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Mac Kelly

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Manifesting Consent: More Relevant Than Ever

While Donald Trump’s general, intellectual rhetoric is something to be desired, his continual bashing of “fake news” may be more VERACIOUS than the public gives him credit.


Journalist, Walter Lippmann, introduced the notion of “manufacturing consent” in his 1922 publication, Public Opinion. In it, Lippmann poses the notion that the news and reality do not always have a linear relationship. He suggests that the news serves, not as a source of objective information that innately creates a check-and-balance on the government, but an interpretation of current affairs that is carefully orchestrated to evoke an emotional response or outcome. The notion of a free Democracy is convoluted and misguided, Lippmann claims; a carefully orchestrated smoke-and-mirror magic trick. In other words, true democracy stipulates unbiased facts and information – characteristics the media views as minor technicalities.

Fast forward sixty years and the concept of “manufacturing consent” resurfaces in Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s book.

In the 1988 manifesto, “Manufacturing Consent,” Herman and Chomsky expand on this idea by applying it to the well-oiled mass media machine. They argue that news outlets “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function…”

Addressing the propaganda model, both men explain that, since news outlets are businesses with profits as their driving force, it would be impossible for journalism to be completely objective. This concept is no different than any other business model. If you owned a butcher shop, it would be a disservice to your business to highlight studies suggesting a vegan diet has long-term health benefits. Instead, you would focus on information that supported a carnivorous diet as being the cornerstone of a healthy diet. To do otherwise would be like shooting yourself in the foot.

For that same reason, corporations and some levels of government choose which information it divulges to the public and what it eradicates from the national narrative. They base this on what outcome best suits their needs and continual power.

Corporate-backed news stations are more than willing to pay millions in order to entice, persuade, or demand news anchors and journalists to push a particular agenda. If employees for a news station or newspaper refuse to change the narrative so that it aligns with company ideology, these employees are heavily scrutinized and lose credibility under the guise of being “conspiracy theorists.”

“Conspiracy Theory” was a term coined by the CIA in 1967 as a response to a leaked document called The Warren Report. It concerned the JFK Assassination and was sent to Agency bureaus all over the world. In an attempt to clean the mess, the government strategically implemented the concept of a “conspiracy theory” – a hair-brain idea rooted in lunacy and paranoia, not evidence. This caused enough doubt in the public eye to keep anyone from taking the report and its allegations seriously.

Manufacturing Consent was popular among dissident “free-thinkers”, but was shrugged off by most Americans as being too outlandish and paranoid. It was (in essence) a conspiracy theory. Believing in conspiracy theories meant you doubted your governmentand nobody wanted to appear unpatriotic and dismissive.

We don’t censor the truth in America. Technically, we can’t. The First Amendment protects our rights to freedom of speech and the press… or so we’ve been told, time and time again, over feverish pitches in courtrooms, classrooms, and picket lines. But if the very people we trust to provide that truth is supplying us falsified information, the concept of the First Amendment becomes convoluted and superficial. In reality, that clause in the Constitution actually gives reporters leeway to make unsubstantiated claims without anyone keeping them honest and in check.

Therefore, the only stories that tend to reach mass audiences are the ones that a) will create a reaction b) will be sure to divide people and c) don’t demand too much thought and attention – because the last thing the talking heads want you to do is stew in all the gross injustices and shady undertakings of the government.

News stations make sure to stay in sync with the official pronouncements of the U.S. government. Any attempt at “challenging the system” is found only in heavily-regulated op-ed pieces – tucked a safe distance away from the limelight, where Democrats and Republicans can artificially debate topics within a narrow scope.

This is how situations like our involvement in the Iraq War occurred. Even though Helen Keller herself would have been able to see that the U.S. invading Iraq was a terrible idea, virtually everyone in the media jumped in with both feet. Round-the-clock news stations suddenly became recruiting agents, bringing in think tanks and war heroes to boost the war rationale. Antiwar voices were almost totally silenced or made to look unpatriotic or uncaring.

