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Noam Chomsky’s backpocket classic on wartime propaganda and opinion control begins by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. According to Chomsky, "propaganda is to democracy as the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state," and the mass media is the primary vehicle for deliveri Noam Chomsky’s backpocket classic on wartime propaganda and opinion control begins by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. According to Chomsky, "propaganda is to democracy as the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state," and the mass media is the primary vehicle for delivering propaganda in the United States. From an examination of how Woodrow Wilson’s Creel Commission "succeeded, within six months, in turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war-mongering population," to Bush Sr.'s war on Iraq, Chomsky examines how the mass media and public relations industries have been used as propaganda to generate public support for going to war. Chomsky further touches on how the modern public relations industry has been influenced by Walter Lippmann’s theory of "spectator democracy," in which the public is seen as a "bewildered herd" that needs to be directed, not empowered; and how the public relations industry in the United States focuses on "controlling the public mind," and not on informing it. Media Control is an invaluable primer on the secret workings of disinformation in democratic societies. From the Audiobook Download edition.


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Noam Chomsky’s backpocket classic on wartime propaganda and opinion control begins by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. According to Chomsky, "propaganda is to democracy as the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state," and the mass media is the primary vehicle for deliveri Noam Chomsky’s backpocket classic on wartime propaganda and opinion control begins by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. According to Chomsky, "propaganda is to democracy as the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state," and the mass media is the primary vehicle for delivering propaganda in the United States. From an examination of how Woodrow Wilson’s Creel Commission "succeeded, within six months, in turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war-mongering population," to Bush Sr.'s war on Iraq, Chomsky examines how the mass media and public relations industries have been used as propaganda to generate public support for going to war. Chomsky further touches on how the modern public relations industry has been influenced by Walter Lippmann’s theory of "spectator democracy," in which the public is seen as a "bewildered herd" that needs to be directed, not empowered; and how the public relations industry in the United States focuses on "controlling the public mind," and not on informing it. Media Control is an invaluable primer on the secret workings of disinformation in democratic societies. From the Audiobook Download edition.

