Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Manufacturing Consent 30 Years On - A Thread for Chomsky  (Read 242 times)

Lurk

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 505
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 22
  • Likes Given: 0
Manufacturing Consent 30 Years On - A Thread for Chomsky
« on: January 28, 2019, 12:52:57 PM »
Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent revisited | The Listening Post

I was surprised to see this. What's Al Jazeera doing digging into Noam Chomsky classic work?

Then I realized it was the 30th Anniversary of the publication of his ground breaking work in 1988
"Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent

Al Jazeera English Published on 22 Dec 2018

There is an exquisite and oft-quoted moment in an interview between BBC journalist Andrew Marr and Noam Chomsky in which Marr asks: "How can you know that I'm self-censoring?".

"I'm not saying you're self censoring. I'm sure you believe everything you're saying. But what I'm saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting."

Wry as ever, Chomsky exposed the slightly delusional pretensions of the journalistic establishment - and not far behind, the complicities of the media industry with political power.

Harsh? Perhaps. True? All too often.

For many of us who work at The Listening Post, Chomsky's ideas on the media in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media have provided us with a guide, full of cautionary tales and ideas that are still controversial to this day.

The book was published in 1988 - a year before the end of the Cold War when it was announced that western liberal democracy had triumphed, heralding the end of ideology, authoritarianism, and propaganda.

In the past 30 years, we have seen the mass communications industry multiply, providing an illusion of choice, echoing the rhetorics of freedom - of press, of expression - but not necessarily yielding the pluralism liberal democracies had promised.

In that way, the book continues to resonate.

But like all revered texts, Manufacturing Consent also calls upon us as active readers, journalists, citizens to interrogate its premises. Does the book's denunciatory tone risk overstate the power of the media establishment? Does it underestimate the critical faculties of the public? Is the media so homogenous an entity that power can be wielded top-down? Where are the lapses, the blind spots? Where do journalists find pockets of power that serve to disrupt?

We spoke to three journalists who have their careers being disruptive and asked them about the ideas that had influenced them in Chomsky and Herman's book: Matt Taibbi, whose reporting for Rolling Stone has provided one of the most critical accounts of US political history in recent years; Indian editor-in-chief Aman Sethi who questions the premises of Chomsky's book and Amira Hass, the Haaretz correspondent for the Occupied Territories.

The first thing we asked Hass was what she thought about Chomsky's statement: "the general population doesn't know what's happening, and it doesn't even know that it doesn't know".

"This is a very humanist and optimistic statement," she responded. "The belief that when people are informed they may act, things may change. In Hebrew, the words knowledge and awareness are all made of the same root. Yedda and Mudaoot. And so awareness is connected to Mudaoot in Hebrew. And this is how I started working in Gaza, aware that the Israeli public knows nothing about the occupation and what it means. But the people do not pick up this information. They have access to it but they choose not to access it."

Hass has been covering Palestine for the best part of 30 years - in that time, sources of information have multiplied, but public outrage?

"Today we have so much access to information in other ways that we are on a collision with the fact that people are not interested in what does not serve immediately their interest," she said, with resignation, "and this is a very sad realisation."

Aman Sethi put it like this:

"It's easy to say that people believe what they believe because their consent has been manufactured. But what if people know exactly what's going on and still believe what they believe, right? Then that's terrifying."

Solving Climate Change means changing 'The System' because nothing changes when nothing changes.
Each one of us must consider our deepest values, proceed to act from this standpoint alone, ignoring other voices of illusion, false hope, and distraction that might threaten to throw us off course.

Lurk

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 505
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 22
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Manufacturing Consent 30 Years On - A Thread for Chomsky
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2019, 12:55:12 PM »
(Still) Manufacturing Consent

An interview with Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi on Noam Chomsky's classic book Manufacturing Consent and how commercial imperatives still squelch an adversarial press.

When it came out in 1988, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s Manufacturing Consent rattled the accepted view in post-Vietnam, post-Watergate America that journalists’ relationship to power was essentially adversarial. Instead, they argued, the institutional structure of American media — its dependence on corporate advertising and sources in the upper ranks of government and business — created a role for the press as creators of propaganda. Without any direct press censorship, with full freedom of speech, the media narrowed the political debate to exclude anything that offended the interests of the market or the state.

Thirty years after the publication of Manufacturing Consent, the journalist Matt Taibbi has made it his mission to provide an update of Chomsky and Herman’s critique for the twenty-first century. A columnist for Rolling Stone who has written at length about the 2008 financial crisis and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Taibbi’s new book, The Fairway, is appearing in serial form on the newsletter site Substack.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/10/matt-taibbi-interview-fairway-manufacturing-consent

Extract:

Quote
Why do we need to revisit Manufacturing Consent in 2018?

MT
My point is that it’s not the same critique today. There’s a lot that’s been unexplored that a lot of the people in the business haven’t thought about.

What Chomsky and Herman were talking about thirty years ago was the use of commercial media to organize the whole population behind the foreign policy objectives of the United States.

What’s going on right now is far more sophisticated, far more intrusive, far more implicated in the daily life of every person. The media has become significantly more commercialized since then, and has developed the technique of targeting information to specific demographics, constantly feeding people content an algorithm has determined they will agree with.

The result of that is we’re selling a lot of intramural conflict, the idea that some other group you don’t like is up to no good. In other words, other Americans suck.

People are really addicted to that kind of conflict, and that’s had a really nefarious effect not just on politics, but on reporting techniques. We’ve gravitated towards a reporting that reinforces the worldview of our audiences.

That’s not political journalism — that’s commercial journalism. And the algorithms of Google and Facebook make it an addictive form of information as well. A lot of reporters simply aren’t aware that this is what they’re creating.
Solving Climate Change means changing 'The System' because nothing changes when nothing changes.
Each one of us must consider our deepest values, proceed to act from this standpoint alone, ignoring other voices of illusion, false hope, and distraction that might threaten to throw us off course.

Lurk

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 505
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 22
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Manufacturing Consent 30 Years On - A Thread for Chomsky
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2019, 07:08:02 AM »
Chris Hedges digs into "The Lobby" doco that's been buried from view. I think it fits thread best though it may fit in "Empire - America and the future" because I cannot see this lasting forever once some serious "systemic changes" start coming through globally once people say enough is enough - no more! Really interesting intro that cover the situation that Qatar has found itself in and why the doco was pulled and why many other things went down at the same time.

Max Blumenthal @ 10:59
 "I mean what we're looking at in this
film and what it reveals is a foreign
government running a malign campaign
against American citizens who are
particularly progressive in order to
prevent them from carrying out legal
political activities in the United
States."




« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 10:21:24 AM by Lurk »
Solving Climate Change means changing 'The System' because nothing changes when nothing changes.
Each one of us must consider our deepest values, proceed to act from this standpoint alone, ignoring other voices of illusion, false hope, and distraction that might threaten to throw us off course.