“Manufacturing Consent” 25 Years Later

“Manufacturing Consent” 25 Years Later


PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. Twenty-five years ago, a book titledManufacturing
Consent
, written by Noam Chomsky and his coauthor Edward S. Herman, the book broke
new ground in analyzing the media and what they called the propaganda model. Now joining us to talk about the significance
of the book then and now is Edward S. Herman. Edward is an economist, a media analyst, a
prolific author. For many years he was a professor at the Wharton School at Penn. Among his many
books areManufacturing Consent, alsoCorporate Control, Corporate Power,
The Politics of Genocide. Thanks very much for joining us, Edward. EDWARD S. HERMAN: Good to be with you, Paul. JAY: Why do you think the book made such a
splash? And I wonder if you expected it when you wrote it. It wasódid you think it was
more an academic piece? Because it became essentially a very popular book. It inspired
a documentary film. And it’s one of the landmark books of the last 25 years. HERMAN: It didn’t make a big mark in the mainstream
media. It did make a mark on the left. But even there there was quite a bit of debate,
because the idea of a structural model that shows that the media do what they do because
of deep structural factors and the idea that it wasn’t going to be easy to change ran counter
to what a lot of leftists or liberals thought. They thought that you could reform the media
rather easily by rather modest legislation that would make for a fairness rule. But the
propaganda modelóManufacturing Consentargues that there are deep-seated factors
at work here, and these aren’t going to be changed by simple liberal reforms. JAY: And talk a bit about what you consider
those deep-seated factors. And to what extent do they still exist? Or have they changed? HERMAN: The propaganda model is a structural
model. Its features areóit features ownership, who owns the media, the fact that it is based
on advertising as the main funding source. The main sources for the media are powerful
people in the United StatesóPentagon officials and corporate officials and so on. Another
factor in the model is the extent to which negative feedback, flak, comes also from powerful
people. And then another element in the model is that there’s a basic ideology in the United
Statesóanticommunism, the belief in the free marketóand these are accepted by the mainstream
media people. So we have this set of factors that make up
the propaganda model, and they are powerful factors. They still are relevant today. Some people think that the new media, which
has somewhat displaced the old media, is going to make for change. But the interesting fact
is that the old media did a lot of journalism. It wasn’t good journalism, but the old mediaónewspapers,
magazines especiallyóhad investigative journalists. And with the rise of the new media, the new
media’s absorbing a lot of the advertising, so the old media, the newspapers are well
known to be in a crisis. They’re losing ads and they’re cutting back journalistic staff
on a huge scale, and the new media’s not picking up the slack. But I thought and a lot of people thought
that the new media meant they were going to have to do more democratic media. But media
concentration has grown in the new media. And a lot of new media is what is called social
media. It involves a lot of personal connections and ego-building, and it doesn’t do investigative
journalism. Google, Facebook, these outfits are not veryóthey don’t do investigative
journalism to any significant degree. They gather stuff from others and they sell it,
and they want to sell it to advertising. So in the new media, you’ve had a competition
for advertising with the old media, and the new media spent an awful lot of time figuring
out how to place ads. JAY: If you go back to the mainstream newsroomsóand
I’ve been inóyou know, I’ve worked in them and around them for many years, and one of
the things that always hit me, especially in American newsrooms, is that there seems
to be a fundamental belief amongst the journalists themselves that American foreign policy always
had at its root a good intent. It was for some kind of democratization, it was against
some form of tyranny, and that all the sort of terrible things that happened along the
way were, like, mistakes at the level of some individuals made policy mistakes, or one particular
administration, maybe the Bush administration, did some awful things, but essentially from
Truman on there’s good intent. And to what extent do you think that’s linked to the sort
of structural factors you’re talking about? HERMAN: I think it’s very deeply connected,
because those structural factors mean that on, say, sourcing, on where you get your news,
you go to the officials, you go to the State Department, you go to the Pentagon to find
out the truth. And the owners are conservative folks. They’re very rich folks. And the flak,
the flak, the negative feedback comes mainly from officials, Pentagon officials and powerful
right-wing sources, and the underlying ideology which arises from the power structureócommunism
is really bad, free markets are really good; we’re supporting those things, those are our