30 review for Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    I'm familiar with Noam Chomsky's ideas, from references and such, but I hadn't actually read any of his books. Not knowing where to start, I chose this one purely for convenience. Even though the writing could be better - there were lots of repetitions and the writing in general didn't feel properly edited - there's no denying that the ideas he presents are powerful. And very, very important. And yes, I know that a lot of people accuse him of being a conspiracy theorist. Nowadays, anyone who even I'm familiar with Noam Chomsky's ideas, from references and such, but I hadn't actually read any of his books. Not knowing where to start, I chose this one purely for convenience. Even though the writing could be better - there were lots of repetitions and the writing in general didn't feel properly edited - there's no denying that the ideas he presents are powerful. And very, very important. And yes, I know that a lot of people accuse him of being a conspiracy theorist. Nowadays, anyone who event attempts to see the big picture, make connections and draw conclusions is promptly dismissed as a conspiracy theorist, just like anyone who criticizes the banking system is a communist, and anyone who criticizes politicians is an anarchist (/end sarcasm). The real danger lies in not caring or thinking about anything other that what you're supposed to, or being told to think. Then you become easier to control. And make no mistake, we are all being controlled in one way or another. The first part of this book was written in 1991. The second part is a talk given in 2002. It's sad, though unsurprising, to see that nothing has changed in 30 years.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    Disinformation and confusion generated at ever higher levels. And that is the description of the condition more than 20 years ago. Please note that I have put the original German text to the end of this review. Just if you might be interested. An even better understanding and overview of the overall situation can be seen in combination with his second work "Manufacturing Consent." Long after its first publication, the work has lost none of its topicality. Each society returns to already reached poi Disinformation and confusion generated at ever higher levels. And that is the description of the condition more than 20 years ago. Please note that I have put the original German text to the end of this review. Just if you might be interested. An even better understanding and overview of the overall situation can be seen in combination with his second work "Manufacturing Consent." Long after its first publication, the work has lost none of its topicality. Each society returns to already reached points in eternal cycles, where writings like these serve as a memorial not to forget critical thinking. Chomsky provides a brief overview of Woodrow Wilson's Creel Commission, Public Relation, the Iraq War, Walter Lippman's spectator democracy and the general state of the media landscape. Due to the lack of investigation and research on the subject, it is impossible to gauge the extent of propaganda in times of digitization. Neither universities nor NGOs are able to deal with the whole extent of the problem, because unfortunately they are often too deeply involved in the dissonant connections and contradictions. Respectively dependent on these or so blind that they do not see the overall picture as experts for just individual aspects. It is almost impossible to explain to people after decades of consumption that they have been manipulated. They often have a significant influence on elections and economic and political power because of their prosperity. It would be a sacrilege, heresy and blasphemy only to suggest, that their thought patterns could have been wrong all her life. That their scriptures and commandments, in the form of newspapers, magazines and news programs, are lies and deceit. Even young people who have just been hooked on already associate the ideology that has been instilled with themselves and make them a part of their ego, their identity, their personality. Then they immediately grasp any gentle criticism of it as if it was insulting and attacking them as human beings. An ingeniously diabolical concept of programming people to pervert their trust and their good faith in such a way. The reporting itself is full of empty phrases and emotions, focused only on the characters and the simplest level of action, never describing deeper or higher levels. Always staying at the level of the human aspect and one-dimensional viewing. A life of responsible and mature media consumption does not extend the spectrum of thoughts of consumers, but restricts it and steers it in the desired paths. Those newsflashes are self-potentiating feedback loops that only reinforce the fundamental mentality. Once conditioned, it is reinforced with each consumption. To read the newspaper, to consume the daily newscast, to integrate one's social network in the study of these subjects. Out of this arises the opinion that has been inoculated, which is reinforced with every letter and every word. And never is it objective, scientifically clean reporting, but black rhetoric. No informational value, but the selection of the facts according to which of it serves the representation of the opinion that should be strengthened. When they consume media, people are entirely passive. Democratically unemancipated, subliminal messages are incorporated which, at a deeper level, bring about transformations. Thus, the supposedly only daily and focused reporting about an event has the long-term benefit, that specific correlation are always seen in a just one particular context. People become unable to understand complex connections. They unlearn to selectively seek objective data, compare and form their own opinion. If they even know channels in which unfiltered messages are not branded. They only react more and no longer act independently. Like conditioned, vegetative reflexes of the reptilian brainstem which had never had higher brain functions. Desinformation und Verwirrung, erzeugt auf immer höherem Niveau. Und das ist die Zustandsbeschreibung von vor über 20 Jahren. Ein noch besseres Verständnis sowie Überblick über die Gesamtsituation erschließt sich in Kombination mit seinem zweiten Werk "Manufacturing Consent". Lange nach seiner Erstveröffentlichung hat das Werk noch nichts von seiner Aktualität eingebüßt. Jede Gesellschaft kommt in ewigen Kreisläufen wieder an bereits erreichte Punkte, an denen Schriften wie diese als Mahnmal dienen, kritisches Denken nicht zu vergessen. Chomsky liefert einen kurzen Überblick über Woodrow Wilsons´s Creel Commission, Public Relation, den Irakkrieg, Walter Lippmans specatator democracy und dem generellen Zustand der Medienlandschaft. Es ist aufgrund der mangelnden Recherche und Forschung zu dem Thema unmöglich, das Ausmaß der Propaganda in Zeiten von Digitalisierung nur im Ansatz zu ermessen. Weder Universitäten noch NGOs können sich mit dem ganzen Ausmaß der Problematik befassen, weil sie selbst leider häufig zu tief in die dissonanten Zusammenhänge und Widersprüche verstrickt sind. Beziehungsweise von diesen abhängig oder so betriebsblind, dass sie als Experten für einzelne Aspekte das Gesamtbild nicht sehen. Es ist beinahe unmöglich, Menschen nach Jahrzehnten des Konsums erklären zu wollen, dass sie manipuliert wurden. Sie haben auf Wahlen großen Einfluss und wegen ihres Wohlstands auch ökonomische und politische Macht. Es wäre ein Sakrileg, Häresie und Gotteslästerung nur anzudeuten, ihre Denkmuster wären ihr ganzes Leben lang falsch gewesen. Ihre heiligen Schriften und Gebote, in Form von Zeitungen, Magazinen und Nachrichtensendungen sind Lug und Trug. Wenn selbst junge, gerade erst frisch angefixte Menschen bereits die ihnen eingeträufelte Ideologie mit sich selbst assoziieren und zu einem Teil ihres Egos, ihrer Identität, ihrer Persönlichkeit machen. Dann fassen sie jede sanfte Kritik daran unmittelbar als Beleidigung und Angriff auf sie als Mensch auf. Ein genial diabolisches Konzept, die Menschen so zu programmieren, ihr Vertrauen und ihr Gutglauben derartig zu pervertieren. Die Berichterstattung selbst ist voll von leeren Phrasen und Emotionen, nur auf die Charaktere und simpelste Handlungsebene fokussiert, nie tiefere oder höhere Ebenen beschreibend. Immer auf der Stufe des menschlichen Aspektes und eindimensionaler Betrachtung bleibend. Ein Leben mündigen Medienkonsums erweitert das Spektrum der Konsumenten nicht, sondern schränkt es ein und lenkt es in die gewünschten Bahnen. Es sind sich selbst potenzierende Rückkopplungsschleifen, die nur die Grundmentalität verstärken. Ist die Konditionierung erfolgt, wird sie mit jedem Konsum verstärkt. Die Zeitung zu lesen, die Nachrichtensendung täglich zu konsumieren, das eigene soziale Netz in die Beschäftigung mit diesen Thematiken zu integrieren. Daraus erwächst die Meinung, die eingeimpft wurde, die mit jedem Buchstaben und jedem Wort verstärkt wird. Und nie ist es objektive, wissenschaftlich saubere Berichterstattung, sondern schwarze Rhetorik. Kein Informationswert, sondern Selektion der Fakten danach, welche am ehesten der Repräsentation der zu bestärkenden Meinung dienen. Wenn sie Medien konsumieren, sind Menschen gänzlich passiv. Demokratisch unemanzipiert werden unterbewusste Botschaften mit eingebaut, die als tiefere Ebene Transformationen bewirken. So hat die vermeintlich nur tagesaktuelle und auf ein Ereignis fokussierte Berichterstattung den Langzeitnutzen, gewisse Zusammenhänge immer in einem bestimmten Kontext darzustellen. Die Menschen werden unfähig zum Verstehen komplexer Zusammenhänge. Sie verlernen selbst selektiv objektive Daten zu suchen, zu vergleichen und eine eigene Meinung zu bilden. Sofern sie überhaupt Kanäle kennen, in denen ungefilterte Nachrichten nicht gebrandmarkt werden. Sie reagieren nur mehr und agieren nicht mehr selbstständig. Wie konditionierte, vegetative Reflexe des Reptilienstammhirns als hätte es nie höhere Hirnfunktionen gegeben.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natali

