
Preceded byThe Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians 
Followed byNecessary Illusions 

Origins of the book

Chomsky credits the origin of the book to the impetus of Alex Carey, the Australian social psychologist, to whom he and co-author E. S. Herman dedicated the book.[3]

Propaganda model of communication

Five filters of editorial bias

The propaganda model for the manufacture of public consent describes five editorially distorting filters, which are applied to the reporting of news in mass communications media:

  1. Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation: The dominant mass-media outlets are large companies operated for profit, and therefore they must cater to the financial interests of the owners, who are usually corporations and controlling investors. The size of a media company is a consequence of the investment capital required for the mass-communications technology required to reach a mass audience of viewers, listeners, and readers.
  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".[4] 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.” 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 disfavor from the sources, 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.[5]
  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.[5]
  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.[6]


According to Chomsky, "most of the book" was Herman's work.[7] Herman describes a rough division of labor in preparing the book whereby he was responsible for the preface and chapters 1-4 while Chomsky was responsible for chapters 5-7.[8] According to Herman, the propaganda model described in the book was originally his idea, tracing it back to his 1981 book Corporate Control, Corporate Power.[9] The main elements of the propaganda model (though not so called at the time) were discussed briefly in volume 1 chapter 2 of Herman and Chomksy's 1979 book The Political Economy of Human Rights, where they argued, "Especially where the issues involve substantial U.S. economic and political interests and relationships with friendly or hostile states, the mass media usually function much in the manner of state propaganda agencies."[10]

Further developments

  • In 1993, the documentary film Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992), directed by Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, partly based upon the book, presents the propaganda model and its arguments, and a biography of Chomsky.
  • 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.[11][12]
  • 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, Ontario, Herman and Chomsky summarized developments to the propaganda model on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of publication of Manufacturing Consent.[13]
  • In 2008, Chomsky replied to questions concerning the ways Internet blogs and self-generated news reportage conform to and differ from the propaganda model. He also explained how access to information is not enough, because a framework of understanding is required.[14]

Film adaptation

Four years after publication, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media was adapted to the cinema as Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992), a documentary presentation of the propaganda-model of communication, the politics of the mass-communications business, and a biography of Chomsky.

See also


  1. ^ Herman, Edward S.; Chomsky, Noam. Manufacturing Consent. New York: Pantheon Books. p. 306.
  2. ^ p. xi, Manufacturing Consent. Also, p. 13, Noam Chomsky, Letters from Lexington: Reflections on Propaganda, Paradigm Publishers 2004.
  3. ^ Noam Chomsky, Class Warfare, Pluto Press 1996, p. 29: "Ed Herman and I dedicated our book, Manufacturing Consent, to him. He had just died. It was not intended as just a symbolic gesture. He got both of us started in a lot of this work."
  4. ^ James Curran and Jean Seaton, Power Without Responsibility : the press and broadcasting in Britain (First edition 1981, with many subsequent editions).
  5. ^ a b Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent.
  6. ^ Noam Chomsky, Media Control, the Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (1997).
  7. ^ p. 8, Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1995.
  8. ^ p. 204, Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar.
  9. ^ p. 205, Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar.
  10. ^ p. 75, Herman and Chomsky 1979, The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume I: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, Cambridge: South End Press.
  11. ^ Butler, Daren (2006-07-04). "Turkish publisher faces prosecution over Chomsky book". Reuters. Retrieved 2006-07-12.
  12. ^ "Turks acquitted over Chomsky book". London: BBC News. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  13. ^ Paul D. Boin (2007) Herman & Chomsky Media Conference notice from University of Windsor
  14. ^ "Authors@Google: Noam Chomsky". 2008-05-02.

External links

1992 Toronto International Film Festival

The 17th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between September 10 and September 19, 1992. Léolo was selected as the opening film.Quentin Tarantino's debut film Reservoir Dogs premiered at the festival and won FIPRESCI International Critics' Award.

2010 Jordanian general election

Early general elections were held in Jordan on 9 November 2010 following the dissolution of the previous parliament by King Abdullah II in November 2009; the elections having not been due until November 2011. A majority of the seats were won by pro-government or tribal candidates who were seen as likely to support the government's agenda. Seventeen candidates were from opposition parties, excluding the Islamic Action Front. Seventy-eight MPs were first time parliamentarians. Voter turnout was 53%.

Antidote Films (Australia)

Antidote Films is a Brisbane-based independent film distributor (formerly known as Gil Scrine Films) specialising in arthouse films and social documentaries. Established in 1973 as a vehicle for distributing the documentaries of Gil Scrine, today the company is the Australian distributor for award winning films from all over the world.

Blood of Brothers

Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua is a 1991 book by Stephen Kinzer, an American author and New York Times foreign correspondent who reported from Nicaragua during the Sandinista-Contras civil war period of the 1980s.