This phenomenon was addressed in Manufacturing Consent, known as “flak” – a mechanism in which reporters or media outlets that dared challenge the public dialogue would be denounced by the establishment and by the American People. Those that suppressed these outlying journalists were deemed “experts” who were glorified and financially rewarded by private interest groups, investors, and political figures.

In the case of Iraq, fear of being called unpatriotic, anti-military, or pro-terrorism effectively hushed those who wanted to speak out. And when that didn’t always silence naysayers, networks like MSNBC simply yanked them from the airwaves. Because who needs a pros and cons list when we’re about to invade one of the most politically-charged war zones in the world?

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Pushing positive narratives and hiding forbidden ones – these are the two elements needed to effectively “manufacture” public “consent.” And we have mastered this.

Because of tech companies like Google and Facebook, it is significantly easier to “manufacture consent” today than ever before. Currently, social media is the most influential factor in mainstreaming bad information and escalating the rate at which people process it. Social media knows no boundaries; it has no checks-and-balance system to police the spread of “fake news.” The democratic space it occupies is relentless, spreading like cancer through society and burying its way into our psyche. Suddenly, the microphone is amplified and everyone wants their turn at the podium.

Monopolistic tech companies like Facebook have profound power over media companies, being able to steer traffic where it suits them simply by tweaking algorithms. They can control how, where, and when we get information. News corporations no longer enjoy the control of their own economic fate that they once had. This responsibly now lands solely in the hands of social media moguls.

When Manufacturing Consent came to fruition, the major problem was that Americans across the political spectrum were being sold on the “Gold Star Standard” of American power and government policy.

Today, it isn’t exactly clear how much power politicians, advertisers, private interest groups, investors, and social media powerhouses control the global distribution of information. But I assure you, it’s sickeningly huge.

One thing IS for certain – Trust of modern media isn’t as simple as waving the flag, standing up during the National Anthem, and supporting the troops – albeit, it certainly has been embedded in our moral foundation that doing these things is what makes you a great American citizen. Questioning any of this makes you a traitor to America, which is exactly where the government wants its people.

It’s a shame that an updated version of Manufacturing Consent hasn’t been published. It appears now, more than ever, society could use another wake-up call, though it probably would be hurried in all the loud noise.


11 Comments
  1. Post Author

    How unusual, someone who thinks clearly, and can see that canyon between party political biases and reality. Well written. Indeed, it would seem that anyone who wants an agenda pushed hard enough only needs to pay enough to one or another of the social media outlets and they’ll obtain the most targeted propaganda possible. The only people this form of propaganda might not affect are those still watching the major new outlets — be this the Blue or the Red side.

    It is all the easier to “manufacture consent” when you convince 90% of the population that they can only be on ONE SIDE or the OTHER. George Bush I made very clear that there are ONLY TWO SIDES in his famous speech where he not only used that trigger term “New World Order,” but reminded an entire planet that: “You’re either for us, or against us.” This statement was as divisive as they come, and this mentality so permeates the American ‘culture’ that it is increasingly difficult to get anyone to talk about alternatives to the TWO CHOICES provided when it comes to policies and politics.

    We would be wise to re-read the farewell address of President George Washington, as he warned the American people against falling into a “Party” system of politics. As he well noted (and he knew this only too well), psychological alignment to a Party ideal means putting yourself into a position to be — in our modern lingo — a ‘tool.’ Easily manipulated by emotional appeals, those who so align themselves to a political party and a collective, single point fo view, often end up supporting the very thing the were opposed to.

    One of the greatest follies that overcome a people stems from the sort of deliberate ‘mind control’ that the sort of omnipresent mass media we see today, has over the population. This great threat is that produced by devision of a nation into easily manipulated In his farewell address Washington made the case that “the alternate domination” of one party (and its political agendas) over another, and the attempts to vilify and enact revenge upon their opponents (we’ve seen this graphically with the followers of Hillary and Obama aligning themselves against Trump and his ‘followers’) would lead to atrocities. He warned that what would follow such Party politics would be “…itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.” He warned us that at length this would “… gradually incline the minds of men to seek security … in the absolute power of an individual.” He knew this would lead to despotism.