    Reading this book is like listening to a diatribe from your favorite professor. You think he is probably right in his conviction that the media is controlling public opinion of the "bewildered herd," but he doesn't present much empirical research. Must be nice to have tenure. This is an important book for anyone studying media theory but I don't think the theories hold quite as much water in the digital age. (Post)modern media is more fragmented and thus public opinion is not as easily controlle Reading this book is like listening to a diatribe from your favorite professor. You think he is probably right in his conviction that the media is controlling public opinion of the "bewildered herd," but he doesn't present much empirical research. Must be nice to have tenure. This is an important book for anyone studying media theory but I don't think the theories hold quite as much water in the digital age. (Post)modern media is more fragmented and thus public opinion is not as easily controlled by major networks and newspapers. Although his points about propaganda are still salient. When we see vague slogans such as "Support our troops," it is important to question the campaign, not the notion. Of course we support the troops. But does that necessarily mean we support the war/surge/endeavor? Idioms like that back us into a corner for ideologies that we many not abide. It is always the right thing to question the message. I'm just not sure we have to do it quite as belligerently as Noam Chomsky.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    Read: July 2017 Shorter, and more readable than the last Chomsky book I read, I found Media Control thoroughly chilling. He calls the majority of the population (of America, though it can apply anywhere else as well) 'the bewildered herd' - the majority of which are by nature peaceful, and happy to not go to war with other countries. The media's job therefore, is to stir up patriotism with vague slogans like 'support our troops' which of course no one will be against, and to highlight atrocities Read: July 2017 Shorter, and more readable than the last Chomsky book I read, I found Media Control thoroughly chilling. He calls the majority of the population (of America, though it can apply anywhere else as well) 'the bewildered herd' - the majority of which are by nature peaceful, and happy to not go to war with other countries. The media's job therefore, is to stir up patriotism with vague slogans like 'support our troops' which of course no one will be against, and to highlight atrocities committed by the enemy whilst suppressing any narratives which don't fit the public image of the government: evidence of the use of torture and indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas in the countries America and their allies go to war in. Media Control is the sort of book that on the one hand I'm glad I read, because I do want to be informed, but on the other hand contains information that I wish I didn't know; because it is scary how easy it is to manipulate an entire population through the use of the media, and in such a way that we don't even realise it is happening until someone like Chomsky comes along and points it out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mario García

