Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media : the Companion Book to the Award-winning Film by Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar

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Black Rose Books Ltd., 1994 - Education - 264 pages
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Manufacturing Consent Noam Chomsky and the Media, the companion book to the award-winning film, charts the life of America's most famous dissident, from his boyhood days running his uncle's newsstand in Manhattan to his current role as outspoken social critic.

A complete transcript of the film is complemented by key excerpts from the writings, interviews and correspondence. Also included are exchanges between Chomsky and his critics, historical and biographical material, filmmakers' notes, a resource guide, more than 270 stills from the film and 18 "Philosopher All-Stars" Trading Cards!
Mark Achbar has applied a wide range of creative abilities and technical skills to over 50 films, videos, and books. He has worked as editor, researcher and production coordinator.

"A juicily subversive biographical/philosophical documentary bristling and buzzing with ideas."-Washington Post

"You will see the whole sweep of the most challenging critic in modern political thought."-Boston Globe

"One of our real geniuses, an excellent introduction."-Village Voice

"An intellectually challenging crash course in the man's cooly contentious analysis, laying out his thoughts in a package that is clever and accessible."-Los Angeles Times

The Man. Early Influences. Vietnam A Turning Point. On His Role. The Media. Thought Control in Democratic Societies. A Propaganda Model. The Gulf "War". A Case Study Cambodia & East Timor. Concision A Structural Constraint. "Sports Rap with Noam Chomsky." A Cabal of Anti-Conspiricists. Media in Media, Pennsylvania. Alternative Media. The Linguist. Basic Premises. Nim Chimsky: Chimpanzee. And the Elusive Connection to his Politics. The Social Order. On Education. Anarchism/Libertarian Socialism. Resistance & Critical Analysis. The Critics (Media-Based). William F. Buckley, Jr. "Firing Line". David Frum Journalist, Washington Post. Jeff Greenfield Producer, "Nightline". Karl E. Meyer Editorial Writer, The New York Times. Peter Worthington Editor, The Ottawa Sun. The Critics (Other Elites). Fritz Bolkestein Former Dutch Minister of Defense. Michel Foucault Philosopher. Yossi Olmert Tel Aviv University. John Silber

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This was an unusual book because it was an almost direct transcript of the documentary, this meant that the sections of text at times seemed quite disjointed because they weren't supported by video imagery in the same way that they would be when set as voice-overs to the film. Also, I imagine that the documentary would move faster than it takes to read the same text so the relevance of the words would become apparent quicker when watching the documentary. This meant that there were times when I was reading something and couldn't see the relevance, or, it was referring to something that I hadn't heard of before and it would be a while before I got the answers I wanted. This isn't a criticism though, because the answers and explanations were always given, it's just that it often came after. I think this is because much of the dialogue came from interviews and news articles and it required extracts from a number of these sources to piece the whole story together; where a purposely written narrative could put the facts in a more logical order. Saying that, I think a lot of the time this was used as a deliberate narrative technique to raise questions in the reader's/viewer's mind before then addressing them. For example, there were a number of times where a negative article about Chomsky would be presented first and then a series of other pieces of dialogue would put the original piece in context. The book also fleshes out some sections of dialogue and articles which had been presented in the documentary in shorter form. This adds further detail to many of the ideas being discussed.
With regards the content, I don't know a huge amount about Chomsky's writing but I got the sense that this book covers all his major ideas on the subject of the media and it's influence over society, which is a very broad subject. Sometimes what he says sounds paranoid but his arguments are so well presented that I find it hard to disagree with him.
Overall, a very interesting book even if it did take much longer to read than I had thought it would.


The Middle East
Central America
The Film
The Social Order
The Critics MediaBased
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