Edward S. Herman’s Biography

Wade Frazier

July 2020

Note from the author:

I published this biography draft on July 4, 2020.  This may be my last significant revision for several years.  Working on this project has been an honor and labor of love.

Coincident with this biography update, I published a companion essay, which applies Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model to Wikipedia.  In particular, that essay explores Wikipedia’s treatment of Herman’s bio and related articles, as an ironic validation of the Propaganda Model.  Revising Herman’s Wikipedia biography was the initial purpose of my biography project, so it was a fitting subject to explore. 

Introduction

Edward S. Herman (April 7, 1925 – November 11, 2017) spent his career as a professor of finance at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.  He was also a media analyst who specialized in banking, regulation, corporations, and political economy, particularly American foreign policy.  He also lectured at Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.  His most notable achievement was developing, with Noam Chomsky, the propaganda model of media analysis. 

Contents

Personal life and education

University career and writings

Ethical stance, analytical approach, style, and focus of political-economic writings

Early political writings and activism

Suppression of Counter-Revolutionary Violence

The Political Economy of Human Rights

The Washington Connection

After the Cataclysm

Terrorism and the Western media

Demonstration elections and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II

Manufacturing Consent and the propaganda model

Predictions and tests of the propaganda model

Subsequent assessments and revisions by Herman and Chomsky

Academic assessments and proposed revisions

Lies of our Times, Z Magazine, and other writings in the 1990s

Disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Western media

Genocides in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Western media

Overthrow of Ukraine’s government and demonizing Russia

General political analysis and commentary

Criticisms

Death and legacy

Selected publications

Notes

 

 

Personal life and education

Herman was born in Philadelphia, to Abraham Lincoln Herman, a pharmacist, and Celia Dektor, a homemaker.  Herman credited his being raised in a liberal-democratic household during the Great Depression, along with the rise of Hitler and politically radical relatives, for helping develop his political philosophy.[1]  Herman was Jewish.

Herman received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1945, Masters of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948, and PhD in 1953 from the University of California, Berkeley.  He attended Berkeley to pursue his PhD partly because of the political radicals there, and he was influenced by the writings of economists Robert A. Brady and Leo Rogin.  Herman was also influenced by his courses with Berkeley economist Joe Bain, whose work featured the structure of industrial organizations.  Herman credited Bain’s framework of analysis for helping him develop his own, including the propaganda model introduced in Manufacturing Consent.[2]  Herman’s PhD thesis was a study of Bank of America and its parent company, Transamerica Corporation.[3]

Herman was married to Mary Woody for 67 years, until she died in 2013.  Herman never had children.  In 2015, he married long-time friend Christine Abbott, who survived him.  He played the piano and particularly enjoyed the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Scarlatti.  He loved cats and regularly fed strays.  His only known self-indulgences were red wine in the late afternoon after a day of study and writing, and good French food.[4]

 

University career and writings

Herman’s post-doctoral career began at Penn State in 1954.  In 1958, he joined Wharton’s finance department to help perform studies of banks and corporate control mechanisms, which Wharton had contracted with various government agencies to study.  For the next 15 years, Herman participated in studies of various financial institutions.  Herman’s specialty was analyzing the power and control issues in those institutions. 

In 1962, Herman’s team, led by Wharton professor Irwin Friend, completed the first large-scale study of mutual funds, which was commissioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission and published by the United States Congress.[5]  Wharton’s study became a landmark in the field, and one of its key findings was that:

 

“[…] the main problems affecting mutual funds do not seem to relate to the size of the individual funds or companies… The more important current problems appear to be those which involve potential conflicts of interest between fund management and shareowners, the possible absence of arm’s-length bargaining between fund management and investment advisers.”[6]

 

Among the Wharton study’s conclusions was that the performance of mutual fund advisers was no better than that achieved by randomly selecting securities.  In the study’s wake, one senator picked a portfolio by throwing darts at a list of stocks, which subsequently performed better than the average common stock mutual fund.[7]  In a preview of his political writings and media analysis, Herman publicly defended the study from an attack by an interest-conflicted mutual-fund-related professional, who generally praised the study but challenged the motivation of its authors, including Herman’s.[8]

Wharton’s next major study was on savings and loan banks, for which Herman wrote the chapter on conflicts of interest.[9]  When the study was published, the savings and loan industry called a press conference to specifically dispute the findings in Herman’s chapter; Herman was particularly proud of receiving that denunciation.[10]  Herman then studied bank trust departments and their conflicts of interest.[11]

In 1981, Herman published Corporate Control, Corporate Power, which The Twentieth Century Fund sponsored.  Herman intended it to be an update of A.A. Berle, Jr. and Gardiner C. Means’s The Modern Corporation and Private Property.[12]

In Corporate Control, Corporate Power, Herman analyzed the internal structure of American corporations, their influence over the American economy and polity, and the competing interests within corporations, which were primarily owners, lenders, and managers.  Herman wrote that corporate managers had prevailed in those power struggles, and that in 1981, management’s “triumph is virtually complete,” although managerial ascendance did not dim the overriding corporate goal of profit maximization.[13]  The dominant competing interests within corporations were united on that premise.

Herman wrote that expanding government influence in the 1960s and 1970s was resisted by the American business community and that “Big Government” was in the midst of attacks on it.  Herman concluded that American corporations were, on average, as immune to outside influence as they were at the turn of the 20th century, as they operated with virtual autonomy, no matter their impact on American society, including environmental harm.  Herman wrote that governmental influence over corporations was “extremely modest,” and that efforts by public interest groups and citizens to make corporations more accountable to American society were “extremely feeble.”[14]

In 1989, Herman retired from Wharton as professor emeritus.  Near his life’s end, Herman said that although he sometimes received anonymous and unhappy critiques from members of Wharton’s faculty, many at Wharton thought that his public political writings and media analyses were valuable, and he never had any professional repercussions at Wharton due to his activism or his political writings or media analyses.  Herman noted that because he was a “steadily producing professor according to the rules of the game, [he] was promoted and became a full professor during the Vietnam War years,” and that Wharton’s dean was friendly to him.[15] 

 

 

Ethical stance, analytical approach, style, and focus of political-economic writings

From the beginning of his political-economic writing career, Herman’s work reflected the ethical stance that he shared with Noam Chomsky; Herman primarily criticized the polity that he was a citizen of, which he could influence, not foreign nations, and particularly when he believed that his nation committed historic crimes.[16]  The United States’ (“USA’s”) international behavior, and the American media’s treatment of it, was the primary focus of Herman’s political-economic writings since the 1960s.

In the preface of Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky wrote:

 

“Perhaps this is an obvious point, but the democratic postulate is that the media are independent and committed to discovering and reporting the truth, and they do not merely reflect the world as powerful interests wish it to be perceived.  Leaders of the media claim that their news choices rest on unbiased professional and objective criteria, and they have support for the contention in the intellectual community.”[17]

 

The majority of Herman’s political-economic writings challenged the idea that the American mass media (the “media”) engaged in a search for the truth and honestly reported its findings.  Herman used a scientific approach to test media impartiality.  An example of this is Herman’s analysis of the media’s treatment of the USA’s first withdrawal from UNESCO in 1984, which he considered to be one of his best media analysis efforts.[18]  The Heritage Foundation was a prominent member of the campaign for withdrawal.[19]  Herman wrote that an “Alert, independent, and unbiased media would not allow themselves to be ‘managed’ and would not play a supportive role in a propaganda campaign.”[20]  He argued that an independent media would:

 

 

Herman collected American media reports on the UNESCO withdrawal, listed sources of media reports, and how often they were cited.  He collected the mainstream media’s and dissident media’s reporting on agenda items of the American government regarding its UNESCO withdrawal.  He also performed a qualitative analysis of the language used by the media when describing various actors in the controversy.  Herman particularly examined the reporting of the New York Times (the “Times”), as he often did in his media analyses.

Herman’s analysis yielded the findings that the mass media, both print and television, cited American and Western officials who were critical of UNESCO in more than 70% of such instances.  When describing American officials, neutral or favorable language was used, such as “patience had run out” and “goaded beyond endurance,” while UNESCO was regularly described with pejorative language such as “wasteful” and “Iron Curtain spy base.”  UNESCO’s director-general, Amadou M’Bow, was described with terms such as “wily” and “wields patronage and job assignments like a truncheon.”[21]  Regarding the USA’s withdrawal from UNESCO, Herman’s analysis tested the assumption that the American mass media acted as an independent seeker of the truth.  His approach to analyzing the mass media’s performance regarding the UNESCO withdrawal was typical of the media analyses that he performed in his political-economic writings, which included events in many nations that the American media covered that had political-economic significance in American foreign relations.

Herman’s scientific approach was accompanied by restrained language.  New Republic’s review of Herman’s Corporate Control, Corporate Power stated: “Herman’s book is powerful, but his words are deceptively quiet.  He scores without raising his voice.  He favors understatement.”[22]

Herman regularly argued that the media often produced highly distorted reporting of the situations, particularly regarding the USA’s international activities, of which relatively few Americans had firsthand knowledge.  He made the case that the American media often portrayed the USA’s international behavior in precisely the opposite terms of what an unbiased evaluation of the evidence might lead to, and he often quoted George Orwell’s writings.[23]

Especially in nations where the USA militarily intervened, Herman wrote that American-sponsored elections, war crimes trials, and other activities produced the trappings but little or none of the substance of their ideals, and that the American media was nearly always an accomplice to such deceptions.[24]

Herman, particularly when writing with Chomsky, used paired examples to demonstrate media bias, such as comparing the American media’s coverage of multiple genocides committed by its Indonesian client state under the Suharto regime to the concurrent slaughters in Cambodia.[25]  Another example was the media’s treatment of the 1980s civilian slaughters in American client states Guatemala and El Salvador compared to the media’s treatment of the revolutionary government in nearby Nicaragua, as well as the attacks on Nicaragua by the American proxy army called the Contras.[26]  Herman and Chomsky often wrote that the most significant determinant of American media coverage was whether the subject was aligned with American interests or not; American allies and client regimes could depend on favorable American media treatment, even if they committed genocide, while enemy regimes and other targets of American foreign policy received highly unfavorable media treatment, irrespective of what the facts of an objective investigation might yield. 

Herman’s writings also covered domestic American events and how the American media treated them.  While writing about elite activities and the double-standards that the media used to report on them, Herman noted that the word “hypocrisy” failed to adequately communicate the meaning, and he began using “chutzpah.”  Herman defined the “chutzpah factor” as:

 

“Self-righteousness, arrogance, and a sense of superiority so great that gross double-standards seem entirely reasonable and no self-interested action is beyond rationalization.  This factor is positively correlated with size, power, and per capita income.”[27]

 

Herman’s writings reflected a dry humor, such as his invoking Herman’s Law when writing about Muhammad Suharto’s regime in Indonesia, which stated:

 

“[…] when the dictator of a shakedown state loses control and ceases to be useful to the USA, the mainstream media suddenly discover that he is a crook and focus intently on his corruption.”[28]

 

Early political writings and activism

Herman’s earliest political book was America’s Vietnam Policy: The Strategy of Deception, written with Richard B. Du Boff and published in 1966. 