    While this text has been oxymoronically presented as "an excellent place to start with the anarchist left agenda" and somewhat entertaining as you will find in some balanced comments, one cannot leave this reading without even grasping the importance of Chomsky's overview: It is a must read for those who want to analyze the undermining of History itself by those in power. Those in power, "They", as marginalized people bash while massively filling ballots, are the "intelligent few" in the words Ed While this text has been oxymoronically presented as "an excellent place to start with the anarchist left agenda" and somewhat entertaining as you will find in some balanced comments, one cannot leave this reading without even grasping the importance of Chomsky's overview: It is a must read for those who want to analyze the undermining of History itself by those in power. Those in power, "They", as marginalized people bash while massively filling ballots, are the "intelligent few" in the words Edward L. Bernays (see. 1920, Propaganda) and Walter Lippmann used to call "responsible men" -in danger if proper measures are not taken against the "bewildered herd". Some people say the best stories often come from inconvenient and uncomfortable places. This is undoubtedly an inconvenient reading which will lead you to uncomfortable places. For the good reader, all information is properly and scholarly referenced. Yet you can find much more in "Necessary Illusions" also by Chomsky Bertrand Russell (not an anarchist by any means) used to say that if there are social ideas quite difficult to find in the public arena there are symptoms of official propaganda. You will find in this old but still relevant text plus a somewhat not so fluid post September 11/2001 essay, some important reasons and social effects behind Media Control. Chomsky's own formula might be stop resorting to cliché. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  6. 5 out of 5

    مصطفي سليمان

    how to make ppl hate each other? mmmm, Noam say it and give a great description control the media full it with all crap you want about bad (soviet's , communism , Islam , Arab , Asia ,etc...) the dial is here in mid-east do this too , but on us speared the fear make them need us , tell them we are the new Christ the one , if we go you will doomed and ppl believe , so when true ppl say no , get up ppl say NOOOO!!! ib TV we trust great book about how the world as*hole who call them self president mak how to make ppl hate each other? mmmm, Noam say it and give a great description control the media full it with all crap you want about bad (soviet's , communism , Islam , Arab , Asia ,etc...) the dial is here in mid-east do this too , but on us speared the fear make them need us , tell them we are the new Christ the one , if we go you will doomed and ppl believe , so when true ppl say no , get up ppl say NOOOO!!! ib TV we trust great book about how the world as*hole who call them self president make all ppl feel happy about their poor ,illness , and all problems talk's about that we all live in big show like Candid camera but their no one will tell us smile and wave to the camera read it read it Thnxxx a lot Noam :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Errin

    I read this for my Propaganda in the Media class which I ADORE, from the content to my awesome professor. If you have the chance to take this class, it's an enlightening experience. This book overviews the modern history of propaganda but is also incredibly relevant to current events happening right now. It was so interesting to learn the theories behind media control and distraction techniques and how they relate to democratic society. It describes democracy itself in two perspectives and one o I read this for my Propaganda in the Media class which I ADORE, from the content to my awesome professor. If you have the chance to take this class, it's an enlightening experience. This book overviews the modern history of propaganda but is also incredibly relevant to current events happening right now. It was so interesting to learn the theories behind media control and distraction techniques and how they relate to democratic society. It describes democracy itself in two perspectives and one of them is quite disconcerting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wafa Foufa

    "That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about." A short but a good book for introducing and giving exemples of the use of propaganda by USA. "That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about." A short but a good book for introducing and giving exemples of the use of propaganda by USA.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anagha

    When I started this book, I did not realise just how old it is. At the first reference to George Bush needing a new villain, I though, oh this was written before 9/11. And then he referred to Bush and Reagan being pally with Saddam Hussein and realised how off I was. In any case, at this point the contents of this book are not surprising. Just cements my belief that no matter which political party or person you support, keep your eyes and ears open for propoganda and biased reporting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mohsin Maqbool

