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tv   The Listening Post 2018 Ep 47  Al Jazeera  December 26, 2018 8:33am-9:02am +03

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i don't understand why. schools of crimea into tons have been arrested. most believed by russian security forces. crimea russia's as he secret announces the. hello i'm richard gilbert and you're watching a special edition of the listening post it's been thirty years now since the publication of one of the most influential books ever written about the institution that we cover the media manufacturing consent the political economy of the mass
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media was coauthored by knowing chomsky and edward hermann the book provided searing critiques of journalists and the news media's relationship to power it spelled out how media corporations and the journalists who work for them often end up defending the economic social and political agendas of governments and corporations it walked us through how the media represents certain privileged groups in society while effectively suppressing the voices of others most of us working on this program have been influenced in one way or another by manufacturing consent and so to mark the anniversary of its publication we want to tucson arizona to talk to norm chomsky it's a two part interview we began by showing professor chomsky the following animation one that we made last year that boiled down some of the basic arguments that he and herman made in manufacturing consent. in nineteen eighty eight noam chomsky coauthored a book with edward herman called manufacturing consent. it
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blasted apart the notion that media acts as a chat on political columns. media operate through five filters. the first test to do with ownership mass media firms are big corporations often they're part of even bigger conglomerates their endgame profit. and so it's in their interests to push for whatever guarantees that profit critical journalism takes second place to the needs and interests of the corporation. the second filter exposes the real role of advertising. media costs a lot more than consumers will ever pay. so who fills the gap to. advertisers
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and what are the advertisers paying for audiences. and so it isn't so much that the media are selling you a product they're out but. they're also selling advertisers a product news. how does the establishment manage the media that's the third filter in. journalism cannot be a check on power because the very system encourages complicity. governments corporations big institutions know how to play the immediate game they know how to influence the news narrative the feed media scoops official account interviews with the experts. they make themselves crucial to the process of journalism so those in
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power and those who look forward on that are in bed with each other. if you want to challenge power you'll be pushed to the margins your name will be down you won't be getting it you lost your access you lost the story. when the media journalists whistle blowers sources stray away from the consensus they get slack that's the fourth filter when the story is inconvenient for the powers that be you'll see the flash machine in action discrediting sources trashing stories and diverting the conversation. to measure such concerns and enemy the target. common enemy is the fifth. tanya's of terrorists and it's coming and it. will be met to
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hear those caroll public opinion. filters one big media theory consensus is being manufactured all around all the time. so professor chomsky does that video capture the ideas that you wanted in the book. i think that it's brilliantly done i think its success will be measured by whether it encourages people to ask what does it mean when you have concentrated private power producing a product namely audiences for a market which consists of concentrated private power with tight links to state power what do you expect the media output to look like in the framework of a structural framework behind if it encourages people to ask that question i think
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it will be very successful the title manufacturing consent it does get to the crux of how you see the role of the media in western democracies we get the feeling that you are out to destroy a few myths well interestingly the term the phrase manufacturing consent was not ours we boarded from the leading public intellectual of the twentieth century walter lippmann is the new art democracy to manufacture consent so that the. ignorant and meddlesome outsiders is for is the population will be passive and acquiescent and will accept the rule of the responsible that people like us and in fact the myth is that the media or independent or several courageous struggling against power
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and so often true of some of the earth find often very fun reporters course while the media doesn't artist courageous job but within a framework that the term and what to discuss what not to discuss and what we try to demonstrate in the book is that the if you simply look at the institutional structure of the media within a state capitalist society like ours they're performing a pretty much the way you'd expect. we'll get back to the rest of that interview in just a few minutes over the years manufacturing consent has sold millions of copies it's had a profound influence on many accomplished journalists and not just in the u.s. we spoke to three of them the editor in chief of the huffington post's indian edition amman satie the israeli journalist amir a hoss and matt taibbi an american best known for his work with rolling stone
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magazine we asked them about the book what they took from it and the importance of critical analysis of the global news media today. many fashion concerned had a big influence on me as a young reporter i had always thought if we lived in a completely free society were the reporting was outstanding the free press model worked exactly the way it should and when i read that book i realized that there were significant problems. the book and the notion and the analysis first of all unveiled america of the myth of being that such a splendid democracy so it was part of chomsky's in others and attempts to show that there are so many deficiencies in this democracy that are being ignored by many analysts. he is seeing that there is
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a superstructure of power that basically uses the media as propaganda that is has his broad formulation and i would push back against that and say that it's not easy to manufacture that kind of consent to do it because when people deceive news it's not like people actually believe everything we see on the news so i think one of the legacies of manufacturing consent has been. it kind of provided a neat formulation to sum up the on these that people felt with a movie monolithic production of information. this is a very human list and optimistic statement to believe that people with information. can bring to a change and this is how it started really when i started working in gaza early