In America’s Vietnam Policy, Herman and Du Boff compared the American government’s professed stance in 1965 – a negotiated settlement of the war in Vietnam – with its actions.  According to their analysis, the USA actively avoided meaningful negotiations.  Herman and Du Boff noted that the Geneva Accords of 1954, which formally ended France’s invasion of Vietnam as it attempted to regain its empire, did not call for Vietnam to be partitioned into two nations, and that the USA actively prevented Vietnam’s holding a free election to unify Vietnam, as called for by the Geneva Accords, primarily because, as Dwight Eisenhower later admitted, Ho Chi Minh, a communist, would have received 80% of the vote.[29]

In America’s Vietnam Policy, Herman and Du Boff contrasted American president Lyndon Johnson’s public speeches on Vietnam with the USA’s actions as recorded in the mainstream and independent American and Western media, which revealed an abrupt contrast between rhetoric and actions.  After the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the USA escalated the war.  Herman and Du Boff argued that the reason for the USA’s refusal to enter into meaningful negotiations was that any negotiations would involve concessions to Vietnam’s National Liberation Front (“NLF”), and that the American-installed military regime in South Vietnam had very little support from its citizenry, as openly admitted by General Nguyễn Cao Kỳ.[30]

In America’s Vietnam Policy, a theme was introduced that was reflected in Herman’s subsequent political writings, when Herman and Du Boff wrote:

 

“As American foreign policy has moved toward the open use of military power to dominate other states, the employment of Orwellian language has become more frequent.  Words with emotionally satisfying (or repellant) qualities are increasingly employed to describe their precise opposites.  Nowhere is this more in evidence than the claim by President Johnson and Secretary Rusk that the goal of American policy in Southeast Asia is the preservation of ‘independent’ states.”[31]

 

America’s Vietnam Policy stated that since the American-supported regimes in South Vietnam had little political support from their citizens, and that the USA was not “liberating” South Vietnam’s citizenry from a foreign occupying power (instead, the USA was the foreign occupying power), that it considered the people of South Vietnam to be its enemy.  Therefore, the USA engaged in a war of extermination against South Vietnam’s populace.  Herman and Du Boff argued that the USA’s activities in Vietnam met the Genocide Convention’s definition of genocide.[32]

In 1967, Herman was one of more than 500 writers and editors who signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, which announced their refusal to pay the 10% Vietnam War Tax surcharge proposed by president Johnson.[33]

In 1968, Herman published The Great Society Dictionary, which was a satirical precursor to his “Doublespeak Dictionary,” which was included in his Beyond Hypocrisy, published in 1992.  In The Great Society Dictionary, Herman coined the term “demonstration election” to describe the openly fraudulent elections that the USA mounted in client states, but which were portrayed by the American media as free and fair elections, even when those client states slaughtered opposing political candidates before the elections, such as in El Salvador in the 1980s.[34]  When The Great Society Dictionary was published, Vietnam had recently held an election in which communist candidates were formally banned from running for office and opposition candidate Tran Van Van was assassinated before he could run for president.[35]

In 1970, Herman published Atrocities in Vietnam: Myths and Realities, which was a study of atrocities committed in Vietnam; those committed by the USA and the South Vietnamese regime that it installed and supported, and those committed by North Vietnamese actors.

In Atrocities in Vietnam, Herman attributed the book’s inspiration to the American government’s public relations efforts in the wake of the My Lai massacre.  Herman wrote that when Seymour Hersh’s reporting finally brought the My Lai incident to the American public’s attention, the American government’s response was twofold: downplay the massacre as an “isolated incident” and portray American policy as anti-atrocity, while portraying the NLF’s policies as pro-atrocity; the other response was to mount an official investigation that depicted the My Lai incident as contrary to American policy.[36]

The foreword and conclusion of Atrocities in Vietnam addressed president Richard Nixon’s statement that American troops were in Vietnam primarily to prevent an NLF “massacre” of millions of South Vietnamese citizens.  Preventing a “communist bloodbath” became the policy statement of the American government, and that claim was a central focus of Atrocities in Vietnam.  Herman wrote that nations rarely responded militarily to atrocities committed in foreign nations, and that foreign military interventions almost always resulted from considerations of self-interest by the intervening power, not concern for the victims of foreign atrocities.  Herman wrote:

 

“Moralists and humanitarians as well as political-military elites are hesitant to call for direct military intervention as a means of bringing an end to indigenous massacres abroad.  They recognize that direct intervention may well worsen the situation, bringing in the complications of competing foreign as well as domestic interests in the invaded country.”[37]

 

Herman noted that in sharp contrast to the alleged American concern for preventing communist atrocities in Vietnam, the American government failed to even protest a bloodbath in nearby Indonesia in 1966, in which about a million civilians, primarily communists, were murdered by the Indonesian government.[38]  The American government was deeply complicit in that event.[39]  The contrast of the American government’s and media’s reactions to slaughters based on their political-economic utility became a primary theme of Chomsky and Herman’s Counter-Revolutionary Violence

In Atrocities in Vietnam, Herman concluded, after examining a wide array of supporting sources, including South Vietnamese officials, that the NLF’s base of support was South Vietnam’s peasantry.  Herman wrote that about the only indigenous Vietnamese support that the USA and the South Vietnamese government had was from military officials and mercenaries who collaborated with and fought for the French imperial effort, Roman Catholic refugees from North Vietnam (largely driven there by the USA’s Operation Passage to Freedom, which included a CIA anticommunist propaganda campaign), some members of the city-dwelling middle class, and a tiny urban elite who were primarily rural landlords.[40]  The peasantry of South Vietnam represented about 80% of South Vietnam’s population, a typical proportion in agrarian economies, and they became the American military’s primary target.  As America’s Vietnam Policy also stated, Herman wrote that targeting civilians was defined by the Sixth Principle of Nuremberg, formulated in 1950, as a war crime.[41]

Herman wrote that between 1965 and 1969, according to official American sources, the USA used 450 times as much ordnance in Vietnam as the NLF and Hanoi’s government did combined, that the USA dropped twice as much ordnance tonnage on Southeast Asia than it dropped on all nations during World War II, and in Vietnam, the USA dropped more than 500 pounds of ordnance for every person.[42]

Herman conservatively estimated more than one million Vietnamese civilian deaths from 1965 to 1969 and more than two million wounded, and he conservatively estimated that the USA was responsible for at least 80% of them; Herman quoted an informed American estimate that it was more than 99%.[43]  In Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky estimated that the death toll in Vietnam may have exceeded three million.[44]

In Atrocities in Vietnam, Herman engaged in the media analysis that became a standard feature of his work.  While the American government and media focused on the NLF’s killings of civilians, Herman’s analysis of news reports for 1966 found that about 1,000 South Vietnamese civilians were killed by accident by American forces in “friendly fire” incidents, which was equivalent to all South Vietnamese civilians killed by the NLF in 1966, according to estimates by South Vietnamese officials.[45]  Herman wrote that the NLF’s killings were specifically targeted toward collaborators with the Americans, while the USA’s killings targeted everybody.

Herman wrote that the USA engaged in a war of extermination against South Vietnam’s peasantry and engaged in a scorched-earth campaign that sought to make rural South Vietnam uninhabitable.  American tactics included using defoliants such as Agent Orange, specifically on crops.[46]  Herman quoted Admiral William Leahy’s refusal to stoop to the barbarity of attacking Japanese crops during World War II.[47]

Herman wrote that South Vietnamese officials reported that American soldiers were shooting at “everything that moves.”[48]  That observation was later confirmed by American soldiers, who stated that their orders were to “Kill everything that moves.”[49]

Herman quoted Orville Schell, who wrote:

 

“One Newsweek correspondent told me on returning from Quang Ngai that he was shocked by what was going on in the countryside.  Having had experience in Europe during World War II, he said that what he had seen was ‘much worse than what the Nazis had done to Europe.’”[50] 

 

In an early instance of his noting how the American media operated, Herman observed, as Schell did, that the correspondent did not get that revelation published in Newsweek.

Herman wrote that in light of the numerous massacres engaged in by American forces that began coming to the American public’s awareness, a standard defense of those activities was to call them unintentional side-effects of America’s noble efforts for Vietnamese self-determination, and that during the American establishment’s waning enthusiasm for the Vietnam War by 1970, the entire exercise was framed as an “accident.”  Herman replied to that logic with:

 

“The misleading character of the accident theory is evident from the fact that even now the ‘error’ involved from the standpoint of U.S. policy-makers and American leaders generally is neither one of purpose nor method – it is strictly a case of unexpectedly large expense.  For the U.S. leadership, in other words, Vietnam is simply another, painfully large ‘cost over-run.’  In terms of basic U.S. objectives and methods employed, in the Third World – essentially establishment of reliable client states, increasingly managed by military elites, with generous financial and military support (arms, advisors, Green Berets, and more extensive military intervention when junta control is threatened, as in Santo Domingo) – Vietnam is a facet of a completely rational policy.  The policy may be vicious and catastrophic, from the perspective of the Vietnamese; and it may be a sordid and disruptive waste of human and material resources from the standpoint of the real interests of the ordinary American; but to the Rostows, Westmorelands and Nixons, the Vietnam War is a noble endeavor (‘one of our finest moments’) that we cannot afford to abandon without achieving our original ends.  The evidence is compelling that this leadership is entirely capable of destroying every village in Vietnam (and in the process, every Vietnamese) if this is required to attain the original political objectives.”[51]

 

Belying any kind of humanitarian motivation behind the American invasion, Herman wrote of the intensely racist nature of the affair, such as when Captain Howard Turner explained how the “kill ratio” was kept high: take no prisoners.  Turner explained that, “Go out and kill the ‘gooks’ is the word they use around here.”[52]  Sergeant James Weeks served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 in a “free fire zone,” and described how he saw the Vietnamese:

 

“These people were all classified to us as ‘gooks.’  The girl at the PX is a gook; the peasant farmer is a gook…It makes it easier to kill when you come into contact with them, not referring to them as people, because you can kill a water buffalo, you can kill a monkey, you can kill a gook….It becomes very easy psychologically...”[53]

 

Herman later wrote at length about the “Mere Gook Rule” that described the extraordinary prosecutorial lenience that American soldiers were afforded for rape, murder, and other atrocities committed against the Vietnamese people.[54]  In his “Doublespeak Dictionary”, Herman defined the Mere Gook Rule as follows:

 

“The deaths and injuries of lesser breeds who stand in our way may be ignored in law and policy-making; technically, the marginal cost of a dead gook (Arab, etc.) is zero.  The rule is based on the fact that gooks do not value life and feel pain like we do; besides which, they stand in our way.”[55]

 

Another American propaganda device that Herman discussed was “captured documents,” which were “discovered” at fortuitous times for American publicity efforts, such as after its destruction of Huế, which was one of the greatest American atrocities of the war, as it reduced the city to rubble and left thousands of civilians dead.  More than a year later, a “captured document” was “miraculously discovered” in American government files, where it laid hidden for more than a year, in which the NLF boasted of murdering thousands of civilians.  The “discovery” happened soon after Hersh’s reporting of the My Lai massacre and during concerted attempts by North Vietnam to negotiate an end to the war.  Herman wrote that the American military-intelligence services forged many incriminating documents during the Vietnam War, and that Huế’s “captured document” was of dubious authenticity and was creatively translated at minimum.  Herman, with Chomsky, later reproduced the argument and evidence in Counter-Revolutionary Violence and The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism.[56]

Herman later mentioned that his experience with publishing Atrocities in Vietnam was his first encounter with corporate suppression, as it was remaindered soon after publishing and the book’s enthusiastic editor was “soon looking for another job.”[57]  The suppression of Atrocities in Vietnam was a relatively gentle prelude to Herman and Chomsky’s experience when they attempted to publish their Counter-Revolutionary Violence: Bloodbaths in Fact and Propaganda.

 

Suppression of Counter-Revolutionary Violence

Herman entered into his first collaboration with Chomsky when they wrote and in 1973 attempted to publish the monograph Counter-Revolutionary Violence: Bloodbaths in Fact and Propaganda (“CRV”), which was a study of the USA’s international behavior and the media’s reporting of it, particularly in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.  CRV’s thesis was that the USA, in its attempts to re-establish Western dominance over former European colonies as a response to postwar revolutions to overthrow colonial rule, became the world’s leading practitioner of violence in post-colonial nations. 

Herman wrote of his collaborations with Chomsky:

 

“My collaborations with Chomsky arose out of shared interests and views, and a perceived synergy in working together – we could meld together our individual ideas and ways of saying things, benefit from mutual editing, and get things done faster and better working collectively.  From the beginning we rarely saw one another, but had an active correspondence, exchanging papers and ideas and comments on the passing scene.”[58]

 

Chomsky and Herman began CRV by noting that the American political establishment headquartered in Washington, D.C., was highly selective about which “bloodbaths” elicited its concern.  They also noted that the political establishments in Moscow and Beijing had similar selective concern.[59]

Chomsky and Herman introduced a framework in CRV that became a hallmark of their work, which classified bloodbaths (and terrorist activities) in these categories of Washington D.C.’s regard:

 

 

Herman named those categories.[60]  Chomsky and Herman argued that the American treatment of bloodbaths was related to their political utility, regardless of the objective facts of such murders.  Benign bloodbaths were those that the USA’s political establishment had little strategic interest in and were often committed by friendly nations (and the USA regularly supplied the regimes committing the murders), constructive bloodbaths had strongly favorable results for American (primarily corporate) interests, nefarious bloodbaths were conducted by official enemies, and mythical bloodbaths either never happened or were minor events inflated into legendary status by government and media exaggeration, and was a subcategory of nefarious bloodbaths.