    Taming the bewildered herd By Mohsin Maqbool Elahi PROPAGANDA has had some spectacular achievements. However, one of the most spectacular has been the control over the media. The book, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, has been written by Noam Chomsky, who needs no introduction. The first modern government propaganda operation started under the Woodrow Wilson Administration right in the middle of World War I. The Wilson administration set up a government propaganda missio Taming the bewildered herd By Mohsin Maqbool Elahi PROPAGANDA has had some spectacular achievements. However, one of the most spectacular has been the control over the media. The book, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, has been written by Noam Chomsky, who needs no introduction. The first modern government propaganda operation started under the Woodrow Wilson Administration right in the middle of World War I. The Wilson administration set up a government propaganda mission caled the Creel Commission which succeeded in turning a pacifist population into a war-mongering one "which wanted to destroy everything German, tear the Germans limb from limb, go to war and save the world." After the war was over, the same techniques were used to bring about a hysterical Red Scare which succeeded in destroying unions and eliminating dangerous problems such as freedom of the press and freedom of political thought. There was extremely strong support from the media and from the business establishment which organised much of this work. Progressive intellectuals took great pride in participating in Wilson's war. They, the "more intelligent members of the community", were able to drive a reluctant population into a war by scaring them and eliciting jingoist fanaticism. Liberal democratic theorists and leading media figures was another group that was impressed by these successes. Walter Lipmann, the dean of American journalists, was involved in these propaganda commisssions. He believed that in a properly functioning democracy there are classes of citizens. Firstly, there is the specialised class who analyze, execute and make decisions. Secondly, the remaining, the big chunk of the population, are "the bewildered herd" from whose trampling and roar "we have to protect ourselves". And how is the bewildered herd tamed? Chomsky elaborates: "So we need something to tame the bewildered herd, and that something is this new revolution in the art of democracy: the manufacture of consent. The media, the schools, and popular culture have to be divided. "You've got to keep them pretty scared, because unless they're properly scared and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from inside or outside or somewhere, they start to think, which is very dangerous , because they're not competent to think. Therefore, it's important to distract them and marginalize them." New scares, including terrorists, are whipped up from time to time: Fidel Castro, The Taliban, Al Qaeda, 9/11, 'Monster' Hussain and his Weapons of Mass Destruction. In the aftermath of 9/11, Afghanistan was sprayed with daisy cutters and cluster bombs. And to search for the invisible weapons of mass destruction Iraq was continuously bombarded day in and day out. There was no outcry or protest from the American public as it is easily led by propaganda. The US government leaves no stone unturned to deride the economy, politics and culture of a targeted country. However, American propaganda seems to be misfiring like the prison atrocities in 2004 in Abu Ghraib where nude prisoners were piled into a pyramid, bringing much negative criticism. While human rights are being violated in Palestine, Kashmir and Syria, the Geneva Convention is being violated in Guantanamo Bay. One cannot expect the American public to remain mere spectators forever. Or has it been totally brainwashed by the American establishment and its media?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lastoadri

    This book gives you quite a good idea about how propaganda is used in democracies, with examples we've lived without noticing how media was diverting the bewildered herd. I couldn't rate it more than 3 stars because I needed to read more details about the usage of language, or topics in news bulletins.. etc. Such details that Chomsky didn't discuss it fully in this book. This book gives you quite a good idea about how propaganda is used in democracies, with examples we've lived without noticing how media was diverting the bewildered herd. I couldn't rate it more than 3 stars because I needed to read more details about the usage of language, or topics in news bulletins.. etc. Such details that Chomsky didn't discuss it fully in this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karlo Mikhail

    offers an impressionistic account, peppered with anarchist doxa, rather than a serious look at how the corporate media is used by the financial oligarchy to foster their class rule

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alister

    Noam explains how people who control media easily manipulate public opinion and how they give their own version of the reality that does not much the real reality. He also points out how media select subject to talk about and hide some realities and distract the bewildered herd

  14. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    This is such a short but important book. Although it can be repetitive and the writing isn't brilliant, it is a great introduction to media propaganda. I recommend this to anyone and everyone who wants to see the truth This is such a short but important book. Although it can be repetitive and the writing isn't brilliant, it is a great introduction to media propaganda. I recommend this to anyone and everyone who wants to see the truth

