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Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of The Mass Media

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Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media

When you don't get consent, you create consent. That's the basic idea that Naom Chomsky is trying to drive home through his revolutionary book ‘Manufacturing Consent- The political economy of Mass Media'. It is an analysis of the news media as business. The question that the book posses in general was that, ‘Is media doing the job of collecting opinions or creating opinions?' Chomsky's analysis concludes that, ‘when you don't get consent, you create consent.' Hence the book promotes the idea that among the other functions, that the media serves, it also presents the propaganda on behalf of the powerful societal interests that control and finance them. The book was written in 1988, essentially in the context of the American media and its reaction to the case of ‘Indonesian occupation of East Timor'. He gives a logical explanation of how media was a mere representative of the interests of the elite and influential class, who were well positioned to shape and constrain media policy, in broadcasting the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.

The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy that states how propaganda, including systemic biases, functions in mass media. The model seeks to explain how populations are propagandized and how consent for various economic, social and political policies are "manufactured" in the public mind due to this propaganda. Propaganda theory postulates five general classes of "filters" that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are: (known as the ‘filters') are as follows:

1. Ownership

Herman and Chomsky argue that since mainstream media outlets are currently either large corporations or part of conglomerate and the information presented to the public is biased with respect to these interests.

Contemporary research demonstrates that many media industries are already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms. Such conglomerates frequently extend beyond traditional media fields, and thus have extensive financial interests that may be endangered when certain information is widely publicized. This view of media, presented by Chomsky supports the ‘dominance theory' of media.

Concentration of media ownership is very frequently seen as a problem of contemporary media and society.When media ownership is concentrated in one or more of the ways mentioned above, a number of undesirable consequences follow, including the following:

• Commercially driven, ultra-powerful mass market media is primarily loyal to sponsors, i.e. advertisers and government rather than to the public interest.

• A few companies, belonging to a minority elite group, can't represent the


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