Kinzer's coverage of the conflict in Nicaragua was criticized by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

Edward S. Herman

Edward Samuel Herman (April 7, 1925 – November 11, 2017) was an American economist, media scholar and social critic. Often associated with Noam Chomsky, Herman is best known for his media criticism, in particular his propaganda model developed in conjunction with Chomsky. He held an appointment as Professor Emeritus of finance at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania and a media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy. He also taught at Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ideologically, Herman has been described as a "dedicated radical democrat", an ideology which opposes corporate control in favor of direct democracy while distancing itself from other radical movements.

Manufacturing Consent (disambiguation)

Manufacturing Consent may refer to:

A phrase ("the manufacture of consent") coined by Walter Lippmann in his 1922 book Public Opinion

Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism, a 1979 book by Michael Burawoy

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, a 1992 documentary film based on the book by Herman and Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent (film)

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media is a 1992 documentary film that explores the political life and ideas of linguist, intellectual, and political activist Noam Chomsky. Canadian filmmakers Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick expand the analysis of political economy and mass media presented in Manufacturing Consent, a 1988 book Chomsky coauthored with Edward S. Herman.

Manufacturing Dissent

Manufacturing Dissent: Uncovering Michael Moore is a 2007 documentary film. It asserts that filmmaker Michael Moore has used misleading tactics, primarily using on-camera statements by interviewees with personal grievances against Moore as proof. The documentary attempts to expose what the creators say are Moore's misleading tactics and mimics Moore's style of small documentary makers seeking and badgering their target for an interview to receive answers to their charges. The film was made over the course of two years by Canadians Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine after they viewed Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore's controversial film that attacked the Bush administration and its policies. Melnyk and Caine have stated that when they first sought to make a film about Moore, they held great admiration for what he had done for the documentary genre and set out to make a biography of him. During the course of their research, they became disenchanted with Moore's tactics. The title is a parody of the book Manufacturing Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, and the film it inspired. In June 2007, Liberation Entertainment Inc. signed an exclusive deal with the filmmakers for all video and theatrical rights in the US & UK.

Mark Achbar

Mark Achbar (born in Ottawa in 1955)

is a Canadian filmmaker, best known for directing The Corporation and Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media.

Michael Burawoy

Michael Burawoy (born 15 June 1947) is a British sociologist working within Marxist social theory, best known as author of Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism—a study on work and organizations that has been translated into a number of languages, and the leading proponent of public sociology. Burawoy was also president of the American Sociological Association in 2004 and is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2006–2010, he was vice-president for the Committee of National Associations of the International Sociological Association (ISA). In the XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology he was elected President of the International Sociological Association (ISA) for the period 2010–2014.

New Democracy

New Democracy or the New Democratic Revolution is a concept based on Mao Zedong's "Bloc of Four Social Classes" theory in post-revolutionary China which argued originally that democracy in China would take a decisively distinct path to that in any other country. He also said every third world country would have its own unique path to Democracy, given that particular country's own social and materialist conditions. Mao labeled representative democracy in the Western nations as "Old Democracy," characterizing parliamentarianism as just an instrument to promote the dictatorship of the bourgeoise/land owning class through manufacturing consent. He also found his concept of New Democracy in contrast with the Soviet-style Dictatorship of the Proletariat which he figured would soon take over most of the world. Mao spoke about how he wanted to create a New China, a country freed from the feudal and semi-feudal aspects of its old culture as well as Japanese Imperialism. Thus he wanted to create a new culture through Cultural Revolution, a new Economy free from the land owners, and in order to protect these new institutions, a New Democracy of the four revolutionary classes; Peasants, Proletariat, Intelligentsia, and Petit Bourgeoise. He said in the Third World, only these four classes can lead a thorough enough United Front against the Imperialists, as the National Bourgeoise of China must take Counter-revolutionary measures to protect its own feudal practices of slavery through land rent, violently shutting down any anti-imperialist revolutionary movement that threatened the interests of the land owners.

Regarding the political structure of New Democracy, Mao said this in the following in Section V of his piece called "On New Democracy" written in January of 1940:"China may now adopt a system of people's congresses, from the national people's congress down to the provincial, county, district and township people's congresses, with all levels electing their respective governmental bodies. But if there is to be a proper representation for each revolutionary class according to its status in the state, a proper expression of the people's will, a proper direction for revolutionary struggles and a proper manifestation of the spirit of New Democracy, then a system of really universal and equal suffrage, irrespective of sex, creed, property or education, must be introduced. Such is the system of democratic centralism. Only a government based on democratic centralism can fully express the will of all the revolutionary people and fight the enemies of the revolution most effectively. There must be a spirit of refusal to be "privately owned by the few" in the government and the army; without a genuinely democratic system this cannot be attained and the system of government and the state system will be out of harmony."As time passed, the New Democracy concept was adapted to other countries and regions with similar justifications.

Occupy (book)

Occupy is a short study of the Occupy movement written by the American academic and political activist Noam Chomsky. Initially published in the United States by the Zuccotti Park Press as the first title in their Occupied Media Pamphlet Series in 2012, it was subsequently republished in the United Kingdom by Penguin Books later that year.