objectives, and therefore we’re good. Actually, I think it goes back a long way,
Paul. But I think that the idea of we were good and superior, you go back and read Teddy
Roosevelt and his views, we’re the natural superior. This has been an ingrainedópretty
much ingrained, but it’s part of ideology, and the whole power structure reflects it.
And as we become an empire, well, of course we must be trying to do good. The media are
simplyóthey’re part of the political economy. They’re reflecting what the deeper forces,
the transnational corporations, the government officials, what they want. JAY: And you see a situation where even to
this day Dick Cheney can go on television shows and be interviewed and say, oh, all
the intelligence agencies thought there were weapons of mass destruction, as if it wasn’t
a deliberate deception. And we know so much now, both the Downing Street Memoóthe British
intelligence in fact didn’t think there were weapons of mass destruction, and, in fact,
even the American intelligence agencies didn’t think [incompr.] they’re essentially bullied
into it. But the media still allows him to say these things, and not just him. And then
with President Obama, you know, after critiquing the war because it was a stupid war, there’s
no accountability in the media towards President Obama, how he didn’t call Cheney, Bush into
account for an illegal war and kind of adopted it as his own and carried on the same policy
now. And the media justóyou know, Gore Vidal had this line about U.S.A. being the United
States of Amnesia. The media so plays along with that, although individual journalists
you talk to, they certainly know better. HERMAN: A lot of the individual journalists
do know better, but the ones that really rise to the top are the ones that will read or
accept the dominant view. So you’re quite right. They actually have been amazing. You
know. In spite of the new media and this supposed
development of the democratic order, when Bush wanted to go to war in 2003, he could
lie, and the lies would not be contested. I mean,The TimesandThe Post
both sort of apologized for not having been more critical, but there were lots of people,
Paul, who had an alternative view, and it was extremely easy to show that the Bush claims
of weapons of mass destruction probably held by Iraq were invalid. But the people who could
say that were kept away. JAY: So in terms of developing the new mediaóand
I guess we’re part of that at The Real Newsóthere is an opening here that didn’t exist before.
I mean, the internet does make possible The Real News and other independent news outlets
who are saying these sorts of things that won’t get said on mainstream television. But
I think what you’re sayingóand I think it’s true it’s still a very small segment of the
population that we get access to. But, I mean, the challenge, I think, for us is that we’reóyou
know, have to accept this world isn’t going to change, like, mainstream news isn’t going
to change, and it is up to us to figure out how to get to large numbers of people. HERMAN: Absolutely so. But I think you’re
doing an important job, because the mainstream media does not allow alternative viewpoints.
It’s true that we need more investigative journalism, and The Real News Network probably,
if it had more money, would do so. But the next best thing is to get on the program people
who maybe have done investigative work, or at least have a viewpoint that can’t get in
The New York Times. That’s where Real News Network can be very constructive and
is very constructive. JAY: Yeah, I agree with that. In fact, we’re
just discussing now with creating a sort of little conglomerate of independent news outlets,
where we’re all going to collaborate and try to raise some money to create an investigative
fund for doing just what you’re talking about. HERMAN: Good. That will be wonderful. JAY: So just final thoughts 25 years
after the book. Any other reflection you have? HERMAN: Well, I think things don’t look good,
Paul, because we’re in a war system and have war mixed with patriotism. The government
is very powerful and aggressive. Concentration in the media keeps increasing. The internet
has proved to be a disappointment, but it still has some potential. But I think still, Paul, what we really need:
a rise of democracy. I mean, we need a democratic order. The sad fact, the tragic fact is that we’ve
gotóhad more inequality, and that has affected the political system. So we have moved to
the right. And the right-wingers don’t want a more democratic media. They don’t even want
a fairness doctrine, let alone a system that I think would be good of actually subsidizing
an independent media. That would be a terrific thing, but I’m afraid it’s still in the distance. Underlying it all we need a more democratic
order, where the public’s interests can actually feed into the political process. The trouble
is that there’s an interaction: if you have a lot of media, they won’t allow more democratization.
And without more democratization, it’s hard to get a better media. But we have to still
keep fighting for that end. JAY: Alright. Thanks very much for joining
us, Edward. HERMAN: Thank you, Paul. JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