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kunal Arya

    I'll just say one thing first read animal farm and than media control and you'll understand the whole media structure and its working for Indian economy. I'll just say one thing first read animal farm and than media control and you'll understand the whole media structure and its working for Indian economy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alok Sharma

    how politicians and corporation create a deadly combination for democracy. A good and a very short book for propaganda busting in your own head without external need.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ha Nguyen

    I guess Chomsky decided that just the briefest knowledge is sufficient for the bewildered herd. Repetitive and all over the place.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vilém Zouhar

    USA is totalitarian. Post communist eastern Europe countries are totalitarian. In other news (more literally than usual): be content, it's normal. USA is totalitarian. Post communist eastern Europe countries are totalitarian. In other news (more literally than usual): be content, it's normal.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Allison

    This book is split into two essays, the second of which, "The Journalist from Mars" was an excellent criticism of the US's hypocritical condemnation of terrorism while they themselves take part in terrorist acts by their own definition. Not relying on any moral truths other than "if some act is right for us then it's right for others, and if it's wrong when others do it, then it's wrong when we do it," Chomsky shows that there are innumerable instances of morally impermissible terrorist acts com This book is split into two essays, the second of which, "The Journalist from Mars" was an excellent criticism of the US's hypocritical condemnation of terrorism while they themselves take part in terrorist acts by their own definition. Not relying on any moral truths other than "if some act is right for us then it's right for others, and if it's wrong when others do it, then it's wrong when we do it," Chomsky shows that there are innumerable instances of morally impermissible terrorist acts committed by the US government beginning well before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. One passage which presented new information, although not surprising information, to me was, "One factual observation is that the war on terrorism was not declared on September 11; rather, it was redeclared using the same rhetoric as the first declaration twenty years earlier. The Reagan administration, as you know, I'm sure, came into office announcing that a war on terrorism would be the core of U.S. foreign policy and it condemned what the president called the 'evil scourge of terrorism,'" which points out how long this hypocrisy has existed. Although not a criticism of the book , per se, for a title "Media Control" there was almost no discussion of the actual relationship between government and media. While the first essay, "Media Control: The spectacular Achievements of Propaganda" shows empirical evidence of news reporting including criminal actions perpetrated by foreign governments and omitting crimes committed by the US government, there is no discussion of why it is that these media companies prefer to deliver what he terms "propaganda" instead of truth. Given the quazi-capitalist system on the US and the constitutional protections on freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I would imagine that US media would be one of the most liberal and least "controlled" in the world. This is remedied slightly by the second essay which offers a positive account of how media should report US foreign policy. My one genuine criticism of the book is from the beginning of the first essay in which Chomsky argues that the public at large is more than capable of managing their own affairs and does not need someone else from a specialized class to mold and shape their ideas through propaganda. Chomsky argues that the public is not "too stupid" but never asks why it is that the public has been so mesmerized and accepting of what he himself considers propaganda. Surely, if it were not true that there exists a class of men of greater intelligence, then such deception would not be possible. It is only possible because there exists a group of people that are much more intelligent than the masses, which Chomsky terms the "specialized class" who are able to control those very masses. He claims that "We're the best judges of public interest" but includes in that "we" every person who has been so easily persuaded by propaganda. Surely, by himself not being persuaded while others are, he must recognize that some men, namely Chomsky, are of greater intelligence and have better decision making skills to determine public interest.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ali Reda

    A "revolution in the art of democracy," could be used to "manufacture consent" that is, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that they didn't want by the new techniques of propaganda. It was necessary because "the common interests elude public opinion entirely" and can only be understood and managed by a "specialized class" of "responsible men" who are smart enough to figure things out. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too, to be A "revolution in the art of democracy," could be used to "manufacture consent" that is, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that they didn't want by the new techniques of propaganda. It was necessary because "the common interests elude public opinion entirely" and can only be understood and managed by a "specialized class" of "responsible men" who are smart enough to figure things out. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too, to be "spectators," not participants in action. If they try to participate in managing their own affairs, they're just going to cause trouble. Therefore, it would be immoral and improper to permit them to do this.So we need something to tame the bewildered herd, and that something is "the manufacture of consent". You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something. Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state. The rest of the population ought to be deprived of any form of organization, because organization just causes trouble. People have to be atomized and segregated and alone. They're not supposed to organize, because then they might be something beyond spectators of action.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Love Chomsky and THIS is required reading for anyone who engages with any kind of media ... ahem, so... everyone. The only way to arm yourself against inevitable daily propaganda brainwashing is to know that that it's everywhere. Love Chomsky and THIS is required reading for anyone who engages with any kind of media ... ahem, so... everyone. The only way to arm yourself against inevitable daily propaganda brainwashing is to know that that it's everywhere.