An academic linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky first achieved fame for his work as a political activist during the 1960s and 1970s. A libertarian socialist, Chomsky was a prominent critic of capitalism, the role of western media and the foreign policy of the U.S. government, dealing with such issues in bestsellers like Manufacturing Consent (1988), Hegemony or Survival (2003) and Failed States (2006). With the birth of the Occupy Movement – devoted to socio-political change – in 2011, Chomsky became a vocal supporter for the protesters, writing articles and giving speeches on their behalf, several of which were collected together and published as Occupy.

The book opens with an introductory editor's note by Greg Ruggiero, praising the Occupy movement and its potential for the greater democratization of society. This is followed by the text to Chomsky's Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture, which he gave at Occupy Boston in Massachusetts. The third part of the book comprises Chomsky's interview with the New York University student Edward Radzivilovskiy, while the fourth contains the text of the InterOccupy conference call with Chomsky by Mikal Kamil and Ian Escuela. Part five offers an interview with Chomsky undertaken at the University of Maryland, while the book is rounded off by Chomsky's tribute to the late activist Howard Zinn and the National Lawyers Guild's legal advice to Occupy protesters.

Throughout the book, Chomsky discusses what the Occupy movement is and what it is demanding, as well as advocating ways in which it could gain greater support and achieve governmental reforms, using historical examples as evidence. Press reviews were largely positive, with some noting that Chomsky had taken a more moderate, reformist position than they expected of him.

Power Without Responsibility

Power Without Responsibility (subtitled: The Press and Broadcasting in Britain or Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain) is a book written by James Curran (Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths College) and Jean Seaton (Professor of Media History at the University of Westminster). Originally published in 1981 by Fontana, it has been translated into several languages and is now in its seventh edition. The title comes from a quote by former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. It details the history of the news media in the UK from the eighteenth century to the present. It has been cited by Noam Chomsky in the introduction to Manufacturing Consent and by him in a televised BBC interview with Andrew Marr. Nick Cohen rated it "the best guide to the British media" in a review for the New Statesman.

Propaganda model

The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky to explain how propaganda and systemic biases function in corporate mass media. The model seeks to explain how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social, and political policies is "manufactured" in the public mind due to this propaganda. The theory posits that the way in which corporate media is structured (e.g. through advertising, concentration of media ownership, government sourcing) creates an inherent conflict of interest that acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.

First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the propaganda model views private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product—readers and audiences—to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public. Describing the media's "societal purpose", Chomsky writes, "... the study of institutions and how they function must be scrupulously ignored, apart from fringe elements or a relatively obscure scholarly literature". The theory postulates five general classes of "filters" that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are: Ownership of the medium, Medium's funding sources, Sourcing, Flak, and Anti-communism or "fear ideology".

The first three are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important. In versions published after the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, Chomsky and Herman updated the fifth prong to instead refer to the "War on Terror" and "counter-terrorism", although they state that it operates in much the same manner.

Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles that the model postulates as the cause of media biases.


Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own discourse. This is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority. Self-censorship is often practiced by film producers, film directors, publishers, news anchors, journalists, musicians, and other kinds of authors including individuals who use social media.

In authoritarian countries, creators of artworks may remove material that their government might find controversial for fear of sanction by their governments. In pluralistic capitalist countries, repressive judicial lawmaking can also cause widespread "rivercrabbing" of Western media.Self-censorship can also occur in order to conform to the expectations of the market. For example, the editor of a periodical may consciously or unconsciously avoid topics that will anger advertisers, customers, or the owners in order to protect her or his livelihood either directly (i.e., fear of losing his job) or indirectly (e.g., a belief that a book will be more profitable if it does not contain offensive material). This phenomenon is referred to as soft censorship.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of speech from all forms of censorship. Article 19 explicitly states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Social engineering

Social engineering may refer to:

Social engineering (political science), means of influencing particular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale

Social engineering (security), obtaining confidential information by manipulating and/or deceiving people

Social software

Social technology

Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer (born August 4, 1951) is an American author, journalist and academic. He was a New York Times correspondent, has published several books, and currently writes for several newspapers and news agencies.

Stroszek (band)

Stroszek were a post-punk/new wave/electronic band from Aberdeen, Scotland, (latterly based in Glasgow). They comprised Richey James Roberto (voice, synth), Leslie Wilcox (guitar, synth, flute, programming), and Douglas Danielio (bass, synth, violin).

They released three EPs and a live single; Demo EP (2005), Demonstration EP (2007, self-produced), Manufacturing Consent EP (2008, Fire Exit Records), and Live in Stereo (2008, Threads of Sound). Artrocker described the band as "having fused the power of [The Clash and Joy Division] into an ambitious, inspiring art and aesthetic". The Skinny commented on the band's "mid-80s" sound on their Manufacturing Consent EP. SIC Magazine commented "no disrespect to the Manics but I think there is more to Stroszek than mere sloganeering"."Doug Daniel’s 'wrought iron’ basslines must be the safest place in the world for a sensitive soul to hide while Les Willox’s minimalist guitar licks are borderline erotic. Stroszek repeatedly remind us of the difference between good lyrics and obvious lyrics."

The band split up in 2014.


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