Manufacturing Consent is a technique of control. Noam Chomsky was first introduced to this concept from an author named Walter Lippmann who wrote about ‘Manufacturer of Consent.’ Chomsky augmented his concept to Manufacturing Concept and the philosophy has become so popular it later became a documentary film produced by two Canadians. Noam Chomsky has been called ‘arguably the greatest intellectual alive' (Fox, 1998) by the New York Times as he not only is a very outspoken professor, he is also an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic and activist. The information in this essay was obtained from his video called: Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.
Manufacturing Consent is the control of distribution of ideas and stories by media to purposely be in charge of the results and beliefs held by the masses of people that watch and consume those stories. Chomsky believes decisions regarding investment, production and distribution etc. are controlled by a relatively concentrated network of major corporations and conglomerates and investment firms. Chomsky also stated that the major companies are also the ones who employ executives in government and media supporting their campaigns thus motivating and manipulating control in society. Manufacturing Consent is the opposite of a democratic society because the government and media believe the public isn’t up to dealing with media or government. Manufacturing Consent was a method designed to keep the ordinary person on course. There are two groups whose consent is being manufacturer they include; Political Class which makes up 20% of the population, they are fairly educated and somewhat articulate. Their consent is crucial as they are well read and pay attention to what is happening with big business, government and global issues and will often speak out regarding issues they don’t support. The second group is the other 80% of the population. They don’t think or pay attention as astutely as do the first 20% and their opinions and thoughts can be somewhat manipulated. According to Chomsky, their main function is to follow orders. The consent of the people is the consent, or opinions being manufactured by the government, and the political system. Their intentions are to manufacture the consent of the people and make sure that their choices and attitudes are altered in such a way that they will always do what is in the government's best interest, which often is the same interest of corporate companies in America. This is what Chomsky meant by propaganda.
The methodology Chomsky's used in studying Manufacture of Consent is called the ‘Propaganda Model’ and it is an institutional analysis of the major media. The major media he studied consisted of The New York Times, The Washington Post and major television channels. Chomsky evaluated them because he believes that ‘ by selection of topics, by distribution of concerns, by emphasis and framing of issues, by filtering of information, by bounding of debate within certain limits, they determine, they select, they shape, they control, they restrict -- in order to serve the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society.’(Chomsky, 1992) He also believes that by analysing the institutions it is very obvious they have a goal to make money and the way to make money with a newspaper is to sell advertising. In order to sell more advertising, you need to print material that is sensationalized or ‘diverting’ them from the real issues.
Chomsky felt the East Timorese deaths (+200,000) a death toll which is considered “proportionately comparable” to the Cambodian genocide went virtually unnoticed by the international community. He believes the reason for this (although the invasion was from Indonesia) was because ‘we’ were to blame for it. ‘We’ meaning Indonesia was relying on US diplomatic support and arms, used illegally, but…