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Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

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Reviews: 53 user | 16 critic

A film about the noted American linguist/political dissident and his warning about corporate media's role in modern propaganda.

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Title: Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself - Interviewer
Karin Aguilar-San Juan ...
Herself - South End Collective
Paul Andrews ...
Himself - The Seattle Times
William F. Buckley ...
Himself (archive footage) (as William F. Buckley Jr.)
...
Himself
Robert Faurisson ...
Himself
Jeff Greenfield ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Jeff Hansen ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Loie Hayes ...
Herself - South End Collective
Edward S. Herman ...
Himself
Arnold Kohen ...
Himself - Journalist
Robert MacNeil ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Yossi Olmert ...
Himself - Tel Aviv University (archive footage)
Lydia Sargent ...
Herself - Z Magazine
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Storyline

This film showcases Noam Chomsky, one of America's leading linguists and political dissidents. It also illustrates his message of how government and big media businesses cooperate to produce an effective propaganda machine in order to manipulate the opinions of the United States populous. The key example for this analysis is the simultaneous events of the massive coverage of the communist atrocities of Khmer Rouge regime of Cambodia and the suppression of news of the US supported Indonesian invasion and subjugation of East Timor. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Primer In Intellectual Self-Defense


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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

6 November 1992 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Chomsky, les médias et les illusions nécessaires  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film took five years to complete. Its credits acknowledge efforts and support of over 300 people and organizations. Crews shot in 23 cities in 7 countries over a period of 4 years. The film was edited from over 120 hours of original and archival footage. Archival images were culled from 185 sources. [from an insert] A statistic: In North America there are: 7 major movie studios and more than 1,800 daily newspapers, 11,000 magazines, 11,000 radio stations, 2,000 TV stations, 2,500 book publishers. 23 corporations own and control over 50% of the business in each medium. In some cases they have a virtual monopoly. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[title card: They who have put out the peoples eyes reproach them of their blindness. - John Milton, 1642. ]
EMTV video host: Three, two, one, take two. Good morning!... My name is Kevin Flook, and I'm your video host all day here at EMTV.
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Crazy Credits

For Emile de Antonio and the people of East Timor See more »

Connections

Features The Journal (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

People Get Ready
Written by Curtis Mayfield
Courtesy of Curtom Records
Performed by Four The Moment
Courtesy Jam Productions Ltd.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
© Warner Chappell Music Inc.
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User Reviews

 
One of the most important documentaries ever made.

Noam Chomsky has been called "arguably the most important intellectuals alive" by the New York Times and has been at the forefront of dissenting intellectual thought and activism for several decades now. This film takes a witty and intelligent look at Chomsky's well-documented theories on how the media serves the agendas of the corporate/government power structure - not as a conspiracy theory, but simply as an analysis of the way things necessarily operate.

This film is bound to polarize audiences. The ideas which are put forward and the facts which are revealed will shake some people's world. Many will disagree and argue against Chomsky and his ideas. Good. I think that's much of why this film was made. The disclaimer at the end of the credits states that the film was made with the intent to promote discussion about the media. If you aren't aroused one way or another by what is put forward in this film then either you must have been sleeping through it or else you are just plain apathetic.

The film is long. It has to be. Chomsky points out that part of the way in which the mass media manufactures consent is through concision. Sound-bytes. They don't take a lot of time to look at the facts or to thoroughly examine both sides of most issues. In order to think outside the paradigm of the mass media and to adequately discuss and defend views which go against mainstream thought, then you have to take some time. That's exactly what "Manufacturing Consent" does. However, the filmmakers, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, keep it interesting. They keep it from turning into three hours of talking heads.

To do this the filmmakers use some of the very techniques which Chomsky identifies the mass media as using in order to influence their audiences. It's wonderful and humorous to see how they speak the very language which they (and Chomsky) are exposing and criticizing. Don't be fooled, this is a propagandist film in favor of Chomsky and in favor of thinking about the world around you and then getting off your butt and doing something about it! Keep in mind when I use the term 'propaganda', that propaganda isn't always necessarily bad (the USA used propaganda to muster support for World War II and consequently Hitler's genocide was stopped). 'Propaganda' it just basically means that it pretty blatantly favors one view over another. Don't get me wrong, "Manufacturing Consent" is not completely one sided. Both sides of the argument are given screen time, but Chomsky's views come out on top.

Watch this film. Even if you don't agree with it, the discussion of the issues presented is important. It will raise your consciousness of what is happening to you every day whenever you turn on the TV or the radio, or pick up a newspaper, or even when you go to a football game. It will change your perspective and maybe even your life. And how many films really do that? That's why I say it's one of the most important documentaries ever made.


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