‘Manufacturing Consent’

Currently, there are at least two shocking news stories which have been little represented on the BBC or in the national MSM.  One is the decision of two health trusts in Northern Ireland to entirely stop providing statutory residential care for the elderly.  The other is the House of Lords vote which failed to kill off the controversial section 75 of NHS competition regulations.

Martin Rowson depicts the reporting failure in his cartoon, described by cif commentator lightacandle:

BBC News Invisibility Cloak – on the Lords sell off of the NHS – yes they ignored that one completely – as usual. The Lords now being a vulture friend of fat cat, seeing as one in four have interests in private health too. And what fools are we to allow it to go on…

It also happens to be the 25th anniversary of the publication of ‘Manufacturing Consent’ which examined the role of the mainstream media: 

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/Manufac_Consent_Prop_Model.html

The video clip below is an interview with Edward S. Herman (who co-authored the book with Noam Chomsky) which commemorates the anniversary.  Speaking a few days ago, Edward Herman says to The Real News:

“All the problems of the propaganda media model we talked about in the book have grown worse”.

In 1992, Edward Herman wrote in ‘Beyond Hypocrisy’:

Dissenters are excluded in the normal sourcing and processing of news, so that freedom of speech is perfectly compatible with systematic barriers to views that jar and threaten. Reporters are forced to work within the limits imposed by the market system in order to survive and prosper in the media organizations….

Despite these structural facts, it is frequently asserted and has become a conservative cliché that the mass media, especially network TV and the leading establishment dailies, are both “liberal” and “adversarial” to established authority.

That certainly echoes the Tory view of the BBC.  Furthermore, Herman proposed two laws; a ‘power law of access’ and an ‘inverse power law of truthfulness’ which are interrelated.

 The structure of power that shapes media choices and determines who gains access also affects truthfulness in the mass media.

Those who have assured access can lie; the more powerful they are, the more easily they can lie and the less likely it is that their lies will be corrected.

The higher the rank the more “credible” the statement; the more credible the speaker, the greater the freedom to lie.  

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/UnfreeInfo_Herman.html

 

Those who try to disprove the lies of the powerful have their limited access further reduced because their discordant messages would offend the powerful.  In any event, the messages of the weak and powerless can be largely ignored without cost to the mass media (whose biases would incline them toward avoidance anyway).

In his interview with The Real News, Edward Herman reiterates his view that ‘The media are simply part of the political force… lies are not contested.. the MSM does not allow alternative viewpoints .. We need a democratic order where the public’s interest feeds into the media.’  He considers that new media like The Real News show potential, but still believes that funding is needed for more investigative journalism.

Who on the left would disagree?

“Manufacturing Consent” 25 Years Later

TheRealNews·

Published on Apr 19, 2013

5 thoughts on “‘Manufacturing Consent’

  1. Pingback: 'Manufacturing Consent' | SteveB's Politics &am...

  2. The problem is there is not consent. There is adherence to party political fortunes, There is glib adherence to the status quo, to the notion that the UK is a democracy overseen by a benevolent royal familt, and that the media is merely a communication tool. All political parties use the current media with its establishment base for their own ends. It is unacceptable to make negative comment about Thatcher’s death by totally acceptable to abuse, denegrate and defile disabled people.

    You’ll no doubt be familiar with the work of the Glasgow Media Group – Chomsky merely puts another layer upon much of their work. The media in the UK is the voice of the establishment. An establishment rarely seen or heard dirctly but one that imposes its will on the population irrespective of the notion that elections are fair and meaningful. Until all of this is challenged and removed nothing’s gonna change here

    Like

  3. Pingback: 'Manufacturing Consent' | Welfare, Disability, ...

  4. Pingback: Like heterodox economists, Semmelweis was ignored… | Think Left

  5. Pingback: We need a Reformation in Economics – The salutary story of Semmelweiss | Think Left

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s