The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky to explain how propaganda and systemic biases function in corporate mass media. The model seeks to explain how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social, and political policies is “manufactured” in the public mind due to this propaganda. The theory posits that the way in which corporate media is structured (e.g. through advertising, concentration of media ownership, government sourcing) creates an inherent conflict of interest that acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.
The book begins with the following quotation by John Milton:
They who have put out the people’s eyes, reproach them of their blindness.
~ John Milton
First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the propaganda model views private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product—readers and audiences—to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public. Describing the media’s “societal purpose”, Chomsky writes, “… the study of institutions and how they function must be scrupulously ignored, apart from fringe elements or a relatively obscure scholarly literature”. The theory postulates five general classes of “filters” that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are: Ownership of the medium, Medium’s funding sources, Sourcing, Flak, and Anti-communism or “fear ideology”.
The first three are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important. In versions published after the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, Chomsky and Herman updated the fifth prong to instead refer to the “War on Terror” and “counter-terrorism”, although they state that it operates in much the same manner.
Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles that the model postulates as the cause of media biases.
Herman, E. S.. (2000). The Propaganda Model: a retrospective. Journalism Studies
“In manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media, noam chomsky and i put forward a ‘propaganda model’ as a framework for analysing and understanding how the mainstream u.s. media work and why they perform as they do (herman and chomsky 1988). we had long been impressed with the regularity with which the media operate on the basis of a set of ideological prem-ises, depend heavily and uncritically on elite information sources, and participate in propaganda campaigns helpful to elite interests. in trying to explain why they do this we looked to structural factors as the only possible root of the systematic patterns of behavior and performance. because the propaganda model challenges basic premises and suggests that the media serve antidemocratic ends, it is commonly excluded from mainstream de-bates on media bias. such debates typically include conservatives, who criticize the media for excessive liberalism and an adversarial stance toward government and business, and centrists and liberals, who deny the charge of adversarialism and contend that the media behave fairly and responsibly. the exclusion of the propaganda model perspective is noteworthy, for one reason, because that per-spective is consistent with long standing and widely held elite views that ‘the masses are notoriously short-sighted’ (bailey 1948: 13) and are ‘often poor judges of their own interests’ (lasswell 1933: 527), so that ‘our statesmen must deceive them’ (bailey 1948: 13); and they ‘can be managed only by a specialized class whose personal interests reach beyond the locality’ (walter lippmann 1921: 310). in lippmann’s view, the ‘manufacture of consent’ by an elite class had already be-come ‘a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government’ by the 1920s (lippman 1921: 248). clearly the manufacture of consent by a ‘specialized class’ that can override the short-sighted perspectives of the masses must entail media control by that class. political scientist thomas ferguson contends that the major media, ’controlled by large profit-maximizing investors do not encourage the dissemination of news and”
Herman, Edward S., & Chomsky, N.. (2002). A Propaganda Model. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of The Mass Media
“THIS book centers in what we call a ‘propaga:n’da model,’ an analytical framework that attempts to explain the performance of the u.s. media in terms of the basic institutional structures and relationships within which they operate. it is our view that, among their other functions, the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them. the representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well positioned to shape and constrain media policy. this is normally not accomplished by crude intervention, but by the selection of right-thinking personnel and by the editors’ and working journalists’ internalization of priorities and definitions of newsworthiness that conform to the institution’s policy.”
Chomsky, N.. (2002). An Exchange on Manufacturing Consent. I Can
“The writer discusses the ‘propaganda model’ put forward by he and noam chomsky (1988) as a framework for analyzing and understanding how the mainstream american media work and why they perform as they do. he describes the model, addresses some of the criticisms that have been leveled against it, and discusses how it holds up almost a decade after its publication. in addition, he outlines some examples of how the model can help explain the nature of media coverage of important political topics in the 1990s. he points out that he and chomsky never claimed that the model explains everything or that it reveals media omnipotence and complete effectiveness in manufacturing consent. he states that it should be viewed as a model of media behavior and performance, not media effects. he suggests that the model remains a very workable framework for analyzing and understanding the mainstream media and that it often surpasses expectations of media subservience to government propaganda.”
Klaehn, J.. (2002). A critical review and assessment of Herman and Chomsky’s “propaganda model”. European Journal of Communication
“Mass media play an especially important role in democratic societies. they are presupposed to act as intermediary vehicles that reflect public opinion, respond to public concerns and make the electorate cognizant of state policies, important events and viewpoints. the fundamental principles of democracy depend upon the notion of a reasonably informed electorate. the ‘propaganda model’ of media operations laid out and applied by edward herman and noam chomsky in manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media postulates that elite media interlock with other institutional sectors in ownership, management and social circles, effectively circumscribing their ability to remain analytically detached from other dominant institutional sectors. the model argues that the net result of this is self-censorship without any significant coercion. media, according to this framework, do not have to be controlled nor does their behaviour have to be patterned, as it is assumed that they are integral actors in class warfare, fully integrated into the institutional framework of society, and act in unison with other ideological sectors, i.e. the academy, to establish, enforce, reinforce and ‘police’ corporate hegemony. it is not a surprise, then, given the interrelations of the state and corporate capitalism and the ‘ideological network’, that the propaganda model has been dismissed as a ‘conspiracy theory’ and condemned for its ‘overly deterministic’ view of media behaviour. it is generally excluded from scholarly debates on patterns of media behaviour. this article provides a critical assessment and review of herman and chomsky’s propaganda model and seeks to encourage scholarly debate regarding the relationship between corporate power and ideology. highly descriptive in nature, the article is concerned with the question of whether media can be seen to play a hegemonic role in society oriented towards legitimization, political accommodation and ideological management.”
Herman, E.. (2000). The Propaganda Model. Journalism Studies
“First presented in their 1988 book manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media, the propaganda model views private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product—readers and audiences—to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public. describing the media’s ‘societal purpose’, chomsky writes, ‘… the study of institutions and how they function must be scrupulously ignored, apart from fringe elements or a relatively obscure scholarly literature’. the theory postulates five general classes of ‘filters’ that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. these five classes are: ownership of the medium, medium’s funding sources, sourcing, flak, anti- communism and fear ideology. the first three are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important. in versions published after the 9/11 attacks on the united states in 2001, chomsky and herman updated the fifth prong to instead refer to the ‘war on terror’ and ‘counter-terrorism’, although they state that it operates in much the same manner. although the model was based mainly on the characterization of united states media, chomsky and herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles which the model postulates as the cause of media biases. contents”
Fleming, P., & Oswick, C.. (2014). Educating consent? A conversation with Noam Chomsky on the university and business school education. Organization
“In what follows, we present a conversation with professor noam chomsky on the topic of whether the business school might be a site for progressive political change. the conversation covers a number of key issues related to pedagogy, corporate social responsibility and working conditions in the contemporary business school. we hope the conversion will contribute to the ongoing discussion about the role of the business school in neoliberal societies.”
Entman, R. M.. (1990). News as propaganda. Journal of Communication
“The study asks whether the news coverage accorded the near-genocide in east timor by the globe and mail (g&m) followed the predictions of the ‘propaganda model’ (pm) of media operations laid out and applied by edward s. herman and noam chomsky in manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media. the research asks whether the g&m’s news coverage of the near-genocide in east timor and of canada’s ‘aiding and abetting’ of ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ in occupied east timor was hegemonic or ideologically serviceable given canada’s (geo)political-economic interests in indonesia throughout the invasion and occupation periods. did the news coverage provide a political and historical benchmark by which to inform the canadian public (or not) and influence (or not) canadian government policy on indonesia and east timor?”