68 Replies to ““Manufacturing Consent” 25 Years Later”

  1. He needs a bigger office. Bookshelves are more orderly, but they leave more unused space than using stacks does.

  2. Social media sources, bloggers ~ they're not primarily investigative journalists. Trouble being, there are so few investigative journalists employed by newspapers and the TV media that its led to a corrosion of our free press. Both newspapers and TV media are competing for advertising revenue, so they're relying more on puff pieces and celebrity nonsense, which are cheaper to put out there, but not particularly informative or newsworthy. I don't know what the solution to this might be …

  3. If you are an intellectual & scholar of Herman or Chomsky's, etc., magnitude, there are going to be books piled up and stacks of papers everywhere! Lay off!

  4. There IS a lot of investigative journalism going on with the smaller bloggers and new news agencies. It's not to the scope of journalism in the old heyday, but it is growing, and the resources for gathering are vastly more powerful than they were 50 years ago. Film footage alone is virtually everywhere. And available to literally everyone.

  5. As for the money issue, people ignore malfeasant journalism eventually. Why are all you ppl here after all? Same thing has happened in south american countries. Media will say something, but no one believes them anymore.

    What keeps those places going are direct or indirect loans from those who control the currency, (they can freely pick the "winners" and losers") and from the laws setup by the governing body that helps stamp out any valid competition.

    Again see South America or dictatorships

  6. Another harsh reality is that as both computing and the internet become more Corporatized (i.e. corporate ads on YouTube, Face Book, Twitter, and the prevalence of tablet computing requiring data storage on virtual devices or "the cloud") the internet becomes more vulnerable to the controls of the propaganda model. It is well on its way toward being so.

  7. "Operation Mockingbird" was created by the cia in the 1940s to gain control of domestic & foreign newspapers and even movie studios.

  8. the real vulnerability is gullibility. With each such corporate centralizer there's always more blogs, peer to peer file sharing & emails that reveal the man behind the curtain, an option we never had in the 1970's and 1980's tv-only media-empire zombie-makers' machinery.
    Twitter, as it happens, forces nothing on us (yet) while letting us share a lot. I HAVE been threatened with shutdown for "offending" replies, however, which is WRONG. News SHOULD offend you if it's TRUTHFUL.

  9. The flak, the flak, the negative feedback: poetry in motion, like a Democratic ocean, the tides of which no one decides.

  10. Sadly our subsidized media, NPR, PBS — have turned into commercialized dogcrap corporatist elite outlets.

    Things need to get worse before they get better.

  11. everyone should be checking out:
    nakedcapitalism
    economist's view
    paul krugman
    federal reserve monetary policy releases
    soberlook
    mainlymacro
    impossible trinity
    The Great Depression Mises Daily:
    AND the real news

  12. A great example of manufacture consent was all those people in Watertown, MA allowing searches in their homes by cops/fbi where they had no warrant to do so. MSM never states this, on the contrary they make it seem like it is acceptable for them to do so. Avoid mainstream media like a bad infection, it spews nothing but state-sponsored propaganda.

  13. "Moron" is a big word for you? Don't worry: you'll hear the word plenty, and will sooner or later get a handle on it.

  14. Why bother reading Mises/Rand and other anti-socials? I suppose it is good if you want an escape from reality, a good laugh 'til you cry, or if you want to see why Greenspan's libertarian ideas have been a colossal failure. Or if you want your consent manufactured to help ultra-greedy billionaires take our money without a fight.

  15. huh? I meant to advocate for one to google the second last bullet pt since I couldnt post a website. it gives a good account of the macro conditions in Depression era so as to benchmark.

  16. Greenspan was to libertarians as Bush was to promoting peace.

    Honestly if you think Greenspan was libertarian you have no clue what libertarians are.

