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The documentary Manufacturing Consent focuses on Noam Chomsky’s critical policies and views on American politics. Chomsky states that media complicates democracy and displays events only if it benefits the society in some way. Chomsky thinks corporations manipulate the media in order to display what they want and gain power. These issues demonstrate societal theories such as conflict theory and functionalism.
Conflict theory is an objective perspective that Chomsky supports. As mass media functions as a hierarchy, the ones on the top of the structure are wealthy and in charge of creating a belief system for those lower in the hierarchy in society. As the wealthy and corporations work together, society is manipulated through media in order to believe that everything the corporations do is for not only their own interests, but everyone else’s interests. However, the reality is that the ideology is being created through branding. Generally, Republicans are known to be wealthy, whereas the Democrats are known to be middle class and working class. So, as these political parties are formed, political parties have their own news channel in order to express their opinions on news. For example, FOX news is a part of the Republican Party. As their wealth coincides with education, there is a vast difference in presenting the bullet points and expressing their opinion as the Democratic Party. NBC is a part of the Democratic Party, and although they have the same kind of purpose to express opinions in the Democracy’s favor, they aren’t very good at presenting them. Another example where conflict theory plays a huge part through the media is the war ensues in East Timor and Cambodia. Comparing news columns that were published by the New York Times, columns written about Cambodia exceeds the height rather than East Timor. The reason why Cambodia was written about more was because when the United States fought against them, they were able to benefit from it. However, East Timor has no benefits, and nothing is improved when helping them. Because the people fighting in East Timor are fought with Allies, whereas
Functionalism also takes part as a sociological theory in this documentary. As war ensues during the time this documentary was filmed, those who weren’t specialized in this topic were distracted to watch sports. If genocide were presented to Democratic citizens in media, many of those citizens would try and prevent things from happening, such as protests. As functionalists, their job is to distract those who aren’t a specialist in a type of situation that involves genocide. As a separation of classes emerge, a certain peace of mind is created for society. When citizens are distracted and specialists are working, they both work together in some way in order to create reconciliation. The newspaper also uses a Red Dot system. The Red Dot system consists of a map of certain areas that are subscribed to a certain newspaper. There are green, yellow, and red dots. The green dots represent the places that are already subscribed, the yellow dots represent the places that are on the verge of subscribing, and the red dots are the places that are not subscribed to the newspaper. The plan for the newspapers using the Red Dot system is changing the red dots to the yellow dots, and changing the yellow dots to green dots. In order for the newspaper to thrive, this system is utilized. Just as the newspaper needs their patrons, and the patrons have their customers to read and take the newspaper. Manufacturing Consent takes on functionalism by socializing the media based on integration of consumers.
Manufacturing Consent combines functionalism and conflict theory in order to express the sociological vision Noam Chomsky critically views on American politics. Noam Chomsky talks about the cooperation of big corporations and media in order to talk about the future society. The future society includes seeking out forms of authority and domination, challenging legitimacy, and any forms of coercion that requires knowledge. The movie Manufacturing Consent, talks about the manufacture of consent, which means primary mass function.
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