Chomsky and Herman contracted with Warner Modular, a recently acquired subsidiary of Warner Publishing, which was part of Warner Communications’s media conglomerate, to publish CRV.  Warner Modular was headquartered near Boston and published supplemental reading for university courses.  Warner Publishing’s president was William Sarnoff, nephew of radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff, who had business experience but was new to publishing. 

Warner Modular’s publisher, Claude McCaleb, had spent his career publishing books for universities, and CRV was planned as part of a series of works that studied American institutions, which McCaleb believed would be timely after the Watergate scandal.  Warner Modular had prepared ads to run in various periodicals that promoted CRV, in anticipation of an upcoming convention of the American Sociological Association in New York City.  Sarnoff saw the ads come across his desk and called McCaleb.  Sarnoff asked if CRV would be another Pentagon Papers that would create negative publicity for Warner.  McCaleb replied that it was not a document leak, but was the effort of two prominent professors that analyzed publicly available material.

Two hours later, Sarnoff called again and instructed McCaleb to bring an advance copy of CRV to Warner Publishing’s headquarters at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City (since advance copies were not yet available, McCaleb was instructed to deliver the manuscript).  McCaleb flew to New York that night, delivered CRV’s manuscript at Warner Publishing’s headquarters the next morning, and attended the American Sociological Association’s conference to await the advance copies of CRV that would be distributed to the conference.  The first printing of CRV, of 10,000 copies, was just issuing from the presses.

At Warner Modular’s booth at the convention, McCaleb received a call from Sarnoff’s office, which instructed him to immediately report to Warner Publishing’s headquarters.  Upon arrival, McCaleb was met by Sarnoff, who proceeded to verbally attack McCaleb for publishing CRV.  Sarnoff agreed that CRV was not libelous, but said that it was “full of lies” and not worthy of publication by Warner.  McCaleb reminded Sarnoff of the arrangement that they had when McCaleb was hired: he and his staff were given discretion to select what to publish, and that their sales levels would measure their success.  Sarnoff dismissed McCaleb’s argument by stating that the arrangement did not cover works that were “worthless and full of lies.”  Sarnoff charged that left-wing authors dominated Warner Modular’s catalog.  McCaleb replied that conservative writers were also represented, and that Warner Modular had planned to publish works by Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

Sarnoff then canceled the ads for CRV, ordered the destruction of the Warner Modular catalog that listed them, and announced that he would not release one copy of CRV to anybody.  When McCaleb replied that such an outrageous move would shock Warner Modular’s staff and the publishing world, Sarnoff replied that he did not “give a damn what I, my staff, the authors, or the academic community thought and ended by saying that we should destroy the entire inventory of CRV.”[61]

Warner Modular attempted a compromise solution by offering to reprint a series of articles that supported the USA’s counter-revolutionary violence, which Warner Publishing reluctantly accepted.  Chomsky and Herman noted that books that promoted establishment views were never subjected to such “balance” requirements before publishing.  However, before CRV was published, Warner Publishing decided to shut down Warner Modular and its inventory was sold to an obscure company affiliated with the Warner conglomerate.  There was almost no way that the public could even find out anything about CRV, much less purchase it, and other than copies obtained by Radical America, a publication with a small readership, no sales of CRV were ever made.  All but 500 copies of CRV’s 20,000 copies were destroyed.[62]  Despite its suppression in the USA, it was translated into several European languages, had two printings in France by the time that The Washington Connection was printed, and CRV's suppression became a "minor cause celebre" in France.

Sarnoff’s destroying his own company to prevent a work’s publication was one of the most notorious cases of Western censorship in the late 20th century.  When Ben Bagdikian contacted Sarnoff to ask whether McCaleb’s account of the scandal agreed with his, Sarnoff’s reply was one word, “No!,” and he declined to elaborate any further.[63]  Chomsky and Herman’s work on that subject was not fully published until 1979.

 

The Political Economy of Human Rights

Herman and Chomsky’s first uncensored collaboration was “Saigon’s Corruption Crisis: The Search for an Honest Quisling”, published in 1974.[64]  The article discussed the American government’s intractable problem in Vietnam: finding a puppet who was not corrupt, in order to change the image of the regimes in Vietnam and renew generous funding from Congress.

In 1977, previews of Chomsky and Herman’s next collaboration appeared in various publications.  One was a preview of the first two chapters of The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism.[65]  Herman’s writings were published in Monthly Review over several decades.  Another was on the American media’s treatment of postwar Indochina, and particularly Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge’s victory in 1975, when little confirmable information on Cambodia’s situation was available to the West.[66]

In 1979, Chomsky and Herman published the two-volume The Political Economy of Human Rights; The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism was the first volume, and After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology was the second.  The combined works greatly expanded on CRV.  The preface of The Washington Connection established the theme of those two works, which contrasted the facts of the USA’s international behavior with the popularly held beliefs about them in the USA.

 

The Washington Connection

Chomsky and Herman began The Washington Connection with:

 

“The common view that internal freedom makes for humane and moral international behavior is supported neither by evidence nor by reason.  The United States has a long history of imposing oppressive terrorist regimes in regions of the world within the reach of its power, such as the Caribbean and Central American sugar and banana republics […].  Since World War II, with the great extension of U.S. power, it has borne a heavy responsibility for the spread of a plague of neofascism, state terrorism, torture and repression throughout large parts of the undeveloped world.  The United States has globalized the ‘banana republic.’  This has occurred despite some modest ideological strain because the developments serve the needs of powerful and dominant interests, state and private, within the United States itself.”[67]

 

The facts asserted by the authors were that the USA had “organized under its sponsorship and protection a neocolonial system of client states ruled mainly by terror and serving the interests of a small local and foreign business and military elite.”

The beliefs asserted by the authors, which they called an “ideological pretense,” were that the “United States is committed to furthering the cause of democracy and human rights throughout the world, although it may occasionally err in the pursuit of this objective.”[68]

Chomsky and Herman noted that between 1960 and the publication of their work in 1979, more than 18 Latin American governments had been subjected to military takeovers, and that the USA was essential to the overthrow process in all of those nations.[69]  The authors wrote that torture had been no more than a historical curiosity in recent centuries, but suddenly flourished in the “free world” while it had simultaneously declined in the Soviet domain after Stalin’s death.

The inner cover of The Washington Connection presented a diagram of nations that routinely tortured their citizenry during the 1970s.  That diagram listed the 35 nations that practiced torture on an administrative basis, and 26 (74%) of them were client states of the USA.  The diagram also presented the amount of military aid provided by the USA to those torturer regimes from 1946 to 1975, which amounted to many billions of dollars, as well as how many of those nations’ military and police personnel were trained by the USA from 1950 to 1975, a count which exceeded 200,000 people.  The authors noted that 35,000 Latin American officers had been trained at the School of the Americas, which was known in Latin America as the “school of coups.”[70]  The School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, became infamous for running a torture school, and long after The Washington Connection was published, the Pentagon declassified some of its training manuals, which advocated torture and described torture techniques.[71]

A recurrent theme in Chomsky and Herman’s work was that a reason for unthinking acceptance of the idea of the USA’s good intentions in its international behavior is the relative freedom of its domestic society.  In a section of The Washington Connection titled, “Brainwashing under freedom,” Chomsky and Herman wrote: “As should be obvious from the most cursory examination of history […] internal freedom is quite compatible with exploitative and even inhumane external conduct extending over many decades.”[72]  The authors provided examples of that phenomenon: Ancient Athens’s aggressive military behavior, when it was the inventor of democracy, and Western Europe’s plundering of humanity on multiple continents from the 17th to 20th centuries, even though its societies were relatively open.

In The Washington Connection, Chomsky and Herman argued that the term “terror,” as used by the American media, was a political construct applied only to violence committed by marginal groups, even American students who protested the Vietnam War, while state terror, which was immensely more destructive, was defined away as not being terror at all, but was described by euphemisms such as “police action,” “protective action,” and similar terms, even while incidents of government violence in Cuba and Cambodia were deemed “terroristic.”[73]

Chomsky and Herman surveyed the CIA’s methods of subversion, including:

 

  1. Assassinating foreign leaders, including heads of state;

  2. “Direct conspiracies with terrorists, mercenaries or (usually) military factions within a country to disrupt or overthrow a government in disfavor”;

  3. “Political bribery and funding foreign politicians”;

  4. Propaganda, in a “wide variety of forms”;

  5. Organizing and funding demonstrations;

  6. Actual information collection, which was its primary official function in its charter, but it routinely provided that information to those torturer regimes and the CIA’s proxies for harrying and overthrowing governments.[74]

 

A theme throughout The Washington Connection was that those activities had the singular purpose of providing a favorable investment climate for American interests, primarily transnational corporations.  Chomsky and Herman asserted that torture, slaughter, even genocide, and terror was performed with the objective of cowing a populace into apathy and submission so that foreign interests could plunder the labor and natural resources of those subject nations.[75]

A generation later, John Perkins described those activities from the inside, as a member of a middle management that called themselves “economic hit men,” and who openly acknowledged among themselves that their purpose was to exploit the labor and resources of subject nations.  When people such as Perkins failed to get foreign leaders to sell out their nations to transnational corporations, then the “jackals” (covert operatives, usually CIA contract agents) were sent in, often to assassinate foreign heads of state.  Among Perkins’s clients were populist leaders of Panama and Ecuador, Omar Torrijos and Jaime Roldós, and after the economic hit men unsuccessfully tried to get them to sell out their nations to the “corporatocracy,” both men soon died in aircraft “accidents” that Perkins strongly believed were jackal operations.[76]

Chomsky and Herman wrote that the CIA-enabled Latin American dictatorships had similarities to Nazi Germany, partly due to the CIA’s use of Nazis, particularly those who fled to Latin America after World War II, often with American assistance and protection, but with some important exceptions.  Anti-Semitism was rarely evident in the ideology of those Latin American dictatorships, although Argentina was an exception, with its long history of anti-Semitism.  More importantly, unlike European fascism, the Latin American variant had no popular support.  The regimes were “denationalized” and had no allegiance to their domestic populations, but instead were beholden to their foreign sponsors, so that they treated the domestic populations as their enemies.  Accordingly, the authors termed those regimes “subfascist.”[77]  The authors noted that the phenomenon of American-supported subfascist regimes was far from confined to Latin America, but was the typical situation in American client states globally.

In The Washington Connection, Chomsky and Herman described how the American mass media operated, and included a brief discussion of the features of what became their Propaganda Model, which was further developed in their Manufacturing Consent.[78]  In an early example of Chomsky and Herman’s analyses of the media’s disparity of treatment was a section of The Washington Connection titled, “Cambodia: Why the Media Find It More Newsworthy Than Indonesia and East Timor.”  Chomsky and Herman explicitly made their arguments about the Cambodian slaughter in the 1970s; they were framed in the American media’s treatment of it, as they stated:

 

“Even today, as regards East Timor, where our brutal Indonesian satellite (authors of the 1965-1966 butcheries) have very possibly killed as many people as did the Khmer Rouge, there is a virtually complete blackout of information in the Free Press.  This is a bloodbath carried out by a friendly power and is thus of little interest to our leaders.  It is a ‘benign bloodbath’ in our terminology.”[79]

 

In The Washington Connection, Chomsky and Herman provided more examples of their framework of constructive, benign, nefarious, and mythical terror and bloodbaths, and they considerably expanded on their discussions of CRV’s bloodbaths.  In addition to the terror and bloodbaths discussed in CRV, The Washington Connection contained these additional events:

 

 

Chomsky and Herman provided voluminous details, context, and ironic asides regarding those events.  As an example, in the early days of Marcos’s subfascist terror regime in the Philippines, it routinely tortured dissidents, such as Trinidad Herrera, who organized protests in a squatter community near Manila, but was released after an international outcry that finally spurred the State Department to intervene to obtain her release.  The testimonies of the Marcos regime’s torture victims became a public relations problem, so Marcos’s regime graduated to a “more advanced subfascist process” in which dissidents then began simply disappearing, never living to describe their treatment.[80]  The authors described a similar process in Thailand, in which “disappeared” dissidents (such as protesting students) were disposed of by incineration, even while the victims were still alive.[81]  Chomsky and Herman repeatedly noted that after successful constructive terror, American investment would pour into subject nations, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, as those nations became investors’ paradises.

