Synopsis by Judd Blaise
The Canadian documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media presents a lengthy, detailed look at the political beliefs of celebrated intellectual Noam Chomsky. Casting only passing glances at Chomsky's groundbreaking work in the field of linguistics and his eventful life, filmmakers Mark Achbar and Peter Witonick instead focus on his activities as a political dissident and media critic. Particular attention is paid to his contention that the American mass media serves as a form of "thought control in a democratic society," with major news organizations systematically bending the truth to support the status quo. Chomsky defends this belief in numerous public appearances, lectures, and debates, siting as examples the widely divergent media treatment of genocidal activities in Cambodia and East Timor and the unquestioned acceptance of America's Gulf War policy. While opposing viewpoints and rebuttals are sometimes aired, the filmmakers quite clearly are in general agreement with Chomsky and even include humorous visual illustrations of his political theories, utilizing stock footage, on-screen diagrams, and the like. Despite its clear favoritism, the film nevertheless succeeds in making a thought-provoking case for these ideas and provides an intriguing glimpse into the life of a complex, driven thinker.
academic [person], critic, mass-media, media, politics, professor, public-opinion, social-commentary, theory, thought-control