La fabrique du consentement
In this article we show that Manufacturing Consent has been ignored by leading US academics working on the relationship between the media and US foreign policy. We argue that it cannot be the case that this work has been ignored by them because they disagree with the general thrust of its analysis of media-political elite relations. Their understanding of news media and its relationship to US foreign policy is in many ways the same as that of Herman and Chomsky. The standard liberal myth of the news media in the West – that it is independent of elite interests and provides the people with the information necessary to ensure that they can hold elites and in particular governments to democratic account – is rejected widely by academics who study the news media and US foreign policy, although this self-image is routine amongst most journalists. In contrast, the most common and empirically substantiated perspective is that, with respect to coverage of US foreign policy, on balance, the US media serve elite interests and undermine democracy. The media do this by portraying the world in a way that tends to shape the perspective of those entering the political elite, generate public consent for or at least acquiescence to US foreign policy and make it difficult for the public to have access to information necessary to challenge the interests of the elite. This is seen to operate less through censorship than through a recruitment process that selects and rewards those who see the world in a way congenial and unchallenging to those elite interests. Uncongenial facts and framings usually do not have to be censored because they are mostly not even perceived to exist. Herman and Chomsky point out that the title Manufacturing Consent is actually a quote from mainstream author Walter Lippmann who saw this relationship as natural and proper.