  17. Not clear on your point but if current trends persist, the internet will be a dramatically different over the coming years and I don't mean more free and more accessible. Corporate interests are vying for control. The most powerful players (i.e. Google) have already shown they will to impose whatever controls their biggest clients (i.e.China) want. Facebook and Twitter also have control over your content. It depends on how threatened the government feels about what's happening in hyperspace.

  18. Depends on if you are thinking people who vote for libertarians or people who sponsor libertarians, Most Ron Paul voters are as naive as progressives or social-democrats who voted for Obama, Its the difference between propaganda for the rabble and motives of super-rich to want a "libertarian" world, two very different things.

  19. While I'm not as cynical as you are, if you are inferring that people who pick/choose/believe in something will not nessecerily choose someone who actually stands for what they want, I agree that can and does happen often.

  20. Fucking commie wants a "fairness doctrine" so that the left can manufacture consent, and "democracy" so that the mindless masses that are so easily controlled by the left can be directed to what the left desires, by this control. Oldest game in the pinko book.

  21. The U.S. is a Fascist oligarchy. 80+% of the "news" media is corporate-owned, and the media is just the propaganda organ of the plutocrats. The classic definition of fascism is a merging of corporations and the state. Read "Legacy of Ashes…", the history of the CIA, and James Bamford's "The Shadow Factory," an inside look at the NSA, if you have any doubts that we are also a police state.

  22. Too bad your post was ridden with fallacious critiquing, presumptions, and even an attack which Gandhi would be caught dead supporting.

  23. Don't you love when these mediocre moronic conspiranoids use that phrase?!!!! So, what you are trying to say, smartie, is that every single piece of BS that makes us -rational people- laugh today…… WILL BE CONSIDERED TRUE IN THE FUTURE? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Nice logic, moronic idiot!! I didn't know you have that privilege!!!! "Cause i'm an idiot and you're laughing at me…..I'M RIGHT!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA What a fucking idiot!!!

  24. Quote from Benito Mussolini: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." When you get an education, fell free to comment again.

  25. So….. you don't know anything about fascism, right? You ignore the fact that every single country on Earth is a merger of state and corporate power. So your definition is idiotic cause doesn't define ANYTHING. Mediocres like you try to sound smart with buzzwords they ignore. You remind me of the latinamerican mediocre historians who insist in the idea that colonial society was just another case of feudalism. When you get an education, fell free to comment again, fake leftie.

  26. Get a life you ignorant You Tube Troll. What Mussolini meant was that fascism exists when corporations CONTROL the government, which is obviously the case in the U.S., especially since the SCOTUS "Citizen's United" decision. Wall St. and the oil companies OWN congress. You can't point to a single other OECD country, almost all of which have social democratic governments (with the exception of Mexico), in which corporations CONTROL the government.

  27. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA "What Mussolini meant was that fascism exists when corporations CONTROL the government" So…. Mussolini said his movement was controlled by corporatons? He meant that….In spite that fascism was rethorically anticapitalist? HAHAHAHAHA Thanks idiot!!! Another ignorant fake leftist unmasked!!! I've heard this BS for years!!!! Why don't you read ONE BOOK -JUST ONE BOOK!!!- ABOUT FASCIM? Come on, boy!! When you get an education, fell free to comment again, fake leftie.

  28. Learn to spell , you ignorant fucktard. Within reach, as I waste my time responding to your drivel, are the following books: "The Doctrine of Fascism" by Mussolini, "The Anatomy of Fascism" by Paxton, "A History of Fascism 1914-45" by Payne, and "The Puzzle of Fascism: Could Fascism Arise in America or Could it Already be a Fascist State?" by E. Williams. Since you are a YT Troll, watch "The Corporation," by Joel Bakan, and "Obey", a film based on Chris Hedges' "Death and the Liberal Class"

  29. This is nonsense associationism. Chomsky also quotes Marx and Lenin in his works, but this doesn't make him either a Marxist or Leninist either.

