Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Herman and Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Herman and Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent"

In Chomsky and Herman's "Manufacturing Consent" they started off by stating the reason why propaganda is needed by writing,

"The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propanda." (Chomsky and Herman,1)

I agree with this statement 110%. Americans are constantly engulfed in the lives of the rich and famous (elite), and issues regarding customs or beliefs that all Americans feel the same about. Being that most Americans are passive consumers it is very easy for the media to feed us with new customs and beliefs to follow. In feeding us these new customs they use propaganda. Its funny because many people look at propaganda as a negative thing, but then they pull out their eco bag or Obama pin which the media, through propaganda, told them was cool or "the right thing."

I guess what I'm saying is this. Lets take the whole green movement that's going on now for example. Eight or Nine years ago when Al Gore was trying to inform everybody about the horrors of pollution not that many cared. But a get a few hybrid car commercials, some Oprah Winfrey episodes on the issue, newly shaped "plastic" water bottles and everybody goes Eco crazy. Yet not noticing that through the "evil adds" of propaganda it helped change their minds and create awareness on the issue.

What I really got from Chomsky and Herman's piece is that an issue isn't an issue until the elite say its an issue. Being that everything that goes in our papers, or on our news stations, or radio news stations there is a big rich guy with a cigar agreeing or not agreeing with whether it will go on the show that he owns, or paper that he owns. That makes me understand how the common person can begin to feel like they don't have a say, and their opinion doesn't matter. But the more aware I become of the issues with objectivity and the elite owning the media, the more I realize that it will be a cold day in hell before anything changes. Chomsky and Herman stated the reasons: gov't controls everything, the media is too cheap to go against their sources, and the media is scared of flak from the powerful people who are doing most of the corruption anyway. So I say just wisen up. Know what your reading might not be the truth, and make decisions for yourself, not because the media persuaded you into it......and realize that propaganda isn't bad, it can just be turned that way.



Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post and discussion of the material.

Don't go overboard on the ability of the government to directly control the content of the American media. The authors have a much more sophisticated argument here. How do the filters they lay out limit the content of the news media without actual goverment control over the newsroom?

2/10/2009 12:21 AM  

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