Manufacturing Consent (film)
|Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media|
|Directed by||Mark Achbar|
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media is a 1992 documentary film that explores the political life and ideas of linguist, intellectual, and political activist Noam Chomsky. Canadian filmmakers Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick expand the analysis of political economy and mass media presented in Manufacturing Consent, a 1988 book Chomsky coauthored with Edward S. Herman.
The film presents and illustrates Chomsky and Herman's propaganda model thesis that corporate media, as profit-driven institutions, tend to serve and further the agendas of the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society. A centerpiece of the film is a long examination of the history of The New York Times' coverage of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which Chomsky says exemplifies the media's unwillingness to criticize an ally of the elite.
Until the release of The Corporation (2003), made by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan, it was the most successful feature documentary in Canadian history playing theatrically in over 300 cities around the world. It appeared in more than 50 international film festivals where it received 22 awards. It was broadcast on television in over 30 markets and translated into a dozen languages.
Chomsky's response to the film was mixed; in a published conversation with Achbar and several activists, he stated that "the positive impact of it has been astonishing to me" but people mistakenly get the impression that he is the leader of a movement that they should join. In the same conversation, he criticizes The New York Times review of the film, which mistakes his message for being a call for voter organizing rather than media critique.
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Mark Achbar edited a companion book of the same name. It features a copy of the script annotated with excerpts from referenced and relevant materials as well as several comments from Chomsky interspersed throughout. Eighteen "Philosopher All-Stars" baseball cards (as seen in the film) are also included. On the back of each card it includes a short summary of the person, some of their major works and a series of quotations attributed to the individual. The people featured as cards in the set are: René Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Mary Wollstonecraft, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Sojourner Truth, Karl Marx, Sitting Bull, Rosa Luxemburg, Peter Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bertrand Russell, Michel Foucault, and Avram Noam Chomsky. The book made the national bestseller list in Canada.
The first half of the book, hyperlinked to the relevant portions of the film's audio, is available online from Z Magazine. The entire book is available as a PDF document on the Region 2 DVD of the film.
- Noam Chomsky (2002). An Exchange on Manufacturing Consent. In Understanding Power. The New Press.
- Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1995.
- Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media on IMDb
- The first half of the book at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived 2002-09-14)
- Zeitgeist Films (US distributor) page for the film at the Wayback Machine (archived 2004-10-09)
- NFB Web page
- The Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model Twenty Years On Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 6(2), 2009