  22. 4 out of 5

    بسام الريحاني Bassem RIHANI

    . . . A few number of pages, yet, this is a very important and purposive book. It opens questions around the way we use Democracy today .. Which type of Democracy we use ? Around The General Opinion,, Is it truly reflected the Reality,, or this Reality can be constructed, in other words "engineering of consent" ? So here’s some “long” quotes - really long - to help “summarize” a few points that the book talked about.. SPECTATOR DEMOCRACY which I called it The FAKE Democracy . … there are two " . . . A few number of pages, yet, this is a very important and purposive book. It opens questions around the way we use Democracy today .. Which type of Democracy we use ? Around The General Opinion,, Is it truly reflected the Reality,, or this Reality can be constructed, in other words "engineering of consent" ? So here’s some “long” quotes - really long - to help “summarize” a few points that the book talked about.. SPECTATOR DEMOCRACY which I called it The FAKE Democracy . … there are two "functions" in a democracy: The specialized class, the responsible men, carry out the executive function, which means they do the thinking and planning and understand the common interests. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too. Their function in a democracy, he said, is to be "spectators", not participants in action. But they have more of a function than that, because it's a democracy. Occasionally they are allowed to lend their weight to one or another member of the specialized class. In other words, they're allowed to say, "We want you to be our leader" or "We want you to be our leader." That's because it's a democracy and not a totalitarian state. That's called an election. But once they've lent their weight to one or another member of the specialized class they're supposed to sink back and become spectators of action, but not participants. That's in a properly functioning democracy. Absolutely Fake, and there is no difference between it and Totalitarianism. It’s like Totalitarian Democracy, sort of… In what is nowadays called a totalitarian state, or a military state, it's easy. You just hold a bludgeon over their heads, and if they get out of line you smash them over the head. But as society has become more free and democratic, you lose that capacity. Therefore, you have to turn to the techniques of propaganda. The logic is clear. Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state. And of course, you have to keep them pretty scared, or they may start to think… which is very dangerous. So that's the ideal. Great efforts are made in trying to achieve that ideal. Obviously, there is a certain conception behind it. The conception of democracy is the one that I mentioned. The bewildered herd is a problem. We've got to prevent their roar and trampling. We've got to distract them. They should be watching the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies. Every once in a while you call on them to chant meaningless slogans like "Support our troops." You've got to keep them pretty scared, because unless they're properly scared and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very dangerous, because they're not competent to think. Therefore it's important to distract them and marginalize them. Because if they start noticing, they may not like it.. So how do you scare them, those bewildered herd? Of course, by some major Monsters. If you look at the domestic programs of the administrations of the past ten years - I include here the Democratic opposition - there's really no serious proposal about what to do about the severe problems of health, education, homelessness, joblessness, crime, soaring criminal populations, jails, deterioration in the inner cities the whole raft of problems. You all know about them, and they're all getting worse. …. In such circumstances you've got to divert the bewildered herd, because if they start noticing this they may not like it, since they're the ones suffering from it. Just having them watch the Superbowl and the sitcoms may not be enough. You have to whip them up into fear of enemies. In the 1930s Hitler whipped them into fear of the Jews and gypsies. You had to crush them to defend yourselves. We have our ways, too. Over the last ten years, every year or two, some major monster is constructed that we have to defend ourselves against. ….. Prior to about the mid-1980s, when you were asleep you would just play the record: The Russians are coming. But he lost that one and he's got to make up new ones, just like the Reaganite public relations apparatus did in the 1980s. So it was international terrorists and narcotraffickers and crazed Arabs and Saddam Hussein, the new Hitler, was going to conquer the world. They've got to keep coming up one after another. You frighten the population, terrorize them, intimidate them so that they're too afraid to travel and cower in fear. Then you have a magnificent victory over Grenada, Panama, or some other defenseless third-world army that you can pulverize before you ever bother to look at them-which is just what happened. That gives relief. We were saved at the last minute. That's one of the ways in which you can keep the bewildered herd from paying attention to what's really going on around them, keep them diverted and controlled. A must-read book.. period.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tomoko Yoshikawa