    He further warned us that such Party divisions and emotional appeal would provide foreign nations and special interests the opportunity to impose their will upon the country through Party manipulation. This is exactly what we see today.

    Reinforced by targeted mass media, on demand, we are setting ourselves up for overthrow. This was Washington’s greatest fear, and it should be ours at this date, as these prognostications and warnings of Washington have already come true!

  2. Post Author

    Manipulating news is very bad but propagating lies as the truth is terrifying. Too much of today’s “fake” news is outright lying.. It is impossible to make rational decisions about anything when you have to work with false information. The news media has always hidden plain truths that didn’t serve their purpose but you could dig deep to find the truth if you wanted to. Now with so much false information out there it is getting to become impossible. The new paradigm is to state complete falsehoods over and over and over until they become the accepted truth. The results of that will probably be catastrophic.

  3. Post Author

    Our media and press are lower then whale shit tabloid reporting. They lie about everything they report on, then sensationalize there lies with more bull shit. I have several degrees, I meet weekly with a dozen or more educated people, and none of them believe the media or press. Most of us have canceled our news papers or news magazines, nor do we watch the news. We do get information from BBC or Israeli news outlets, or social media content, but most educated people I know, know longer believe the media or press.

    • Post Author

      For someone who claims to be educated with several degrees your language (vulgarity and bad language is the sign of a weak mind seeking to express itself through a lack of vocabulary and mental maturity), spelling and use of wrong words in sentences belies your claim to an education (examples: the words “there lies” for their lies and the words “know longer” for no longer) you must have skipped or slept through basic grammar. Grammar is something I also have a problem with and that is why I re-read everything I write several times making needed additions and/or corrections (I also make use of a spell checker)!!
      I doubt this will be posted but; as for your news sources, the Israeli news is probably the most blatantly lying news media in the world today, everything is slanted in Israel’s favor and, I have my questions and doubts about both the BBC and American news medias. The Israeli news media will beat the war drums in the middle East and expect American blood to be shed to support their false news and their drum beating! They are always crying wolf when there is no wolf, what happens to them is usually the consequences of something they did to someone else! The entire Zionist movement has been a lie from its inception, their so-called Holocaust, appropriately named “Holohoax” by one Jewish writer, is just that, a hoax, the biggest hoax (lie) being pushed today! The Zionists claimed six million Jews were murdered by the Germans during WW I and the world laughed at them but after WW II they were in control and the world did not laugh, they accepted the Jewish fable of the “Holocaust”! What I just wrote would result in a prison sentence in many countries today but, when does truth need the law to support and enforce it, the law is and should be used against lies?? The Zionists are trying to get the same laws passed here in America!
      When our nation first attacked Iraq over Kuwait, known as the “First Gulf War” I questioned the reason for attacking a country that was not a threat to the United States. April Glaspie who was the American Ambassador at the time, was asked by Saddam Hussein what America would do if he attacked Kuwait and took back the oil fields it had stolen during the Iraq Iran war also, Kuwait was a part of Iraq and I think it was after WW I and the demise of the Muslim Turkish Ottoman Empire which lasted just 7 years shy of 700 years which covered 2.01 million square miles! She told him we have no agreements or treaties with Kuwait and what he did there was none of our affair. We all know what actually happened, for Saddam Hussein, a former CIA asset when George HW Bush was head of the CIA, it was a trap because Iraq was a powerful country and was seen as a threat to Israel by the Zionist government of Israel and their American lackeys!
      Then of course we have “Regime Change” where we have replaced many government leaders we no loner liked, an example being Saddam Hussein! By what authority do we do this? Under the authority of the United Nations! If this was legitimate and legal then; if Russia, Cuba, China, North Korea and several other countries want to invade America to bring about regime change then you must to agree it would also be just as legitimate as our invading other countries to do the same thing!
      We meddle in other countries’ governments so what is all this complaining about supposed meddling by Russia (no proof has ever been found and revealed) to get Donald Trump elected President? Is not turn about fair play? What is good for the goose is also good for the gander!
      America needs to get out of the Middle East and the rest of the world, stop meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and mind our own business, we have more than enough problems here in America to tend to! While our attention and trillions of $$ is being diverted to foreign countries thousands of miles from our shores, America is being literally invaded by foreigners (criminal illegal aliens)! America is also falling apart physically, politically, morally, and finally, psychologically! Wake up and take notice to what is going on in our own back yard!

