Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

Funny, provocative and surprisingly accessible, MANUFACTURING CONSENT explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist. In a dynamic collage of new and original footage, biography, archival gems, imaginative graphics and outrageous illustrations, the film highlights Chomsky’s probing analysis of mass media.

A mammoth two-part project, MANUFACTURING CONSENT is nonetheless light on its feet, favoring a style that encourages viewers to question its own workings, as Chomsky himself encourages his listeners to extricate themselves from the “web of deceit” by undertaking a course of “intellectual self-defense.”

 

“The public relations industry, which essentially runs the elections, is applying certain principles to undermine democracy which are the same as the principles that apply to undermine markets.

The last thing that business wants is markets in the sense of economic theory. Take a course in economics, they tell you a market is based on informed consumers making rational choices.

Anyone who’s ever looked at a TV ad knows that’s not true. In fact if we had a market system an ad say for General Motors would be a brief statement of the characteristics of the products for next year. That’s not what you see. You see some movie actress or a football hero or somebody driving a car up a mountain or something like that. And that’s true of all advertising.

The goal is to undermine markets by creating uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices and the business world spends huge efforts on that.

The same is true when the same industry, the PR industry, turns to undermining democracy. It wants to construct elections in which uninformed voters will make irrational choices. It’s pretty reasonable and it’s so evident you can hardly miss it.” - Noam Chomsky

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