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ninety's where did the israeli public knows nothing about your patient and what it means i was waiting for for my information to reach others and to change the awareness. and i realised quite soon that this was not the case. but i think we've seen many graphic examples of how we can manufacture consent through the media. i think the ultimate example house to be the invasion of iraq in two thousand and three if you had told americans after nine eleven that we were going to invade a country that had no connection to the nine eleven hijackers and that we were going to do it under the pretense of combating international terrorism most people would have thought you were crazy but we were able to sell that idea relatively easily to the entire american population this is fox news and fox news channel
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continuing coverage of the campaign which now has begun to liberate and disarm iraq but all they really needed was a few key voices among the highest opinion makers in the country and on t.v. the read we get on the people of iraq is there's no question but what they want to get rid of saddam hussein and they will welcome as liberators the united states when we come to do that and we were able to sell that war pretty easily. i think sourcing is actually perhaps one of the most interesting food does that he talks about i think sourcing is something. this have to think a lot about. we should think very hard to vote which are what are the sources that we give credence and balance to. which are the sources that we give importance to
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and which of the sources we don't give importance to. so who decides about the hierarchy what is important what is most important very often they realize that if you have information that is official this is called into investigative journalism but if you actually talk about the main the same thing for the steam from the most of the people themselves let's say about then jurors of a water contamination in gaza if it's the people themselves this is not seen as a serious or as serious information as when it comes from an official. i come from a family of journalists my father was a reporter dating back to the sixty's when he started in the business reporters tended to come from more humble origins
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a lot of people didn't go to college they entered the business as paper kids or as printers when they were sixteen or so but in the seventy's after all the president's men there are actually. journalism became sexy became a thing for upper class ivy league kids to do and by the time i was in the business and i'm you know i'm partly representative of the of this problem because i came from that class myself we all live in cities we represent a certain point of view we hang out with politicians in their aid. we are part of the ruling class and our failure to recognize that it's not you know it's not necessarily through any fault of our own but worse very separate and distinct from . the ordinary person chomsky's mordieu produces a sense of inevitability which is wrong even if i see that i have the freedom to vary to vote whatever i want to try to vote chomsky would say yeah that's because
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there's or do you fit in front of you when you don't even know what your country to vote how can you how could you know that i'm self-centered i think you know that i just know it's necessary and truly believe everything but what i'm saying is if you believe something different when you see that it's easy to see that people who believe would be believed because they consent has been unaffected but what if people knew exactly what's going on and still believe what they believe that and that's terrifying and i think that's what even maybe chomsky doing himself look at . the fact that if people see i don't care about the. i still believe that this should happen. and what do you say about the whole formulation of manufactured goods in the book and the concept of relevant because they offer. to every jew in the least kind of lighthouse it involves people's kept a season and this is always important though as i said before i think that the
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problems are the two day we have so much access to information in other ways that we are in a could lesion with the fact that people are not interested in what does not immediately their interest in this is very said realisation so i think the legacy all of chomsky's book in that sense is that it provides us with a manual of calm when we need mistakes and so i think it's something that makes us think about what we're doing makes us more mindful of our journalism. when you wrote this book in one nine hundred eighty eight roughly fifty corporations controlled every single mass media outlet in the united states now there are just six time warner viacom news corp disney among them what effect is that had do you think on democracy america all of that cheapens and reduces the access to information. well there is
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a way to compensate for the the internet does allow us to reach to if people organize form collectives to interact with one of them over it's possible to use the enormous resources that are available to overcome the impact of the concentration of media and in fact be done pretty effectively earlier this year american television viewers were treated to the spectacle on the sinclair broadcasting system which is not that well known company but which owns hundreds of local affiliates in the united states the sharing of biased and false news has become a call to comment on those who know more than they put out of an editorial and an editorial where the same words were read by hundreds of different news anchors small cities from kansas to the florida panhandle what did you make of all those in
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news anchors in all those markets mao thing those same words and reading those same script remember compelled to do so but he didn't have a choice he wanted to stay in. keep your job you read with big brother told you to read this is a mode of propaganda that we associate with the terror against that the fact that it's done but private tyranny which is what a corporation is doesn't change the character of and it's kind of interesting that in actual pelter in states the old soviet union people. studies showed that people tended to distrust the media who was so obvious that was coming from the state authorities i was found it interesting that after the wall came down all these western journalists were sent in by various western foundations to train journalists from eastern europe warsaw pact countries but what i knew of
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those places was that their news consumers were far more discerning about what information they were taking in and i thought rather than sending western journalists to quote unquote train you know russian or polish journalists we should sand news consumers from those countries to come west to train us what i think of that idea well the studies of the old soviet union which were intensive showed that a large part of the population recognized that what they're getting is controlled . authoritarian centered propaganda the western system propaganda is nowhere near the crude looks in the pen and there is a certain amount of variety when sinclair are sons of a demand that everyone read the same editorial that's unusual it's not the kind of
