Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media


265 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 1-551640-02-3
DDC 302.23





Edited by Mark Achbar
Reviewed by Geoffrey Hayes

Geoffrey Hayes is an assistant professor of history at the University of


The back cover of this volume, a companion to Peter Wintonick and Mark
Achbar’s film about media critic and philosopher Noam Chomsky, sums up
its contents: “A complete transcript of the film is complemented by
key excerpts from the writings, interviews and correspondence of
Chomsky, co-author Edward S. Herman, and others. Also included are
further exchanges between Chomsky and his critics, additional historical
and biographical material, filmmakers’ notes, a resource guide, and
300 stills from the film.” We are also told that the work “has been
designed to help readers easily survey the breadth of Chomsky’s

Unfortunately, Mark Achbar knows far more about editing a film than
about editing a book. Chomsky’s distinctive clarity and power are lost
in a confused mishmash of ideas and images. The “audiovisual
strategies” used in the film fall flat in the book. The filmmakers
themselves are an often-obtrusive presence. They relate how the
producers of the CBC program “Ideas” prevented them from filming the
1988 Massey Lectures in which Chomsky was to appear: “At the core of
[the producers’] resistance, it seems, was their desire for
exclusivity and control.” Is this book about the filmmakers or about
Chomsky? Those interested in Chomsky’s ideas should read his books.


“Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 1, 2022,