13 books that changed history: Manufacturing Consent

In the current context of massive spread of fake news, hoaxes (malicious or not), interested narratives and unpunished disinformation, the ninth installment of the series 13 Books that changed history aims to call into question the hegemony of mass media as unique transmitters of truth: Manufacturing Consent, by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman.

The eternal debate on the real freedom of media in today’s societies (in all of history, as a matter of fact) centers this work in which the authors offer not only ideas, but also proven arguments that show unscrupulous manipulation to which the great mass media (increasingly, in the hands of a few), with a false appearance of plurality (the one given by the promised “contrasted facts”), subject a citizenry eager for truthful and critical information that allows you to understand the world-system in these times in which we live.

Written in 1990, Manufacturing Consent is one of the many mature works of a prolific author, Chomsky (1928), who has been analyzing for many years the consequences of pernicious speeches attached to the “official truth” (that of the powerful) that the large communication groups echo, to the detriment of the informative quality of its contents. Reputed linguist, activist and indisputable reference of left-wing thought (in addition to being one of the most relevant intellectuals of the 20th century, and so far, the 21st), Chomsky dealt with the issue of manipulation constantly from his first writings: Manufacturing Consent was followed by works such as Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (1997), Secrets, lies, and democracy (2007) or Propaganda and the Public Mind (2001), among many others. Herman (1925-2017), meanwhile, was a leading media analyst specializing in symbiotic relationships between media and large corporations. Together with Chomsky, he elaborated the so-called “propaganda model of the mass media” that is still studied today in the communication faculties.

Manufacturing Consent is, therefore, the “gift” of these authors for all those people who sense that a good part of the facts that the media send us do not tell the complete truth; that the proclaimed media objectivity is not such; that the tentacles of money and power also reach the newsrooms of the media: for them is this text that provides arguments for debate and, more importantly, tools to protect themselves from manipulation.

📷 Image by Javier Armas.

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