Chomsky and Herman, in a preview of Manufacturing Consent, described how the American media facilitated those activities, such as the Times’s writings regarding the East Timorese genocide, and particularly that of its Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, Henry Kamm, who uncritically promoted the Indonesian government’s propaganda as it slaughtered the East Timorese in its unprovoked invasion.[82]  As the genocide in East Timor reached its peak, the American media went completely silent, which Chomsky later said reached the level of actual complicity in genocide.[83] 

In an early example of the pairing analysis of media performance that Herman and Chomsky made famous in Manufacturing Consent, they noted that the trial of Soviet dissident Anatoly Shcharansky received more American media coverage in 1978 than the collective coverage of several thousand murders inflicted by Latin American client regimes in the same year.[84]

Chomsky and Herman regularly noted the media’s irrationality in its reporting, such as how it engaged in the logical fallacy known as false alternatives, in which people who opposed the American invasion of Vietnam on principle were called “supporters of Hanoi.”[85]  The authors described at length American president Jimmy Carter’s hypocrisy as a “human rights” advocate when it came to how American client regimes treated their domestic populations, such as in American-supported dictatorships in Nicaragua and Iran, as well as Carter’s presiding over what is likely the greatest proportional genocide since World War II, as his administration renewed weapons sales to Indonesia when it began running out of bullets.[86]  The authors wrote that the USA was far from alone in supporting the Indonesian genocide in East Timor, as several Western nations provided various forms of assistance, including France and notably the United Kingdom (“UK”); British Aerospace sold $25 million of counterinsurgency attack aircraft to Indonesia in 1978, which would have only been used on East Timor at that time.[87]  Western oil companies lined up in the wake of the invasion to negotiate oil exploration rights around Timor Gap.[88]

Chomsky and Herman wrote at length about the USA’s operations in Vietnam, including mass murder programs such as Operation Speedy Express and the Phoenix Program.[89]  Details of the American operations were provided by examples such as the Congressional testimony of K. Barton Osborn, who:

 

“[…] served in a covert program of intelligence in Vietnam, [and] not only testified to a wide variety of forms of torture used by U.S. and Saigon personnel, but also made the startling claim that ‘I never knew an individual to be detained as a VC [NLF] suspect who ever lived through an interrogation in a year and a half, and that included quite a number of individuals.’”[90]

 

Vietnamese land reform in the 1950s was a dismantling of an economic order that exploited peasants, as had been happening throughout the Third World since World War II, but it was also an endemic issue in agrarian societies, going back to the first civilizations.  The most credible estimates were that the communist leadership in North Vietnam executed perhaps 2,000 people during its land reform activities, and up to 15,000 died in total, partly due to peasant revenge.  However, in late 1969, Nixon announced that 50,000 people had been executed by North Vietnam’s communist leadership.  Several months later, Nixon said that the number was “hundreds of thousands,” and a month later, when huge protests were held across the USA in response to Nixon’s announcement that the USA was bombing Cambodia, Nixon announced that “a half a million, by conservative estimates…were murdered or otherwise exterminated by the North Vietnamese.”[91]  Nixon’s steady death inflation was made to bolster his claims that the North Vietnamese would massacre millions of South Vietnamese if they ever ruled over South Vietnam, and preventing a communist bloodbath became his rallying cry.  Vietnamese land reform became one of Chomsky and Herman’s mythical bloodbaths.

Nixon’s false statements about Vietnamese land reform and warnings against communist bloodbaths were part of a longstanding ideological construct that the USA was preventing or containing communist “aggression.”  In that framework, the USA was never the aggressor, but was responding to or preventing communist aggression.  That stance became known as “containment,” and was the USA’s official rationale for the Cold War.  Herman and Chomsky devoted a significant portion of their political writings to arguing that the “containment” policy was pure propaganda, and that the USA never felt threatened by communist expansion from the Soviet Union or China.  Herman and Chomsky argued that peasant nations freeing themselves from centuries of colonial domination by Europe would no longer be subjected to capitalist-imperialist exploitation, and that was the real threat that the USA addressed with its foreign policy.

In his Beyond Hypocrisy, Herman wrote about the fictions that the containment policy was founded on, and he analyzed National Security Council Report 68 (“NSC-68”), prepared just before the Korean War in 1950.[92]  NSC-68 was a planning document for American leadership, and its author, Paul Nitze, had a lengthy career and advised the Reagan administration more than 30 years later.  NSC-68 frankly recognized Soviet weakness as it recovered from more than 20 million deaths in World War II.  NSC-68 made explicit plans to subtly attack the Soviet Union, first by stripping away its satellites, and then to subvert the Soviet Union itself.  NSC-68, like the Reagan administration’s “Defense Guidance, 1984-1988” report, authored by the Pentagon, openly acknowledged Soviet weakness and how to aggressively exploit it.

NSC-68, declassified in 1975 by Henry Kissinger, acknowledged that in order to subvert the Soviet Union, the USA needed a large military and mobilized public.  Herman wrote:

 

“Doublespeak embedded in a convenient matrix of anticommunist ideology was essential, as the U.S. establishment was obliged to pretend (or internalize the belief) that the huge global expansion of the U.S. political economy on which they had embarked was ‘defensive’ and responsive to some external threat; that we were ‘containing’ somebody else who was committing ‘aggression’ and threatening our ‘national security.’

“The words and phrases ‘defense,’ ‘containment,’ ‘aggression,’ and ‘national security’ are core items of the doublespeak lexicon, essential ingredients of the ink squirted out by imperial cuttlefish.”[93]

 

Nitze was a leading foreign policy hawk, and the leading dove of the early postwar years, George Kennan, authored Policy Planning Study 23 (“PPS-23”) for the U.S. State Department in 1948, the year after the USA renamed its War Department to the Defense Department.  PPS-23 was declassified in 1974.  Kennan made infamous observations in PPS-23, including:

 

“Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population.  This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia.  In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment.  Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security.  To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.  We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.

“[…] We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice.  We should cease to talk about vague and - for the Far East - unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization.  The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.  The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

 

Kennan was the author of the USA’s “containment policy,” but Kennan wrote in 1985:

 

“In no way did the Soviet Union appear, at that moment, as a military threat to this country.  The Soviet Union was utterly exhausted by the exertions and sacrifices of the recent war.”[94]

 

In the 1960s, Kennan lectured on the idea that when the USA created NATO:

 

“[…] they had drawn a line arbitrarily across Europe against an attack no one was planning,” and Kennan admitted that there was really ‘nothing to contain.”[95]

 

Herman and Chomsky repeatedly wrote about American policymakers in the early postwar years and what the real game was, which was openly admitted in their top-secret planning documents.[96]

 

After the Cataclysm

In Chomsky and Herman’s After the Cataclysm, their emphasis was exploring how the American media system focused on events in Indochina after the American withdrawal, and how it helped reconstruct the USA’s imperial ideology.  According to the authors, the American bludgeoning of Southeast Asia, which caused several million deaths, had to be framed as a noble cause gone awry instead of an imperial undertaking.  They argued that the USA’s media engaged in the task of transforming the USA from perpetrator to a concerned spectator with clean hands that could righteously moralize about the failings of its victims, as it falsely portrayed them as the victims of others, as if the USA had no responsibility for how events unfolded in postwar Indochina, even as it actively prevented aid from reaching its victims.

In After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman made their stance explicit, writing in the book’s first paragraph:

 

“We will consider the facts about postwar Indochina insofar as they can be ascertained, but a major emphasis will be on the ways in which these facts have been interpreted, filtered, distorted or modified by the ideological institutions in the West.”[97]

 

Chomsky and Herman wrote about how American pundits immediately began characterizing the American invasion of Indochina as a mistake, not a crime, and how the media endlessly repeated the idea that the USA’s intention was to protect the freedom of South Vietnam’s peasants.  Chomsky and Herman quoted the New York Times’s leading “dovish” pundit on the Vietnam War, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Anthony Lewis, who wrote:

 

“The early American decisions on Indochina can be regarded as blundering efforts to do good.  But by 1969 it was clear to most of the world – and most Americans – that the intervention had been a disastrous mistake.”[98]

 

That became the standard theme of American apologists.  The USA was not attacking Vietnam, but defending it, in its “blundering efforts to do good.”[99]  Chomsky and Herman wrote that reframing crimes as “mistakes” and “errors” had rich precedence; they quoted Klaus Barbie, also known as the Butcher of Lyon, during his comfortable retirement in Bolivia, courtesy of the USA, after rendering his services to the Third Reich:

 

“[…] the mass killings of Jews constituted a grave error.  Many of us SS officers believed that the Jews could have been put to better use building roads to facilitate the advance of our troops.”[100] 

 

Chomsky and Herman wrote that as Hermann Goering was being interrogated at Nuremberg after the Nazis were defeated, he said that the genocide of the Jews was not a crime, but a:

 

“[…] vast political blunder; many would have made good nationalists and joined in the Liquidation of the communists.  If only Hitler had not confused the issues […].”[101]

 

Chomsky and Herman surveyed what became the USA after its Revolutionary War, and France after World War II.  In postwar France, between 30,000 and 50,000 French citizens were summarily executed, often by mobs, generally for the alleged crime of Nazi collaboration, and such murders happened while France was under the authority of Dwight Eisenhower, and he had Winston Churchill’s approval, as Eisenhower implemented Franklin Roosevelt’s directive.[102]  In the American Revolutionary War, the relative affluence of Americans muted the barbarities that typically plague postwar situations, but Chomsky and Herman noted that about 100,000 loyal British subjects were driven from the colonies by the revolutionaries, and that massacres were common between loyalists and rebels.  About 20% of the colonial population, about a half million in all, were loyalists to the British crown.  Chomsky and Herman used those postwar examples, both of which had minimal suffering compared to what the Vietnamese people endured, in order to calibrate what the postwar experience in Vietnam could have been like.[103]

Contrary to Nixon’s warnings of a communist bloodbath in postwar Vietnam, the bloodbath never happened.  In their chapter on postwar Vietnam, Chomsky and Herman wrote about how the American media portrayed the events in Vietnam in the harshest possible light.  The testimonies of many credible Western witnesses, who noted positive developments in Vietnam’s recovery from the American invasion, were disregarded in favor of the testimony of a French priest, André Gelinas, who served in Vietnam and made fanciful and lurid claims, such as that the Vietnamese people wished that the USA would drop atomic weapons on them, to end the scourge of communism once and for all.[104]  Virtually none of Gelinas’s claims could be independently verified, and when they could be subjected to verification, the findings demonstrated that Gelinas was far from a reliable witness.  The authors wrote that a great deal of credible Western testimony, such as from Quakers, Mennonites, relief workers, and UN officials, was entirely disregarded by the American media in favor of Gelinas’s fabrications, which were prominently published in the Washington Post, the Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications.[105] 

Chomsky and Herman wrote that few nations on Earth really helped much with reconstructing Indochina after the USA ravaged it, and noted that when help was given, it was invariably done over the objections of the USA, as it tried to prevent Indochina from receiving any assistance as it recovered.  Most of Indochina’s draft animals were killed in the wars, the lack of which saw farmers pulling plows in the aftermath of the American invasion.  When India sent 100 water buffaloes to Vietnam to help replenish its decimated herds, India had to route its donation through the Indian Red Cross, to avoid American retribution, as the USA outlawed any nation’s aid from going to communist-ruled Vietnam or Cuba.[106]

Chomsky and Herman summarized how the American ideological system operates, which became a prominent theme in their work:

 

“The beauty of the democratic system of thought control, as contrasted with their clumsy totalitarian counterparts, is that they operate by subtly establishing on a voluntary basis – aided by the forces of nationalism and media control by substantial interests – presuppositions that set the limits of debate, rather than by imposing beliefs with a bludgeon.  Then let the debate rage; the more lively and vigorous it is, the better the propaganda system is served, since the presuppositions (U.S. benevolence, lack of rational imperial goals, defensive posture, etc.) are more firmly established.  Those who do not accept the fundamental principles of state propaganda are simply excluded from the debate (or if noticed, dismissed as ‘emotional,’ ‘irresponsible,’ etc.).”[107]

 

In After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman called an early version of what became their Propaganda Model a “general theory of the Free Press […].”[108] 

Many thousands of Indochinese farmers and others were killed by exploding ordnance that did not initially detonate when the USA dropped it on Indochina, as well as leftover American mines.  Laotian Vice-Foreign Minister Khamphay Boupha met with the American official in charge of postwar Indochinese relations, Frederick Brown, and Boupha concluded his summation of the meeting with:

 

“The US has dropped 3 million tons of bombs – one ton per head – forced 700,000 people to abandon their fields; thousands of people were killed and maimed, and the unexploded ordnance continues to take its toll.  Surely the US does not show humanitarian concern by refusing to heal the wounds of war.” 

