50 pages 1 hour read

Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Nonfiction | Graphic Memoir | Adult | Published in 1988

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Index of Terms

Client State

A “client state” is any country the U.S. favors with financial or military aid. Often those states do not adhere to traditional democratic values, nor do they care much about human rights—qualities the U.S. claims to support. In most cases, Herman and Chomsky argue, U.S. support is contingent on the client state’s openness to U.S. business and political interests. American involvement in Guatemala, for example, began as a bulwark against communist expansion as well as a defense of U.S. corporate interests—specifically, those of the United Fruit Company (“Guatemala Suffered for U.S. Foreign Policy.” The New York Times. May 19, 2013). The favored status of a client state usually means the U.S. turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuses.

Demonstration Election

When the U.S. sponsors—or tacitly supports—an election in a client state (El Salvador, for example), the authors refer to this propaganda strategy as a “demonstration election.” The government will rely on all the usual media manipulations to sell the election as “democratic” and a “moral triumph” in the face of adversity. When the opposition is excluded from the ballot, the media will argue that they are “undemocratic” for refusing to participate. On the other hand, elections in non-favored states, such as Nicaragua, are delegitimized as “corrupt.