Consensus without Consent


For a critique of media technologies this paper aims to utilize the Propaganda Model (PM) from the first chapter of the book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988) which centers on the hegemonic role and power of media in the political process. A synoptic review of the model and more recent scholarship along similar lines affords a revitalization of Herman and Chomsky‘s radical critique. Their project seeks to reveal that democratic practice is merely staged, since public participation, critical discourse and economic decisions are already filtered by the media. In particular, the PM highlights the dichotomous nature of media, and it predicts their persuasive performance and effects. Media communication technology tends to colonize and monopolize our economic power, and it reshapes continually the legitimizing practices and effects of democracy. Consent as a democratic quality is staged and engineered by elites and corporate owners. Modern democracy, therefore, is merely manufactured. Thus, media should be evaluated and rechecked as a social and political apparatus, even as an institution of power, which whenever left unchecked may cause some rupture in the democratic landscape.