 

Boupha ironically observed that Brown not only dismissed the idea of any forthcoming aid, but that the USA “forced Thailand to close the border.”[109]

Chomsky and Herman wrote at length on Christian Science Monitor, as it repeated the propaganda about postwar Indochina as uncritically as the rest of the media did, while it portrayed itself as a publication of high-minded thought on foreign affairs.[110]

The largest chapter in After the Cataclysm was on postwar Cambodia.  That chapter became the basis for an international campaign to falsely portray Chomsky and, to a lesser extent, Herman, as apologists for the Khmer Rouge and defenders or deniers of the resultant genocide in Cambodia.

Chomsky and Herman repeated throughout After the Cataclysm that their concern was the media’s treatment of postwar Cambodia, for example:

 

“As in the other cases discussed, our primary concern here is not to establish the facts with regard to postwar Indochina, but rather to investigate their refraction through the prism of Western ideology, a very different task.”[111]

 

Chomsky and Herman wrote that Time magazine, in preparation for an article on Cambodia (“Cambodia: An Experiment in Genocide”, July 31, 1978) had approached Chomsky to elicit his support for the Khmer Rouge regime.  Instead, Chomsky replied to Time with a partial list of fabrications about the Cambodian situation that Time and other American publications were responsible for.[112]  Time’s article did not name any “political theorists” who defended “the Cambodian tragedy” and Khmer Rouge atrocities because, as Chomsky and Herman noted, Time could not find any.[113]

Chomsky and Herman wrote about Cambodia:

 

“It is a common error, as we have pointed out several times, to interpret opposition to U.S. intervention and aggression as support for the programs of its victims, a useful device for state propagandists but one that often has no basis in fact.”[114]

 

Chomsky and Herman wrote:

 

“Another common device is to thunder that the doves ‘had better explain’ why there has been a bloodbath, or ‘concede’ that their ‘support for the Communists’ – the standard term for opposition to U.S. subversion and aggression – was wrong; it is the critics who must, it is claimed, shoulder the responsibility for the consequences of U.S. intervention, not those who organized and supported it or concealed the facts concerning it for many years, and still do.

“It is, surely, not in doubt that it was U.S. intervention that inflamed a simmering civil struggle and brought the horrors of modern warfare to relatively peaceful Cambodia, at the same time arousing violent hatreds and a thirst for revenge in the demolished villages where the Khmer Rouge were recruited by the bombardment of the U.S. and its local clients.  Matters have reached such a point that a social democratic journal can organize a symposium on the quite astounding question of whether opposition to the U.S. war on Indochina should be reassessed, given the consequences in Cambodia.”[115] 

 

Chomsky and Herman replied to that logic with:

 

“Evidently, the question can be raised only if one accepts two assumptions:

  1. the U.S. intervention in Indochina would have prevented a Cambodian bloodbath or was designed for this purpose;

  2. the United States has the right to use force and violence to prevent potential crimes – and thus, a fortiori, to resort to force to prevent actual crimes by invading Indonesia, much of Latin America, etc.

“It is difficult to decide which of the two assumptions that are jointly required for the question even to be raised is the more absurd.”[116]

 

In their chapter on postwar Cambodia, Herman and Chomsky repeated their theme from The Washington Connection, on the disparity between the media’s treatments of Cambodia and East Timor, such as:

 

“A few months after Khieu Samphan’s now famous ‘admission’ that his regime was responsible for the deaths of about one-sixth of the population of Cambodia, Indonesian Prime Minister Adam Malik admitted that 50-80,000 people, close to the same percentage of the population, had been killed in East Timor in the course of what the Indonesia propaganda ministry and the New York Times called the ‘civil war’ – that is, the U.S. backed Indonesian invasion and massacre – though one would not have discovered that fact from the U.S. media.  While Khieu Samphan’s ‘admission’ was concocted by the media and scholarship on the basis of remarks that quite possibly were never made, Malik’s admission, by contrast, was clear and explicit.  A comparison of media reaction to the actual admission by Malik and the concocted ‘admission’ by Samphan gives some insight into what lies behind the machinations of the Free Press.”[117]

 

Chomsky and Herman wrote at length about the tragedy of Cambodia and what caused it, and they noted that contrary to the “gentle land” description of pre-war Cambodia found in the media, Cambodia had long been torn by strife, particularly by France’s brutal imperial reign.[118]  Chomsky and Herman wrote on subjects completely neglected by the American media regarding Cambodia, such as the idea that Nixon and Kissinger’s escalation of bombing in 1973 not only created the conditions that brought the Khmer Rouge to power, but that it may have been an intentional outcome; the authors gave due consideration to Michael Vickery’s explanation:

 

“Vickery points out that the Kissinger-Nixon policy during the last two years of the war was a ‘major mystery,’ for which he suggests an explanation that appears to us quite plausible.  Referring to the ‘Sonnenfeldt Doctrine,’ which holds that ‘pluralistic and libertarian Communist regimes will breed leftist ferment in the West,’ he suggests that ‘when it became clear [to U.S. leaders] that they could not win in Cambodia, they preferred to do everything possible to ensure that the post-war revolutionary government be extremely brutal, doctrinaire, and frightening to its neighbors, rather than a moderate socialism to which the Thai, for example, might look with envy.’  In short, though it was understood that the United States had lost the war in Cambodia (even though it was, quite clearly, still trying to win it in Vietnam), the destruction of rural Cambodia, by imposing the harshest possible conditions on the eventual victors, would serve two classic ends: retarding social and economic progress, and maximizing the brutality of the eventual victors.  Then the aggressors would at least be able to reap a propaganda victory from the misery they had sown.”[119]

 

Chomsky and Herman wrote that before the 1973 bombing (the same year that Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize), the Khmer Rouge were far more moderate in their ideology.[120]  The authors quoted leading Cambodian scholar David Chandler, an American, who wrote:

 

“What drove Cambodians to kill?  Paying off old scores or imaginary ones played a part, but to a large extent, I think, American actions are to blame.  From 1969 to 1973, after all, we dropped more than 500,000 tons of bombs on the Cambodian countryside.  Nearly half of this tonnage fell in 1973 […].  In those few months, we may have driven thousands of people out of their minds.  We certainly accelerated the course of the revolution.  According to several accounts, the leadership hardened its ideology and got rid of wavering factions during 1973 and 1974.”[121]

 

Another neglected idea in the American media about Cambodia also applied to Vietnam, in that Indochina was comprised of peasant societies that had societal features that were markedly different from industrial ones.  Agrarian civilizations produced limited agricultural surpluses that could only support a small non-food-producing population, generally comprised of urban professionals and the elite, who coercively taxed the agrarian hinterlands to support the cities.  Cambodia’s and Vietnam’s cities had long been the headquarters for France’s colonial undertaking, and the USA’s epic bombing of Indochina was partly inflicted to drive the peasantry from their lands and into cities and “strategic hamlets,” to destroy the popular base of support for communism.  Without the huge influx of food to the cities of those war-torn nations, delivered by the USA, the artificial economies of Saigon and Phnom Penh would not have survived, and the urban dwellers would have soon starved to death.  The evacuations of Saigon and Phnom Pen to the countryside were largely a return of rural peasants who had been forced into the cities, in order to stave off starvation, especially when the USA prevented any foreign aid from reaching those nations. 

In addition, the longstanding conflict between rural and urban society in Indochina was greatly intensified by the American invasion, and Chomsky and Herman wrote that the brutal aftermath in Cambodia seemed to be largely due to peasant vengeance on urban residents that comprised the colonial elite under French and American rule.  The authors wrote that those historical dynamics contributed to the atrocities and brutal rule of the peasant-based Khmer Rouge.[122]  Chomsky and Herman also noted that early reports of atrocities in postwar Cambodia came from parts of the nation where the Khmer Rouge’s influence was the most limited, as the traumatized peasants engaged in prodigious score-settling, particularly against the wealthy and city-dwellers.[123]

Chomsky and Herman wrote that the primary account that Americans were familiar with regarding Phnom Penh’s evacuation was an article by John Barron and Anthony Paul in Reader’s Digest (and subsequent book) that depicted horrific suffering inflicted on the evacuated city dwellers by the Khmer Rouge.  Chomsky and Herman performed a detailed analysis of the Barron-Paul account of postwar Cambodia and concluded that it fell far short of a work of scholarly integrity.[124]

Shane Tarr, a New Zealander journalist, and his Cambodian wife participated in Phnom Penh’s evacuation.  Their account bore little resemblance to the Barron-Paul account, particularly regarding atrocities, which they never witnessed.  Their account was never given any Western media treatment, other than being sarcastically dismissed, and their account was far from alone in being ignored by the Western media, as it did not conform to the media’s preferred version.[125]

Near the end of After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman wrote:

 

“When the facts are in, it may well turn out that the more extreme condemnations were in fact correct.  But even if that turns out to be the case, it will in no way alter the conclusions we have reached on the central question addressed here: how the available facts were selected, modified, or sometimes invented to create a certain image offered to the general population.  The answer to this question seems clear, and it is unaffected by whatever may be discovered about Cambodia in the future.”[126]

 

Chomsky and Herman made it clear that their task was to focus on how the American media handled events such as the slaughters in Indonesia, East Timor, and Cambodia, not to support the regimes that might have slaughtered fewer people than their neighbors did.

In their final comments in After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman wrote:

 

“Our primary concern has been U.S. global policy and propaganda, and the filtering and distorting effect of Western ideology, not the problems of reconstruction and modernization in societies that have been victimized by Western imperialism.  Correspondingly, we have not developed or expressed our views here on the nature of the Indochinese regimes.  To assess the contemporary situation in Indochina and the programs of the current ruling groups is a worthwhile endeavor, but it has not been our current objective. […] The success of the Free Press in reconstructing imperial ideology since the U.S. withdrawal has been spectacular.  The shift of the United States from causal agent to bystander – and even to leader of the struggle for human rights – in the face of its empire of client fascism and long, vicious assault on the peasant societies of Indochina, is a remarkable achievement.  The system of brainwashing under freedom, with mass media voluntary self-censorship in accord with the larger interests of the state, has worked brilliantly.”[127]

 

In their subsequent Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky summarized the decade-long Cambodian catastrophe and the American media’s treatment of it:

 

“Phase I: From 1969 through 1975, U.S. bombing at a historically unprecedented level and a civil war sustained by the United States left the country in utter ruins.  Though Congress legislated an end to the bombing in August 1973, U.S. participation in the ongoing slaughter continued until the Khmer Rouge victory in April 1975 […] The vast numbers of Cambodians killed, injured, and traumatized in that period were, in our conception […] ‘unworthy victims.’”

“Phase II: From April 1975 through 1978 Cambodia was subjected to the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge, overthrown by the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in December 1978 […] the Pol Pot era is the ‘holocaust’ that was widely compared to the worst atrocities of Hitler and Stalin, virtually from the outset, with massive publicity and outrage at the suffering of these ‘worthy’ victims.”