      Nuff Said!!!!

      In Christ Jesus
      DJH

  4. Post Author

    This “manufacturing consent” is not news to me. I can tell a lie or steering of the consortiums outlook. I watched news outlets pandemically funnel American patriotism away from speculative decisions of free minded thought. I feel sorry for those in America who feed on the lies and don’t understand the implications of what they cannot see for it being right in front of thier 5 senses.

  5. Post Author

    Thanks for another great article. I am very aware of how Corporate Media can drown out the voices of truth. Truthful voices are often inadvertently shouted down by good folks who are protective of their own perceived truth. None of this is productive.
    I for one found One America News (OANN) to be the most truthful. They present alternative opinions without derision, and when facts are researched, they fall between usually and always in having their facts straight.

  6. Post Author

    Idea,
    What about each reporter and news agency gets 3 strikes and they are out?
    Let it be an independent entity that determines when a news story is aiding and abetting the enemy. Like reporting that the Sec of State is AWOL. And similar falsehoods that encourage an enemy of the USA.
    Each time they are openly exposed corrected, and after the third time that reporter is marked as enemy of the state or well certified FAKE whether CNN, CBS, or Drudge or whoever. This can be done by someone all will agree is subjective and in accordance with the rule of law according to the constitution. It must be done in a way that the one who makes a false report knows they are in jeopardy of being prosecuted for treason. But they should not be until they show malice and clear intent. This should m be also for Editors and entire news organizations. Three times and you are OUT. Outed and marked as clear agitator and REAL FAKE NEWS certified.
    Something needs to bring back consequence for actions for the media also, as in all the rest of life.
    Please pass this on to Trump to give to Pence as an assignment to create this in a non-partisan way and with Trumps full approval of every step. Can be done off the record. But must be done with integrity!

  7. Post Author

    The news outlets have only themselves to blame, since they started the fake news trend, eg, every dog bite is from a pit bull and the global warming scare. I find stories on facebook to be refreshing and uplifting. Anything streaming onto my page regarding politics is deleted or ignored.

  8. Post Author

    Thank you for this article. I have always believed that us “sheeple” have been fed only the fodder that the farmer (big government) wants to feed us. Fake news and the absolutely retarded bullshit seems to be the basis for most political and societal discussions. Common sense and logic have taken the back seat to misinformation and disinformation. I am of the mind that ‘we the people’ never can get the true picture and that the truth may be much more obscure than we know. All we can do is to be ever vigilant and do our best to not be sucked into thinking and actions that make no sense.
    There needs to be severe consequences for media and other groups who spew fake news whether it is three strikes and you’re out or something else that limits the garbage.
    A computer programming acronym that has been around for a very long time is “GIGO’ garbage in garbage out. We The People need to try to limit the garbage in in order for us to limit the garbage out. In other words get the best, most complete picture of reality before you come to your own view of reality.

  9. Post Author

    The Warren Report was leaked? I thought it was the official government report on the Kennedy assassination.

  10. Post Author

    I must agree and add a little something, the real news (meaning truth) would likely scare some people so bad they would begin screaming for the fake news again. Their complaint would probably be, they were not getting the nice stories that tickle their ears (Acts 28:7;II Timothy 4:3-4) “… and their ears are dull of hearing .. .having itching ears; … they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

    I know there are many that will not like the reference to Scripture but, they will have to agree it describes much of today’s generations (all of them, both older and younger).

    All many want to hear and read about is nice things about the present-day situation throughout the entire world and hear nothing about the lies and tragic situations that exist !

    That is one reason why so many of them follow panting after these many prosperity and emotion bound televangelist phonies again, I refer you to the above portions of quoted Scripture that aptly describe these folks!

    Nuff Said!!!!

    In Christ Jesus
    DJH

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