Book Review: Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass MediaManufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Authors manufacture their own consent.

This is not a book on media, it is a book pushing the political agenda of the authors and is guilty of the very crime it purports to uncover.

I could not finish this book, but thought that I would write a review on what I read as I feel that the authors and the description were deceptive in terms of the book which falsely led to my wasting time trying to read it.

First and foremost this book reads as the whining of disenfranchised political operators. Although I do not mind someone pushing their agenda I reject as intellectually dishonest any approach that does not try to provide a balanced approach by providing meaningful counter-arguments to their central thesis (their actual political position doesn’t really matter in terms of how it detracts from the book).

The second issue it is not, as described, about “modern media” at all. The role of social media is non-existant. Even the role of the internet in general describes an in internet of 2001 and not 2011 when this edition was published. The utter confusion by the authors about the role of the digital age in terms of media reflects more their inability to modernise than the age of the recent edition.

The third issue is that even when the authors do discuss politics in a relevant context, i.e. how media and politics interact, they use non-conventional political definitions without any explanation, e.g. they define as democracy what most people would consider socialism. I do not care what their political views are, I do care that I do not have to guess at meanings for terms and concepts that already have a traditional definition and for which the authors do not bother giving their alternative definition.

Finally, the tone of the first few chapters at least is whining. It leaves one with the impression that they are not so much learning from scholars as putting up with the complaints of a child.

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