“Phase III: Vietnam installed the Heng Samrin regime in power in Cambodia, but the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) coalition, based primarily on the Khmer Rouge, maintained international recognition apart from the Soviet Bloc.  Reconstructed with the aid of China and the United States on the Thai-Cambodia border and in Thai bases, the Khmer Rouge guerillas, the only effective DK military force, continued to carry out activities in Cambodia of a sort called ‘terrorist’ when a friendly government is the target […] Phase III renewed the status of the people of Cambodia as worthy victims, suffering under Vietnamese rule.”[128]

 

Terrorism and the Western media

In their initial collaborations, Herman and Chomsky wrote about “benign” and “constructive” terror, and devoted two chapters to the concept in The Washington Connection.[129]  In 1982, Herman published The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda, which was a study of terrorist activities and the Western media’s treatment of them.  The theme of The Real Terror Network was similar to Herman’s Atrocities in Vietnam, in that terror engaged in by American client states was defined out of existence in the mass media’s lexicon, although it was often at least an order of magnitude greater than the terrorist acts of its victims.

Herman began The Real Terror Network with a quote from George Savile, who wrote, “A man that should call everything by its right name would hardly pass the streets without being knocked down as a common enemy.”[130]

In The Real Terror Network, Herman provided the dictionary definition of “terror”, which is: “[…] a mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation.”[131]  Herman wrote that the Pinochet regime in Chile and the Garcia regime in Guatemala easily met the dictionary definition of terrorist organizations, but because they were American client states while committing their terrorist acts, the American media defined those crimes out of existence.  When their terrorist acts, including mass murders, could no longer be completely ignored, those acts were described in the American media by evasive language, including maintaining “security” and “stability.”

Herman wrote that Israel had a special place in the American media’s reporting, being portrayed as victims of terrorism, when its former Prime Minister, Moshe Sharett, frankly wrote that Israel’s violence was primarily offensive in nature, with many fabricated reasons given for its attacks, and Sharett even wrote that those crimes were Israel’s “sacred terrorism.”[132]

In a later work, The Terrorism Industry, Herman and Gerry O’Sullivan wrote that the Israeli state’s terrorist acts claimed more than 20 times as many lives as Palestinian terrorist acts, but with state-terror being defined out of existence for American client states, Israeli terror was never called that in the American mass media.[133]

 

Demonstration elections and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II

In the mid-1980s, Herman wrote two books with Frank Brodhead: Demonstration Elections and The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection.  The theme of Demonstration Elections was that the USA used so-called “free elections” as a public relations tool of American foreign policy when, by objective measures, the elections were not free at all, but only provided the illusion of freedom as a way of promoting the USA’s foreign policy interventions to the American public.  Herman and Brodhead argued that the USA mounted demonstration elections in some of Earth’s most repressive regimes, in which the elections served to justify elite rule and state terrorism.  Herman and Brodhead presented case studies of such elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El Salvador; the authors compared elections in those client regimes to an election in an enemy regime in Poland, and noted their similarities; none bore any resemblance to a truly free election.[134] 

The authors also examined the American mass media’s treatment of those elections, and wrote that a “demonstration election is a media event above all else.”[135]  Herman and Brodhead wrote that the American media could present openly fraudulent elections in glowing terms, and they contrasted the American media’s treatment of American client-state elections with a Soviet-sponsored demonstration election in Poland.  While the American media was incensed over Lech Walesa’s arrest, the murders of 76 officials of the Christian Democratic Party in Guatemala in 1980-81 were “treated very matter-of-factly if at all.”[136]

In Demonstration Elections, Herman presented a “Glossary of Current Orwellian Usage,” which was expanded in his “Doublespeak Dictionary” in a subsequent book, Beyond Hypocrisy.  Herman’s glossary defined a demonstration election as, “A circus held in a client state to assure the population of the home country that their intrusion is well received.  The results are guaranteed by an adequate supply of bullets well in advance.  (See Free Election)”.  Herman defined a free election as, “A post-pacification election, in which the ‘hearts and minds’ of the survivors are shown to have been won over by the force of pure reason.”

In Herman and Brodhead’s subsequent collaboration, The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection, they analyzed the Western media’s coverage of the trial of Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turkish terrorist who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981.  While the American media continually emphasized Soviet involvement in the “conspiracy” to kill the Pope, the three Bulgarian and six Turkish defendants were acquitted in 1986 for a lack of evidence.  Herman and Brodhead wrote that the so-called “Bulgarian Connection” only arose after Agca’s interrogation in solitary confinement, and that his confessional testimony, which reflected mental illness, such as his claiming to be Jesus Christ at the beginning of his trial, was the only evidence presented by the Italian prosecution.  The authors specifically credited the Italian secret service for the unfounded allegations, which were first reported in a document created a week after the assassination attempt and included the accusations that Agca trained in the Soviet Union and that a Soviet official had announced the plot to other Warsaw Pact nations, which Herman and Brodhead concluded was “pure disinformation.”[137]

The authors argued that the evidence for a Bulgarian conspiracy and, by extension, Soviet sponsorship, was always weak-to-non-existent, but the American media, guided by the CIA, treated wild and groundless accusations as fact, and they named Claire Sterling, Paul Henze, and Michael Ledeen as the primary American writers who promoted the Bulgarian Connection. 

Herman and Brodhead presented evidence that the attempted assassination of John Paul II likely was a conspiracy, but was mounted by a Turkish terrorist organization, the Gray Wolves, which Agca belonged to, and that the Gray Wolves was a CIA-sponsored organization.[138]  The authors wrote that, “the links of the CIA to the […] Gray Wolves were easily as impressive as any […] Gray Wolves connections to the Bulgarians.”[139]  In 1991, former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman disclosed to the Senate Intelligence Committee that his colleagues had purposely altered their reports to suggest Soviet involvement in the assassination plot, but they knew that there was “no evidence” of Soviet involvement, as the CIA had penetrated the Bulgarian secret services.  The Times did not judge Goodman’s testimony fit to print.[140]

Herman and Brodhead wrote that since the acquittal of the defendants, the American media quietly dropped the matter.  The authors wrote that far from the media’s suffering any consequences for irresponsibly supporting such flimsy allegations: “U.S. and western power and media domination are so great that lies can be institutionalized as myths and can remain effective even after exposure.”[141]

 

Manufacturing Consent and the propaganda model

Herman’s framework of analysis in Corporate Control, Corporate Power, in which competing interests would still unite on the mutually beneficial goal of maximizing corporate profit and power, was a precursor to his and Chomsky’s propaganda model (“PM”), of which Herman was the primary creator.[142]

In 1986, Herman wrote a chapter of Communicating Politics: Mass Communications and the Political Process, titled “Gatekeeper versus Propaganda Models: A Critical American Perspective.”[143]  In that essay, Herman discussed the “newsroom gatekeeper models,” which focused on newsroom influences on the news process, but which tended to ignore other forces at work.  Herman incorporated those underemphasized forces into his nascent PM, which included the ownership, advertiser, and news source filters that his and Chomsky’s PM would later include.  Herman also discussed the anti-Soviet ideological influence, including the Red Scare of 1919-1920 and the McCarthy era of the late 1940s and early 1950s, which supplanted New Deal-style efforts in favor of the Cold War arms race and economic growth.

In that essay, Herman further developed the pairing analysis that was evident in his prior works, to quantify media bias, which contrasted the dichotomous treatment of similar events.  Herman noted that the primary determinant of the media’s coverage of any subject seemed to be the “political implications,” which in foreign reporting depended on whether friendly or enemy regimes were involved, and in domestic reporting was dependent on whether the issue served elite interests or not.  Herman briefly discussed the double standards evident in the media’s coverage of elections in El Salvador and Nicaragua, as the El Salvadoran death-squad regime’s “elections” in 1982 and 1984 were depicted as paragons of democracy, while a 1984 Nicaraguan election held by the Sandinistas’ revolutionary government was declared a sham.

That essay’s case study was a comparison of the media’s coverage of the Soviet Union’s shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 (“KAL 007”) in 1983 to coverage of several other airliners that were either shot down, claimed to have been shot down, or bombed: those performed by friendly interests – Israel’s shooting down of a Libyan airliner in 1973 and Jonas Savimbi’s and UNITA’s claimed shooting down of an Angolan airliner in 1983 – and those performed against enemy states – the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 by CIA-trained terrorists and the 1955 bombing of an Air India flight, which was intended to assassinate the Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai but killed 11 high-ranking Chinese officials instead, for which the Chinese government accused the USA of complicity, and for which an American defector later confessed to his involvement, on behalf of the CIA.[144]

In the case of KAL 007, the airliner strayed hundreds of miles off course, to fly over sensitive Soviet military facilities on the same night that the Soviet Union planned to launch a new missile.  Herman wrote that the KAL 007 pilot and Korean Airlines had longtime close relations with the Korean CIA, that American intelligence had long used commercial airlines for espionage purposes, and that KAL 007 had been accompanied by an American spy plane during its flight, which were all facts that the American media did not disclose while accusing the Soviet Union of a monstrous crime.  Herman wrote that key claims made by the American government and media, such as that the intrusion of KAL 007 into Soviet airspace was accidental, that the Soviets knew that they were shooting down a civilian plane, and that KAL 007 had not been properly warned or was prevented from responding by a technical malfunction, were all later persuasively shown by independent investigations or official admissions to be false or dubious. 

Herman, as he would do in numerous subsequent studies, performed a quantitative analysis of the media’s coverage of all five events, which showed a dramatic skewing of coverage.  For instance, Time and Newsweek devoted 1,490 column inches of coverage to KAL 007, but no coverage at all for the Angolan airliner, even though it happened during the media’s uproar over KAL 007.[145]  Herman also performed a qualitative analysis of the language used by Time and Newsweek to describe the Soviet and Israeli shoot-downs.  The coverage of the Soviet Union’s action was accompanied by words such as “ambush,” “barbaric,” “liars,” and “slaughter,” while the Israeli action was described with “blunder,” “tragedy,” and “error.”[146]

As Herman and Chomsky’s next effort was going to press, a more relevant example of Herman’s propaganda model and airliners happened, when the USA shot down an Iranian airliner in July 1988.  Herman later wrote about the media’s treatment of that event.  Shooting down an Iranian airliner in broad daylight as it flew over the Persian Gulf was explained away by the American government and media as a “tragic error,” and the media made no comparisons to the Soviet shoot-down of five years previously.  The American media even spun responsibility for the event onto Iran, even as the American warship was in Iranian waters when it shot down the airliner in a commercial air corridor.  Herman further noted that the captain who shot down the Iranian airliner was given a presidential medal and received a hero’s homecoming when he returned to the USA.[147] 

The PM formed the central framework of his next effort with Chomsky, published in 1988 and titled Manufacturing Consent, which is arguably their most famous work, both jointly and individually.  The book’s title came from Walter Lippmann’s writings, which noted the “manufacture of [the public’s] consent” for elite activities.[148]

Herman and Chomsky began Manufacturing Consent with:

 

“The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace.  It is their function to amuse, entertain, inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society.  In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.”[149]

 

Herman and Chomsky’s PM has the following “news filters” that determine the mass media’s news content in the USA.

1.      Size, ownership, and profit orientation of the mass media

Herman and Chomsky cited the work of James Curran and Jean Seaton on the British working-class press in the first half of the 19th century.  British elites tried to destroy the working-class press through punitive laws, which proved ineffective.  After the punitive laws were repealed, there was a brief renaissance of the working-class press, but the last half of the 19th century saw the “industrialization of the press,” and the working-class press could not survive in an environment of capitalist industrial practices.  In 1837, the cost of establishing a profitable national weekly newspaper was less than a thousand pounds and breakeven sales were a circulation of 6,200.  By 1867, the cost of establishing a new London daily was 50,000 pounds, and in the early 20th century, the Sunday Express invested two million pounds to reach a breakeven circulation of 250,000.  By the end of the 19th century, the British working-class press was effectively defunct.[150]  Herman and Chomsky noted that similar dynamics were at work in the USA in the 19th century, and by 1945, even small-town newspaper publishing was considered big business, with substantial capital investment required to found a newspaper.

Herman and Chomsky analyzed the American media in the late-20th century, particularly 24 of the largest media companies.  The authors cited Ben Bagdikian’s statistics that showed that the 29 largest media systems dispensed more than half of the newspapers, books, broadcasting, magazines, and movies in the USA.[151]  Herman and Chomsky argued that of great importance was also how those large media organizations provided the national and global news for local media organizations, which usually only provided original news on local events.

