Manufacturing Consent: Generating Apathy To Preserve The Status Quo


“Advertisers don’t like the public sphere, where audiences are relatively small, upsetting controversy takes place, and the settings are not ideal for selling goods. Their preference for entertainment underlies the gradual erosion of the public sphere under systems of commercial media, well exemplified in the history of broadcasting in the United States over the past seventy-five years. But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages. Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.”

— Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky, “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media”, 2002 edition (p. xviii)