    Great book. Very true in Japanese media, and people are controlled by these media. It's scary that our freedom of speech is in danger too. Great book. Very true in Japanese media, and people are controlled by these media. It's scary that our freedom of speech is in danger too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed Abdelkafi

    eyeopenning! everyone should read..and I mean everyone!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Doc Brown

    If you've never read any Chomsky then this is a good place to start If you've never read any Chomsky then this is a good place to start

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nuruddin Azri

    Chomsky hit the bar again with these two simple statements, "State propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and many others, and it has been pursued to this day." "One of the questions asked in that study was, How many Vietnamese casualties would you estimate that there were during the Vietnam war? The average response on the part of Americans today is about 100, 000. The official figure Chomsky hit the bar again with these two simple statements, "State propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and many others, and it has been pursued to this day." "One of the questions asked in that study was, How many Vietnamese casualties would you estimate that there were during the Vietnam war? The average response on the part of Americans today is about 100, 000. The official figure is about two million. The actual figure is probably three to four million. The people who conducted the study raised an appropriate question: What would we think about German political culture if, when you asked people today how many Jews died in Holocaust, they estimated about 300, 000? What would that tell us about German political culture? They leave the question unanswered, but you can pursue it. What does it tell us about our culture? It tells us quite a bit. It is necessary to overcome the sickly inhibitions against the use of military force and the other democratic deviations. In this particular case it worked. This is true on every topic. Pick the topic you like: Middle East, international terrorism, Central America, whatever it is—the picture of the world that's presented to the public has only the remotest relation to the reality."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Anderson

    Apparently it’s easy for a government to “manufacture consent” for war through media propaganda. It’s how Wilson changed America from isolationism to virulent war hatred of Germany before World War I. It’s how small countries are portrayed and accepted as dangerous enemies of the US. It’s how terrorism is made to be what your enemies do, but not what you do. it’s a frightening look at how easily the minds and attitudes of people can be manipulated. The book’s one flaw is that the text is a trans Apparently it’s easy for a government to “manufacture consent” for war through media propaganda. It’s how Wilson changed America from isolationism to virulent war hatred of Germany before World War I. It’s how small countries are portrayed and accepted as dangerous enemies of the US. It’s how terrorism is made to be what your enemies do, but not what you do. it’s a frightening look at how easily the minds and attitudes of people can be manipulated. The book’s one flaw is that the text is a translation of speeches, so if you don’t know (or didn’t live through) the history of the the last quarter of the 20th century, some of his sketchier arguments may not be clear.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Cross

    His writing was repetitive. Another review thought he should have worked through his writing more. I think it was done with intention. Chomsky's writing reminded me a lot of a video I saw on Trump's speeches, it said he would simplify and repeat to get the message across. Realizing this made it difficult to read without feeling manipulated or persuaded. I did, however, value the first half of the book where he discussed loneliness, tv time & the lack of know how to organize for the general publi His writing was repetitive. Another review thought he should have worked through his writing more. I think it was done with intention. Chomsky's writing reminded me a lot of a video I saw on Trump's speeches, it said he would simplify and repeat to get the message across. Realizing this made it difficult to read without feeling manipulated or persuaded. I did, however, value the first half of the book where he discussed loneliness, tv time & the lack of know how to organize for the general public.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Priyam Roy

    A decent little read on the role of media in shaping political biases of the masses which support policies that are against their best interests. Chomsky uses a lot of interesting examples, such as using the outrage surrounding 9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq, but a lot of those examples are already pretty well known. I believe most of the content within this book falls in line with Chomsky's other, and possibly more well known, book Manufacturing Consent. I hope to read that in the future A decent little read on the role of media in shaping political biases of the masses which support policies that are against their best interests. Chomsky uses a lot of interesting examples, such as using the outrage surrounding 9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq, but a lot of those examples are already pretty well known. I believe most of the content within this book falls in line with Chomsky's other, and possibly more well known, book Manufacturing Consent. I hope to read that in the future to further educate myself on this subject.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nikhil Waiker

    Can taste Chomsky's anger! Can taste Chomsky's anger!

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