Herman and Chomsky made the case that those large media conglomerates were all profit-seeking corporations that were owned and controlled by wealthy interests, and that any reporting contrary to the interests of the owners would be distorted by that conflict of interest.  In addition, large industrial corporations such as General Electric, which was also a huge military contractor at the time, diversified into owning media companies, which further concentrated the ownership of the media into a few rich hands and created greater conflicts of interest.

When Ben Bagdikian first published The Media Monopoly in 1983, he noted that 50 media organizations controlled more than half of the USA’s media content (which shrank to 29 companies in The Media Monopoly’s 1987 edition, which was cited in Manufacturing Consent).  Bagdikian observed that each edition of The Media Monopoly was dismissed by media defenders as “alarmist,” but that by 2004, the number of media organizations controlling more than half of its output had shrunk to just five companies.[152]  Bagdikian contended that such a huge concentration of media companies “constitute a new Private Ministry of Truth and Culture” that Herman and Chomsky wrote “can set the national agenda.”[153]

A few years after Manufacturing Consent was published, the influence of media ownership became vividly evident during the first Gulf War.  General Electric (“GE”), through its subsidiary GE Aerospace, was one of the world’s largest military contractors in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, and GE had acquired NBC in 1986.  Before 1991, GE had been involved in several instances of censoring NBC’s reporting, such as removing a reference to GE in a Today Show segment on substandard products.[154]

During the USA’s Operation Desert Storm against Iraq in 1991, GE’s technologies were part of nearly every weapons system deployed in that war.  NBC regularly dispensed with journalism in favor of cheerleading, such as calling Iraq’s Scud missile an “evil weapon” while describing an American missile as “accurate within a few feet” soon after admitting that such an “accurate” missile had just hit Iraqi homes.[155]

When the USA invaded Panama in 1989, the Pentagon’s spokesman was Pete Williams, whose prevarications on behalf of the Pentagon became legendary (such as his announcing 457 Iraqi deaths during Operation Desert Storm, although the standard estimates have been about 20,000, and credible American estimates have ranged to more than 100,000), and his performance during Operation Desert Storm earned him the appellation as the commander of “Operation Desert Muzzle.”[156]  Williams’s and the Pentagon’s lies were so influential to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw that he announced that the Patriot anti-missile system “put the Scud in its place.”  NBC’s glowing commentary failed to mention that the weapons it praised were built by its owner.  In 1993, NBC hired Williams as a news correspondent, a position that he still held in 2020.[157]

GE’s influence contributed to a spectacular instance of censorship during 1991’s Gulf War.  Jon Alpert has won 15 Emmy awards and has twice been nominated for Academy Awards for his documentary efforts.  He was the first American journalist to bring back uncensored footage from Iraq in 1991, which depicted heavy civilization casualties.  The footage was presented to NBC, which had commissioned the effort, and although even Tom Brokaw wanted it aired, NBC’s president Michael Gartner not only killed the story but fired Alpert and ensured that he never worked for NBC again.  Alpert then took the footage to CBS, where CBS Evening News Executive Director Tom Bettag told Alpert that he and his footage would be on the air with CBS Evening News’s anchor Dan Rather the next evening.  However, Bettag was fired that night and Alpert’s footage never aired on an American news show.[158]

It was not until 1997 that the truth of those highly praised weapons systems was finally published, when a report by the General Accounting Office was declassified, which detailed the exaggerations of effectiveness made by the Pentagon and weapons manufacturers regarding the American weapons used in Operation Desert Storm.[159]

2.      The advertising license to do business

Herman and Chomsky wrote that the Liberal chancellor of the British Exchequer, Sir George Lewis, in the mid-19th century observed that market forces would marginalize dissident opinion by promoting those newspapers “enjoying the preference of the advertising public.”  The authors noted that, indeed, the pressure of advertising weakened the working-class press, and that the subsidy of advertising and the affluent audiences that they target, as well as the “downscale” audience that is also attracted, gives media that cater to affluent audiences an economic edge that marginalizes and drives out media that don’t attract or rely on such advertising revenue.

Herman and Chomsky cited Curran’s work on the subject, which noted that in its last year of publication, the Daily Herald had nearly twice the circulation of The [London] Times, Financial Times, and the Guardian combined, and was held in higher regard by its readers than the readers of any other newspaper, but because it was not integrated into establishment systems with their generous advertising revenue, it failed, along with other social-democratic newspapers in the 1960s, which contributed to the Labor party’s decline.[160]  Herman and Chomsky wrote:

 

“A mass movement without any major media support, and subject to a great deal of active press hostility, suffers a serious disability, and struggles against grave odds.”

 

Herman and Chomsky wrote about how CBS took pride in informing its shareholders how it used a sophisticated approach to attract and retain affluent audiences.  Just as the 19th century British press did, CBS was not seeking a wide-audience, but an affluent one that, in the 21st century parlance of the Internet, can be “monetized.”  A 21st century Internet adage is that if you use anything for free, the product being sold is you.  The authors noted that advertisers, seeking those affluent audiences, exert great influence on media content.  Advertisers do not want to help fund unsettling media content, but prefer content that puts viewers in the “buying mood.”

Herman and Chomsky provided an example of advertiser clout when, in 1985, public-television station WNET lost its corporate funding from Gulf + Western when it broadcasted a documentary titled “Hungry for Profit,” which depicted predatory corporate practices in the Third World.  Even before the documentary aired, WNET’s executives, who anticipated the negative corporate reaction, did their best to “sanitize” the show, but that effort did not prevent Gulf + Western’s terminating its funding while its CEO stated that the show was “virulently anti-business if not anti-American.”  The London Economist remarked on the situation: “Most people believe that WNET would not make the same mistake again.”[161]

Advertisers can also gang up on publications that step out of line, an example of which was when Mother Jones ran a series of articles in 1980 that discussed the medical findings that smoking was a major cause of cancer and heart disease.  The tobacco companies pulled their ads en masse from Mother Jones, and that event helps explain that while Reader’s Digest had been campaigning for generations on the health hazards of smoking, no other mainstream American publication dared to, including Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report.  Eight years after the Mother Jones incident, the world’s largest ad agency, Saatchi and Saatchi, lost its huge RJR Nabisco account when it produced an ad that announced Northwest Airline’s strict no-smoking rule on its flights.  RJR Nabisco sold the Winston and Camel cigarette brands.  Saatchi and Saatchi learned its lesson, and when it subsequently bought an ad agency that was preparing anti-smoking messages for the Minnesota Department of Health, Saatchi and Saatchi cancelled the deal with the health authorities rather than risk its $35 million fee for promoting Kool cigarettes.[162]

The next year, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop angrily denounced magazines and newspapers that were full of ads for cigarettes and refused to publish anything on the dangers of smoking.  The media quickly consigned Koop’s diatribe to media oblivion.  Andrew Mills, TV Guide’s assistant managing editor, stated in an interview for Unreliable Sources, “I think it would be naïve to expect publications that take a lot of revenue from the tobacco industry to go after them vigorously.”  When Mills made that statement, every issue of TV Guide was filled with cigarette ads, and Mills never heard that TV Guide ever thought of publishing anything critical of cigarettes.[163]

Some tobacco-ad-carrying publications went even further, as Playboy magazine ran an essay authored by an attorney that attacked proposals to limit cigarette ads, defended the rights of cigarette companies to promote cigarettes, and the essay specifically defended a Camel ad aimed at teenagers.  In that issue of Playboy was a two-page color Camel ad.[164]

The conflicts of interest with advertisers could reach extreme levels.  For a generation, the Journal of the American Medical Association (“JAMA”) ran tobacco ads.  It only stopped running them in 1954 when drug companies that advertised in JAMA, as well as physicians, complained.  Drug ads appeared next to cigarette ads in JAMA’s pages, those cigarette ads featured doctors' promotion of various brands, and the ads often made health claims that made cigarettes appear to be wonder drugs.  It made the drug ads look bad.

The event that finally spurred JAMA to cease running cigarette ads was the final ad campaign for cigarettes in its pages, which began when JAMA’s former editor, Morris Fishbein, the face of American medicine for a generation, entered into a lucrative consulting arrangement with Lorillard, the maker of Kent cigarettes, to structure research that “proved” the superior properties of Kent’s new Micronite filter, which was made of asbestos.  The ad blitz that followed the Micronite filter “research” finally inspired the AMA to stop running cigarette ads and declare that its scientific meetings would ban cigarette exhibits (although the AMA’s headquarters had cigarette vending machines in its lobby until the 1980s).[165]  Fishbein worked with Phillip Morris on a similar “research” campaign in the 1930s, for the diethylene glycol “moistener” in its cigarettes, which Phillip Morris’s representatives used for a publicity campaign that it took directly into doctor’s offices and onto JAMA’s pages.  It was not until 1950, the year after Fishbein was finally ousted as JAMA’s editor, in the aftermath of a scandal relating to his wiping out an alternative cancer treatment practitioner (after the practitioner refused to sell exclusive rights to his treatment to Fishbein and his associates, as they refused to consider treating the indigent for free, as that practitioner did), that the first study of lung disease and smoking appeared in JAMA’s pages.[166]  That study showed that 96.5% of lung cancer patients in examined St. Louis hospitals were smokers.[167]

In the increasingly hostile environment for American cigarette companies during the 1980s, the Reagan administration successfully used the threat of trade sanctions to force Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand to open their markets to American tobacco companies.  The “free trade” rhetoric behind the Reagan administration’s offensive was reminiscent of the British Opium Wars against China.  The tobacco industries in those nations were stagnant before the entry of American tobacco companies, and their market was primarily comprised of adult men.  In the wake of the forced entry of American tobacco companies, with ad blitzes that specifically targeted women and children, smoking rates in those nations skyrocketed.[168]

Such subservience to their advertisers was far from restricted to cigarette ads.  At Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report, they would give their advertisers advanced notice, including tobacco companies, if an article ran, including plane crashes and studies on alcoholism, that put their advertisers’ products in an unflattering light, so that the advertisers could move their ads accordingly.  Also, those publications would produce ads that looked like news, not ads, to readers who were not careful to distinguish ads from “news.”[169]

Herman and Chomsky concluded that the “buying mood” imperative of TV advertisers ensures that only bland, lightly entertaining content will be delivered to viewers, as the primary reason for advertising is to disseminate the “selling message.”[170]

3.      The sourcing of mass media news

Herman and Chomsky wrote, “The mass media are drawn into a symbiotic relationship with powerful sources of information by economic necessity and reciprocity of interests.”[171]  The authors noted that the media’s needs for a reliable stream of raw material for news, and the need of powerful institutions to shape society to their advantage, form the basis of mutually beneficial arrangements between the media and governmental and corporate institutions, which steadily produce material that is increasingly published by news agencies virtually unaltered, turning the mass media into little more than a conduit of governmental and corporate propaganda.  The media dependency on those news sources can be severe.  Herman and Chomsky wrote, “It is very difficult to call authorities on whom one depends for daily news liars, even if they tell whoppers.”[172]

Herman and Chomsky presented a survey of the American military that showed that the Pentagon produced 371 magazines in 1971, at a cost of $57 million, which was 16 times larger than the largest American publisher.  The authors wrote about Senator J.W. Fulbright’s investigation of the U.S. Air Force in 1968 that yielded the findings that the Air Force had 1,305 full-time public relations employees, and Herman and Chomsky noted that the resources that governmental and corporate institutions devoted to spreading their message were hundreds and even thousands of times greater than those of dissident organizations.[173]

Regarding the American government’s public relations efforts, Herman and Chomsky wrote:

 

“It should also be noted that in the case of the largesse of the Pentagon and the State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy, the subsidy is at the taxpayer’s expense, so that, in effect, the citizenry pays to be propagandized in the interest of powerful groups such as military contractors and other sponsors of state terrorism.”[174]

 

Herman and Chomsky wrote that in 1972, future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urging them “to buy the top academic reputations in the country to add credibility to corporate studies and give business a stronger voice on campus.”[175]  The authors noted that in the 1970s and early 1980s, that buy-an-expert trend began the era of “think tanks” that had the effect of “propagandizing the corporate viewpoint.”

