Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

Synopsis: 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.
Production: New Video Group
  4 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
167 min

Three, two, one, take two.

Good morning.

Welcome to Erin Mills town centre.

Home of the world's largest, permanent,

point-of-purchase video wall installation.

My name is Kelvin Flook

and I'm your video host all day here at EMTV.

I want to take this opportunity to extend

a special and warm welcome

to the film crew from Necessary Illusions.

We've got an excellent line-up

of television programming today,

so... let's get on with it.

So, how long have they been working

on this documentary?

Gosh, they've been working on it

I don't know how long.

Every country I show up, they're always there.

They're in England, they're in Japan.

All over the place.


They must have 500 hours of tape.

Bet they put together a really doozy

when they're done, huh?

I can't imagine who's going to want

to hear somebody talk for an hour.

But I guess they know what they're doing.

So, where are you all from?


- Florida?

Yeah, Gulf Coast.

You all talk like in chorus.

We're making a film about Noam Chomsky.

Does anybody know who Noam Chomsky is?


Good aternoon and welcome

to Wyoming Talks.

My guest today is well-known intellectual

Noam Chomsky.

Thank you for being on our programme today.

Very glad to be here.

I know probably the main purpose for your trip

to Wyoming

is to discuss thought control

in a democratic society.

Now, all right, say I'm just Jane USA.

And I say, "Well, gee, this is a democratic

society, what do you mean - thought control?"

"I make up my own mind.

I create my own destiny".

What would you say to her?

Well, I would suggest that Jane take

a close look at the way the media operate,

the way the public relations industry operates.

The extensive thinking that's been going on

for a long, long period,

about the necessity for finding ways

to marginalise and control the public

in a democratic society.

But particularly to look at the evidence

that's been accumulated,

about the way the major media,

The agenda-setting media,

I mean, the national press,

and the television and so on,

the way that they shape and control

the kinds of opinions that appear.

The kinds of information that comes through,

the sources to which they go.

I think Jane will find some very surprising things

about the democratic system.

I'd like to welcome all of you

to this lecture today.

Several years ago,

Professor Chomsky was described

in The New York Times Book Review

as follows:

"Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty

and influence of this thought, Noam Chomsky is

arguably the most important intellectual alive."

Professor Noam Chomsky.

I gather there are some people

behind that blackness there.

But if I don't look you in the eye, it's because

I don't see you, all I see is the blackness.

Perhaps I ought to begin

by reporting something that's never read.

The line about "arguably the most important

intellectual in the world," and so on

comes from a publisher's blurb

and you got to watch those.

If you go back to the original,

you'll find that that sentence is actually there.

This is in The New York Times.

But the next sentence is,

"Since that's the case, how can he write such

terrible things about American foreign policy?"

They never quote that part.

If it wasn't for that second sentence, I'd begin

to think that I'm doing something wrong.

And I'm not joking about that.

It's true that the Emperor doesn't have

any clothes but he doesn't like to be told it.

The Emperor's lap dogs, like The New York

Times, will not enjoy the experience if you do.

Good evening. I'm Bill Moyers.

What's more dangerous:

The big stick of the big lie?

Governments have used both

against their own people.

Tonight I'll be talking with a man

who has been thinking about

how we can see the developing lie.

He says that propaganda is to democracy

what violence is to a dictatorship.

But he hasn't lost faith in the power of

common people to speak up for the truth.

You have said that we live

entangled in webs of endless deceit,

that we live in a highly indoctrinated society,

where elementary truths are easily buried.

Elementary truths such as...

Such as the fact

that we invaded South Vietnam.

Or that we're standing in the way of significant,

and have for years,

of significant moves towards arms negotiation.

Or the fact that the military system

is to a substantial extent,

not totally, but to a substantial extent,

a mechanism by which the general population

is compelled to provide a subsidy

to high-technology industry.

Since they're not going to do it if you ask them

to, you have to deceive them into doing it.

There are many truths like that.

We don't face them.

Do you believe in common sense?


I believe in Cartesian common sense.

I think people have the capacities to see

through the deceit in which they're ensnared.

But you got to make the effort.

It seems a little incongruous

to hear a man from the ivory tower

of Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

a scholar... a distinguished linguistics scholar,

talk about common people

with such appreciation.

I think scholarship, at least the field I work in,

has the opposite consequences.

My own studies in language and human

cognition demonstrate to me, at least,

what remarkable creativity

ordinary people have.

The very fact that people talk to one another

just in a normal way, nothing particularly fancy,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jun 2024. <>.

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