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

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Introduction-Chapter 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Introduction-Preface Summary

Herman and Chomsky state their thesis in the first paragraph: Through the careful selection of editor advocates and the “internalization of priorities and definitions of newsworthiness” (xi), the U.S. news media serves the agenda of its elite patrons rather than fulfilling its sworn mission of objective reporting. The authors define this function as the “propaganda model.” This model also includes the media’s selection of “experts” chosen to represent the institution’s predetermined biases, as well as its use of “flak”—a strategy to discredit other news organizations that disagree. The authors concede that, within very limited boundaries, some elements of the media—some reporters, some organizations—are allowed to disagree with the established agenda, but that narrow margin of opposition only creates the appearance of diversity and is not enough to truly challenge the party line. They further acknowledge that the propaganda model only defines the way the media functions, not necessarily the effectiveness of that function.

This updated version of Manufacturing Consent takes into account the growing centralization of mass media as well as the monopolization of corporate control. Fewer corporate owners now control a greater percentage of news outlets across a wider array of platforms (TV, movies, magazines, books, and social media feeds).