The Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky Noam Chomsky born on the 7th of December 1928 in the midst of the American “The Great Depression” singlehandedly is known to have transformed the face of linguistics. His most noted contribution to generative grammar is the book “Syntactic Structures” elaborating on things like “the initial state of the language learner” etc.
Born in a Jewish family, his father was a translator of the Hebrew text, this in a way invoked the love of language in his and he spent most of his childhood consumed in reading literature translated from languages like French. When he was just a child the anti-Semitism movement by the Nazis seems to have affected his family. He then dropped out of college and a very promising future to pursue a career as a social activist and a cerebral. He is also a popular critique of power politics and a well-known propagandist.
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His most famous work as a propagandist is the “Manufacturing Consent” which basically breaks down the propaganda model which states that the power to manufacture which is in the hands of few in society, the burgoise or the manufacturing class which consists of 10-20% of the population, tell the general decision making public which consists on 70- 80% of the population what to do in a very subtle understated way. They are basically telling the middle averagely educated class of people what decisions to make which will in turn favor them, the industries and the policies that they will reap profits from.
The audiences are propagandized by manipulating information. The propaganda model views the private media as businesses interested in a sale of a product to other businesses such as advertisers rather than that of quality news to the public. The theory states that there are 5 classes of filters that determine the kind of news presented in the news media. The 5 filters basically are the ownership of the media; the medium’s funding sources, sourcing, flak and anti-communist ideologies. Under ownership information is constrained by co operate ownership in mass media.
Chomsky states examples of worker friendly newspapers in post-war (WW2) Britain such as the Daily Herald, the News Chronicle, and the Daily Mirror published articles questioning the capitalist system. These radical papers were not constrained by co operate ownership therefore where free to criticize the capitalist system in other words, news that would jeopardize the conglomerate owned medias financial interests will be fundamentally biased. The next filter of the propaganda model is funding generated through advertising.
To prevent being victims of predatory pricing and lack of price competitiveness, it is necessary under present market conditions that all media co operations constantly maintain a high level of revenue through advertising. This basically means the audience a media source caters to affects the advertisers decision on whether or not they want to invest in the media firm or reach out to a certain class of people which directly affects the media industry’s revenue hence the information the media portrays to its audience always has a ulterior motive to make a class of people “buy” certain things.
Media houses have concentrated information gaining agencies across a determined area where they acquire news from their sources which is to be convulsed into the audience. As the sources of media that need to fill their space thrive on such information, they considerate it to be a win-win situation for both sides, but if this continues where is the room for fresh news? As the sources of news are redundant.
The forth filter is Flak is a counter mechanism to what the general public think or assume to favor the business barons to keep their interest with the public in check. For example the major oil companies of the world would not want to much information on global warming to be circulated because if the public realize that oil is a limited resource they would come up with alternative resources which will lead to the decline of profits of the oil companies, hence they give out a lot of “flak” to keep this in check.
Another example to this is when the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter came up with an ethics committee that banned his competitor Mohammed Bin Hamam for the presidential seat, whereas they branded Blatter as non guilty when both candidates where investigated on charges of corruption. The fifth and the last filter is anti-communism. In the communist ideology the government controls everything. It believes in ultimate equality among people, there are no classes of society and everyone receives an equal amount. It is exactly the opposite of capitalism.
Fear is a great driving source for society. Fear can manipulate people to take extreme actions and believe anything. Governments have used fear to protect their own interests. A capitalist country like America participates in the war against terrorism to reap benefits such as oil from a particular nation to gain profits and remain a super power in our present monetary system. As examples Chomsky refers to the portrayal of enemy countries sinister, he has studied coverage the situation in East Timor and compared it to the coverage of the invasion of Cambodia by the U. S. Mr.
Chomsky also has a problem with how media portrays war. He fundamentally talks about how the major Medias are controlled by an upper hand such as the Government who decide what is being prearranged for the audiences to view and understand. The economic system holds back an individual from evolving spiritually. The modern industrial civilization leads to increase of individual material gain. The economic system should also be run democratically. To aid this he says giving importance to the alternate media like the radio and the non-corporate news and giving the press more freedom could help.