Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick

This two-disc 15th anniversary special edition is a welcome treat. The renowned MIT Linguistics professor and writer comes across in the film as a modern-day philosopher, informing the public about such egregious acts as the American-sponsored genocide in East Timor, explaining them in an accessible and haunting fashion. He is also a unique critic on the state of modern corporate-owned media, which acts as a censoring mechanism against those stories deemed unfavourable to the maintenance of a capitalist society. The film traces his book tour all around the world, in which he is either embraced as a prophet or a lefty nut spouting conspiracy theories. The film strings together countless interviews, debates and lectures to paint a portrait of a very unique voice in our world, encouraging people to look beyond themselves and seek out alternative information sources than those easily accessed by our TV and major print media. As slow and cerebral as the film gets at certain points, it allows Chomsky the time needed to finish his thoughts and anecdotes, so the film doesn’t come across a series of catch-phrases, an epidemic that plagues many documentaries. Chomsky explains in the film that mainstream news is only seeking the "sound byte,” thus extinguishing real debate and discussion. The second disc is a wonderful collection of the full versions of the various interviews and debates featured throughout the film. Best among these is Chomsky’s session on William F. Buckley Jr.’s show Firing Line from 1969, which sees the two opposing sides of the political spectrum square off. The disc also includes long 2007 interviews with the two filmmakers and Chomsky, respectively. Chomsky’s update on the recent history of East Timor is truly chilling and causes shivers up the spine of anyone with a smidgen of social conscience. Chomsky is no America-hater by any stretch. As he says in the film, Chomsky loves America and the freedom it provides him. He’s a champion of the First Amendment, a stand that has gotten him in hot water. This man is a special breed of patriot, and the 15th anniversary re-release of this film is one to be championed. (Mongrel Media)