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thing that's done in the western system in the eastern system it was done and that does lead to a healthy skepticism that's exactly what you notice we don't. to go back far to the days the house and days of social media the arab spring two thousand and eleven so much optimism in the air and a belief that there rise of these alternative voices on these platforms would have a democratizing effect on governments turns out that that was misguided what happened well first of all there is a positive aspect to the social media. almost all of its movements rely on them to bring people together so and so what happened in the first months of the arab spring was very exciting. for you you may recall that at one point. the dictator moved burrup closed the internet to try to prevent the
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social media from functioning what happened is that activism increased. instead of sending messages out electronically people actually talk to each other and that's the base the central way to organize and. curried a kind of culture of what i call collective so you couldn't have foreseen the emergence of the tech giants who are such a big part of the global news media today and their rise has made than unwieldy purveyors of power they've brought in rich at the expense of many media outlets has anyone come up with useful ways of how and what to do how to deal with them and what to do with really remember that these are not the sources of news like the facebook doesn't have bureaus around the world what these have created is
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the. array of social media which are double edged sometimes they're used for constructive purpose but they have also become a major. force for undermining democracy everywhere right now brazil for example. the correctly. the thought that billions of dollars were spent to produce the famine torrie information on the social media against the. p.t. the work of sport support the. literally new shoes you know the one that. so many one example these things are no happening over and over and it's a very dangerous for the moment you've written a great deal about latin america and a few years back leaders such as cha vez in venice were more or less in bolivia the
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kirshner's in argentina in ecuador they were all pushing for some form of media reform to spread ownership to limit the power of conglomerates in latin america their critics then accuse them of basically trying to usurp the powers from the political right and drag them off to the left did the critics of those leaders who were trying to reform the media in latin america actually have a point in fact the problem of in all of the countries you mentioned is they didn't do any were near enough to try to set up alternative independent public publicly controlled media that would counter the high concentration of all to write media love america which has been a scandal for years manufacturing consent is considered
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a seminal work it's not an easy read for people it's and it's a difficult area to explore and dissect on television in particular because of its limitations and the limited attention spans of some of the people who are watching this program in conveying some of these ideas have you ever thought of taking some of those media training courses that those corporate executives take the train them to speak in soundbites. probably not i remember once that there was a program called the night law and the law of the a.b.c. . they got a lot of criticism because i was never on a limb to direct it to i'm not the kind of person they could have on because i don't understand consideration. namely saying two sentences between us that's a terrific form of propaganda so for example if your us is a run a terrorist state you can say yes they do this and the other thing if you say if
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your rest is the united states a terrorist which scores way beyond iran you can't say that two minutes because first you have to break down the prejudices and assumptions of the bold moves about the united states being a force for freedom and democracy you can't do that between two so the very idea of concision is a fine technique for imposing the propaganda of the power over those who are powerful they can say anything they want against enemies and to minutes but they can't be exposed to that final question for you when you get up in the morning where do you go to get your news first thing i look at is the new york times still it still with all of its flaws of the real it still has the broadest of the most comprehensive coverage of i think any newspaper in the
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world and then where do you go from there than many other places. washington post the business press foreign press which is your. biography you know many other sources. noam chomsky thank you so much for joining us the listening post that. one of the last points the chomsky made about starting his news day with the new york times we included that because we found his response telling noam chomsky is among the times is sharpest critics but he doesn't simply dismiss the newspaper he doesn't as so many people suspicious of the mainstream media have cut the cord and live in a world void of conventional news outlets he goes there but he considers the source he does the diligence shops around gets other views sometimes from outside the american news bubble he co-wrote the book thirty years ago but there's a lesson in there for news consumers trying to make sense of the media today you've
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been watching a special edition of our program we'll see you next time here at the listening post . in the first episode of science in a golden age i'll be exploring the contributions made by scholars during the medieval islamic period in the field of. professor jim alkalinity brings the berlioz of the pos to light. last point credible almost doesn't look real all we've done is block out the light from a room and then allow it to come through the small old served one of silence in a golden age on al-jazeera. as this year old threats it negotiations comes to an end. we examine what the top stories might be. such a good result. in the new year. joining us. as we take a look ahead to twenty nine seen. on al-jazeera. hello
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i'm martin dennis in doha and these are the top stories here it out is there so the president has called anti-government protests as traitors as a seventh day of rallies took a dangerous turn police fired into the air when demonstrators tried to march on the presidential palace in the capital called to their now demanding president bashir steps down after twenty nine years. have a more than is there. they started by protesting against shortage of credit and rising inflation but seven days on the demand has completely changed they're now
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demanding the government and its twenty one year rule and step down the government which is led by president omar al bashir has responded using tear gas and live ammunition. president omar al bashir addressed his supporters in tuesday hickeys the protesters of being influenced by external a challenge i think you should. thank you for hosting me thank you for your support a new three zero which is a response to every foreign agent traitor lauren destructive person you are the ones responding to them right now from here you are responding to all the traitors in foreign agents i support you and with your support i will be back here next year . thousands came out to protest in the capital anyway some opposition groups have voiced support to the protesters they say the people have legitimate reasons for turning an economic crisis into a political crisis for the government.

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