Twenty years on: the second-order prediction of the Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model

Mullen, Andy (2010) Twenty years on: the second-order prediction of the Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model. Media, Culture & Society, 32 (4). pp. 673-690. ISSN 0163-4437

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October 2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky. Their Propaganda Model (PM), which attempted to explain the behaviour of the media in the United States, found that it consistently served the interests of corporate and state power. Furthermore, they anticipated that the PM would be generally ignored within academia, which, all too often, also served the interests of corporate and state power. This commentary breaks new ground by focusing upon their second-order prediction, concerning the reception of the PM within academia; it demonstrates that the PM has been systematically marginalized within the field of media and communication studies, just as Herman and Chomsky forecast it would. The commentary is divided into six sections. The first section highlights the contrast between the liberal pluralist perspective and the Marxist-radical critique of how political and media systems function in capitalist, liberal-democratic societies. The second section situates the PM within the Marxist-radical tradition of media and communication studies. The third section provides an overview of the PM, more specifically its three hypotheses, its five operative principles and the evidence presented by Herman and Chomsky in support of the PM. The fourth section, which assesses how the PM has been received within the field of media and communication studies since 1988, is concerned with the second-order prediction that the PM would be neglected. More specifically, it surveys the way in which scholars have engaged with the PM; it provides data on the proportion of media and communication journal articles that have attended to the PM; and it submits data on the number of media and communication texts that refer to the PM. The fifth section suggests a number of reasons to explain why the PM has been generally dismissed, while the sixth section makes the case for the continued relevance of the PM.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Helen Pattison
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2012 08:06
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2019 15:41

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