The renowned political dissident Noam Chomksy teams up with critical economist Edward Herman. The titular moniker is derived from Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion (1922) borrowing familiar meaning in context. Manufacturing consent is a widening of Herman’s Propaganda Model a political economic term that explains how explicit propaganda and systemic functions in corporate mass media influence public opinion. This book expounds the model by incorporating market forces, deliberate government cencorship, and internalized biases contra informed news. This conformed model allows sustained, successful coverage of network rather than honest public news service.
This concerted effort by Herman and Chomsky is parsimonously directed at government outlets. Authors set a five filter framework on how the propaganda model of communication works listed below:
1.) Size, ownership, and profit orientation – This is the dominant interest inflicting mass-media outlets. The business industry of mass-media corporations are profit oriented institutions. The financial interest is product of the expansive size of a media company which requires sustainable investment capital to comply propaganda operations in behalf of government agencies.
2.) The advertising license to do business- Since most of these media insitutions required massive investment capital the majority of it gross revenue is generated from advertising, not from actual sales or audience subscriptions, which other private organizations effectively bestowing licensing power to these media outlet profiteers. Without viable financial and commercial support from advertising agents there is little chance for media success.
3.) Sourcing mass media news-There is large bureaucratic privilege and special access, treatment to subsidize new sources for media corportations. This has become a norm between the public and private sector agreement for maintaining strategic partnership.
4.) Flak and the enforcers- “Flak” is the negative feedback or public backlash to media statements or programs. Boycotting or formal legal complaints can be effects of losing advertising power, private investment capital, and support to the cost of legal defense for public image against controversies and scandals. Political issues are also negatively perceived feedback can harm corporate reputation.
5.) Anti-communism/war on terror- Elucidating propaganda to win the hearts and minds of the people directly translate into profit for giant media moguls. Concentrating antagonistic ideology to perceive sensible national security issue is much easier than “painting” or “imagining” common enemies to will the support of mass audience.
These five filters enable governments and their private media corporations to command and control national perception and public opinion. A critical take from neo-marxist lenses can help us guide our skepticism towards transparent news information. This book is treat to read for those interested in political economy and sociology lessons.
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