  30. So….. you don't know what fascism is…. RIGHT? HAHAHAHAHAHA More interestingly… You didn't read Paxton's nor Payne's works, right? I know, girl: north american unprepared leftists try to understand their political system in a lazy way: "I don't like the american system…then…. IT'S FASCISM!" When you get an education, fell free to comment again, fake leftie.

  31. You need to calm down. Fascism is an extension of capitalism because it seeks to use state power to prevent socialists from overturning existing social hierarchies, i.e. employers over employees, men over women etc.

    "Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism."

  32. Well… I COMPLETELY agree with you!: fascism is the most aggressive form of capitalism. BUT if you defend the ignorant, lazy and fake-left idea that the USA is a fascist country we have a problem. Come on, man: there was even a discussion among marxists about simplistic and reductionist notions of fascism!! Fascism is also a complex political system. Paradox: neoliberals say that F. was JUST a form of socialism….THE SAME ECONOMIC REDUCTIONISM!!! Gramsci? Poulatzas? No? Ok!

  33. I don't believe you know what "allusion" or "disciple" means, but Krugman was a young teenager in the 60s when Chomsky was first gaining a reputation as a dissident. I have read most of Chomsky's books – what allusions are you referring to?? Chomsky is an anarcho-socialist who identifies with the libertarian left – Krugman self-identifies as a liberal and is only somewhat left-of-centre in the North American context. He is a neoliberal whore, Chomsky is not.

  34. You're conspiranoid moron: the kind of idiot who continually embarrasses the real left with his BS. Why don't you try with videos about illuminatis or Alex Jones's crapola?

  35. Chomsky =/= the academic left. Chomsky has decried the same things you have and certainly doesn't shape the news. He is celebrated on the left and is the most cited, most important intellectual alive in America, but for the most part the mainstream news won't touch him.

    I googled "chomsky" "krugman" and "luminary" and found nothing, but in any case, quoting out of context is poor form. As I said, I've read most of the books and don't really know what you're talking about.

    I call trolling.

  36. Edward S. Herman. The idiot who said there was no Srebrenica massacre!! His crapolistic analysis on genocides include a bullshitty one about Rwuanda!! He's SOO -fakely- ANTIMPERIALISTIC that he's ready to support every single genocide committed by an enemy of the US! That's his criteria when evaluating massacres!! Speaking about media and propaganda! Another fake leftie!!! I'm waiting for his defense of Assad's crimes! Come on, fake leftie, say thet "Syria is just western propaganda!!!"

  37. Media does support a large propaganda function but it needs to be handled in a sensitive way so that it doesn't negatively effect people in our society

  38. http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/this-painting-captures-a-disturbing-truth-about-the-history-of-our-education-system/

  39. This is a very informative theorethical essay but in reality Money talk 🙁 that's history that's life and nothing will ever change

  40. Watching all the traditional media outlets release this bogus story about Clinton clinching the party nomination on the night before a pivotal primary election just reinforces the fact that these media propaganda machinery are still very much in place.

    Clearly, we've learned little as a society.

  41. My mother : You're so lucky to be in the USA . She was a government employee her entire life. On lunch break 6 hours out of a 8 work day.
    I remember her brother telling me that Social Security was free. He had a 8 hour per day paid for by the private sector worker lunch break. And then went into a federal retirement that was at this point almost as long as be was employed, and still going!

  42. How can a subsidised media be independent? If you force people to pay for it, against their will? Why can't people just support outlets they find credible? I don't understand this special pleading.

  43. This IS the change – the NEW counter culture!!

    Power To the Peoples' Web – Above Which NO ONE Stands!!

  44. It turned my world upside down for about a month. How could I have been fooled for so long when the truth was right in front of me. Capitalist Propaganda works.
    Mr. Phillips
    St. Catharines, Ontario
    Canada

  45. Today's so called "left" rally behind the mainstream media because orange cheeto man Hitler says bad things about them. Ridiculous.

  46. Thank you, Paul Jay. Your work at the Real News was consistently among the most important contributions to expanding and deepening our political awareness of anything on the Internet. You and Sharmini are sorely missed.

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