Friday 23 January 2004

Media Control (Noam Chomsky, 2002 2nd edition)

coverAt only 100 pages long, this is a very approachable and digestable book by Noam Chomsky. It's subtitled "The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda". It seems to be a minor update to this speech from 1991.

The first chapter examines the lesson of the Creel Commission of 1916 concluding that "state propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect."

The next chapter entitled "Spectator Democracy" traces how the current use of propoganda became rationalised and instituitionalised as an essential element of our modern version of democracy. This is a false democracy where an elite group decides what is the common interest and guides the "bewildered herd" of the population.

Next he covers the rise of the Public Relations industry and its effectiveness in blunting the labour movement using the Mohawk Valley formula. This has led to a business-run society and concludes "the people who are able to engineer consent are the ones who have the resources and the power to do it - the business community - and that's who you work for."

Subsequent chapters build on how opinion is engineered providing many provoking examples. The last chapter entitled "The Journalist From Mars" is a transcript of a talk given to the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting 15th anniversary celebration (2002) on the media coverage of America's "war on terrorism". Taking the point of view of a truly foreign journalist, he expertly dissects just how blind and tightly controlled the US is.

It's a good read and should change the way you listen to the news. It's also very depressing as the unjustness of it all is unfolded.

Purchase Amazon US or Amazon UK or follow the above links to read most of it.

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