Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

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Manufacturing Consent movie poster

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992) is a documentary film that explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, world-renowned linguist, intellectual, and political activist. Created by two Canadian independent filmmakers, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, it expands on the ideas of Chomsky's earlier book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which he co-wrote with Edward S. Herman.

The film argues 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 into the history of The New York Times's coverage of Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor, which Chomsky claims exemplifies the media's unwillingness to criticize an ally.

Until the release of The Corporation (2003), made by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan, it was the most successful documentary in Canadian history, playing theatrically in over 300 cities around the world; winning 22 awards; appearing in more than 50 international film festivals; and being broadcast in over 30 markets. It has also been translated into a dozen languages.

The film has served to raise Chomsky's public profile considerably as a leading social and political critic.

Companion book

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. A resource guide explains how to get involved. 18 Philosophy All-Star "baseball cards" (as seen in the film) are also included. 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 (http://zmag.org/chomsky/mc/) from Z Magazine.

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