Herman and Chomsky provided an analysis, for a one-year period in 1985-1986, of such “experts” on terrorism and defense on the highly regarded MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, on the subjects of the so-called Bulgarian Connection to the assassination attempt on John Paul II, the shooting down of Korean airliner KAL 007, and terrorism, defense, and arms control.  The majority of guests on the show were current and former officials and conservative think tank “experts.”

The year after Manufacturing Consent was published, the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (“FAIR”) published a study of 40 months of Nightline shows, which confirmed Herman and Chomsky’s analysis of MacNeil/ Lehrer News Hour, in that the vast majority of American guests on the show were professionals, government officials, or corporate representatives.  Only five percent of the guests spoke on behalf of the public interest (peace, environmental, consumer advocates, and so on).  Nightline’s most frequent guests were Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig, both former U.S. Secretaries of State.

Nightline responded to FAIR’s survey and Ted Koppel, the host of Nightline, replied that FAIR’s survey merely reflected Nightline’s shows during the reign of the conservative Reagan administration.  FAIR’s founder and director, Jeff Cohen, replied to Koppel’s defense with:

 

“This explanation could have been given uttered by a Soviet TV news programmer – pre-glasnost.  American television news is not supposed to be strictly a forum for representatives of the state.  FAIR does not criticize Nightline for inviting policy makers to appear on the show, but for its exclusion of forceful American critics of the policy.  Critics, and critical sources, are part of a news story.”[176]

 

In 1994, the authors of the Nightline study released by FAIR, David Croteau and William Hoynes, published By Invitation Only: How the Media Limit Political Debate, which presented not only their Nightline research results, but also their analysis of the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, and their results were similar to Herman and Chomsky’s.  Their study of several hundred Nightline episodes showed that of Nightline's guests, 82% were male, 89% were white, and 78% were government officials, professionals, and corporate representatives.[177]  They also presented the same data taken from The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, and those numbers were even more skewed, at 87% male, 90% white, and 89% government officials, professionals, and corporate representatives.

The media themselves provided their own “experts,” such as Claire Sterling and John Barron, and another class of experts was remarked on by Herman and Chomsky, of “former radicals who have ‘come to see the light.’”[178]  Those former “sinners,” whose work was formerly marginalized and ridiculed by the mass media, were suddenly catapulted into the bright lights and became revered “experts.”  The authors recalled how Soviet defectors during the McCarthy era vied with each other to provide the most dramatic stories and warnings of a coming Soviet invasion.  Herman and Chomsky concluded that, “The steady flow of ex-radicals from marginality to media attention shows that we are witnessing a durable method of providing experts who will say what the establishment wants said.”[179]

4.      Flak and the enforcers

Herman and Chomsky argued that the PM’s first three filters act as powerful coercive controls over what news is published, but sometimes news that does not conform to the dictates of power is produced.  Herman and Chomsky wrote about “flak” as a negative reaction directed at media organizations.  It can simply be a letter to the editor or phone call to a TV station, but the most influential flak comes from highly organized operations or the powerful, such as a call from the White House to a TV news anchor.  The authors emphasized right-wing think-tank flak and cited Accuracy in Media (“AIM”) in particular.  AIM is a media watchdog organization founded by Reed Irvine, whose media attacks were frequently published in the media, as Irvine and AIM were given ready access to the media.  AIM was one of many corporate-funded organizations that rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, whose general purpose was to produce flak to police an already right-leaning media while using the “liberal” misnomer to describe the media.

Freedom House has had close relations with AIM, and Herman and Chomsky provided an example of Freedom House’s kind of flak when they wrote:

 

“In 1982, when the Reagan administration was having trouble containing media reporting of the systematic killing of civilians by the Salvadoran army, Freedom House came through with a denunciation of the ‘imbalance’ in media reporting from El Salvador.”[180]

 

Herman and Chomsky analyzed one of Freedom House’s most notable publications, Peter Braestrup’s Big Story, which contended that the media helped lose the Vietnam War.  Herman and Chomsky wrote that the premise of Big Story was that the media’s function was supposed to be as cheerleaders for all American wars, no matter the merits of American interventions and invasions. 

In the years before and after Manufacturing Consent was first published, astounding instances of flak were seen.  In 1982, New York Times reporter Ray Bonner accurately reported on the El Mozote massacre, committed by American-trained El Salvadoran forces.  About one thousand people were murdered, mainly women and children.  That mass murder was committed by Reagan's "fledgling democracy," reporting the truth cost Bonner his job, and AIM led the flak attack.[181]  The alternative media covered the El Mozote and Bonner story extensively in the 1980s, and Bonner was vindicated when the mass grave was discovered.[182] 

In 1998, a joint project by Time and Cable News Network (“CNN”) produced a report on Operation Tailwind, which was a secret American operation in Laos in 1970.  CNN’s reporters April Oliver and Jack Smith published their story on the alleged use of Sarin nerve gas by the American military in Operation Tailwind, which was partly mounted to find and kill deserting American soldiers.  CNN's Peter Arnett also helped report the story.  It was broadcasted on June 7 and June 14, 1998, and Time ran it in its June 15, 1998 edition.

The reporters worked on the story for several months and interviewed people involved in the operation, as well as Major General John Singlaub and Admiral Thomas Moorer, who were aware of operations such as Tailwind.  CNN was prepared to support its reporters, but did not anticipate the level of flak.  AIM went on the attack, but the biggest flak came from the Pentagon and Henry Kissinger.  In the flak’s wake, CNN hired two attorneys to critique Oliver and Smith's report, CNN retracted the story, and Oliver and Smith were fired.  The establishment press accounts of the Tailwind controversy made it appear as if CNN responsibly retracted a story that its loose-cannon reporters snuck through.

Whatever inaccuracies there may have been in their story, Oliver and Smith were fired because of whom they offended.  Peter Arnett's career with CNN ended in April 1999 because of the issue.  He was one of America's finest mainstream reporters, but his continual reporting of the "wrong" story, such as his uncensored reports from Baghdad in 1991, won him the enmity of many powerful interests.

Reed Irvine publicly called for the firing of those responsible for the Tailwind story and got his wish.  Oliver and her colleagues were eventually vindicated.  Singlaub sued Oliver to clear his name, sullied in the Tailwind flap.  On January 17, 2000, Thomas Moorer, in the presence of Oliver and Singlaub, was deposed as part of the lawsuit.  The transcript of that deposition was posted to the Internet, and Moorer confirmed all the essentials of Oliver’s reporting, including:

 

 

In essence, Oliver's reporting was accurate.  Although the Tailwind controversy was huge news when it happened, the revelations of Moorer's testimony failed to receive any mainstream media coverage.  Singlaub's lawsuit was quietly settled and Oliver received a substantial settlement from CNN, reputed to be about $1 million.  Smith settled later, for another undisclosed amount.  Although the nature of such settlements is that Oliver cannot publicly say that she was vindicated, the silence of Singlaub and others was telling, and Oliver always stood by her story.  The careers of Oliver and others were ruined, but not a word of apology could be heard from Irvine or the others who attacked Oliver and her colleagues for reporting the truth.  They merely moved on to their next flak targets.

Similarly, reporter Gary Webb ran a series of reports in the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 regarding the issue of Contra complicity in the drug trafficking in South Central Los Angeles and elsewhere.  The same stories came out during the Iran-Contra scandal, and it put the powerful in a bad light.  There was no substantive objection to Webb's powerfully supported story, and the CIA and Justice Department confirmed key elements of it, but nevertheless, Webb’s career ended.[183]  Webb committed suicide in 2004, in a controversial event in which he may have shot himself twice (or was shot twice), largely because of the financial pressures of his career’s termination over his accurate reporting.

Immediately after Oliver and Smith's public professional execution came the story of Mike Gallagher of the Cincinnati Inquirer, who published a series of articles about Chiquita Brand International in May 1998.  Chiquita used to be known as United Fruit.  The USA overthrew the Guatemalan government in 1954 so that United Fruit could continue to "own" the country.[184]  Gallagher reported that what went on in Central America was merely more of the same, and he found himself legally attacked by Chiquita, accusing him of illegally accessing their voicemail system, for which he was convicted of felony acts.

During American invasions, the flak could become deadly.  During the American invasion of Panama, American troops murdered Spanish photojournalist Juantxu Rodríguez for the crime of taking pictures of the invasion.[185]  As an example, several Reuters reporters were murdered by the American military in Iraq, and the first came during the conquest of Baghdad, when the invading Americans shelled the Palestine Hotel, which was well known to host foreign journalists.  It was later revealed to be a potential target before the invasion.[186]  Little more than a week after the first killing of a Reuters reporter and before the Abu Ghraib prison became a household word in the West, for its tortures and murders of prisoners, a Reuters cameraman was killed by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib as he stood outside of its gates, filming.[187]  Another Reuters photographer was imprisoned in Abu Ghraib.[188]  In 2007, a Reuters photographer and his driver were murdered by an American helicopter crew.  The information about those murders was suppressed until footage of them was leaked by Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and Wikileaks, which first brought Wikileaks widespread media attention.  The killers received no reprimands while Manning went to prison and Wikileaks’s founder, Julian Assange, lived in political asylum in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for several years before being ejected and placed in isolation in a British prison in 2019, while the USA attempts to extradite him, for crimes that he might be executed for, but his “crimes” are those that journalists do in the performance of their professional duties.[189]  His treatment in British incarceration has been called a form of torture.[190]  In 2019, Chomsky said, “Assange basically is being murdered by the British government.”[191] 

Between 2002 and 2017, the USA sank from 17th to 43rd in press freedom, in the annual report by Reporters without Borders.  Herman and Chomsky wrote, “News management itself is designed to produce flak.”[192]  

5.      Anticommunism as a control mechanism (partly replaced by the “war on terror” and “free-market” ideology after the fall of the Soviet Union)

The final news filter presented by Herman and Chomsky was ideological, and when Manufacturing Consent was first published, that ideology in the USA was anticommunism.  The authors wrote:

 

“Communism as the ultimate evil has always been the specter haunting property owners, as it threatens the very root of their class positions and superior status.”[193] 

 

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Chomsky said that he thought that the final news filter should have been more generalized, to portray a malevolent external threat to scare the populace into seeking the “protection” of the state, as a primary strategy of elite rule is through “induced fear,” and especially in democratic societies.[194]  Herman stated near his life’s end that in the first edition of Manufacturing Consent, they should have probably included market ideology as a filter, as the market economy has long been promoted in the American media as an “ideal arrangement of the economic order”, and that such “ideological elements become premises of mainstream journalists.”[195]

Herman and Chomsky stated that their hypothesis was no “conspiracy theory,” but that market and structural principles were a better explanation of the media’s behavior.[196]  A Canadian documentary of Chomsky’s life and work was released in 1992, titled Manufacturing Consent, which briefly featured Herman.  It was the most popular documentary in Canadian history to that time, yet it never played on American mainstream television or had a mass theatrical release in the USA, but was largely confined to showings at American colleges and art house theaters.

In 1989, Manufacturing Consent won the National Council of Teachers of English’s George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language (the Orwell Award).  The same year, Exxon earned the National Council of Teachers of English’s Doublespeak Award, for its deceptions about its cleanup of the Exxon Valdez’s Alaskan oil spill.

 

Predictions and tests of the propaganda model

After describing the PM in Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky presented case studies that tested the PM’s predictions.  Herman and Chomsky often used Herman’s pairing analysis. 

In Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky coined the terms “worthy and unworthy victims” (which Chomsky later stated was Herman’s invention), which earlier appeared in The Washington Connection.[197]  Worthy victims are victims of official enemies, and unworthy victims are victims of us or our allies and clients. 

Herman and Chomsky’s paired analysis of worthy and unworthy victims in Manufacturing Consent also became their most famous, in which they compared the media’s coverage of the murder of Polish priest Jerzy Popieluszko by the Polish police to the murders of one hundred church-workers in Latin America, who were killed by American client regimes.

Herman and Chomsky studied the coverage in the Times, Time, Newsweek, and CBS News, which in 2020 were still the most respected mainstream media productions in the USA.  For the murders of Popieluszko and the Latin American church-workers, including Archbishop Romero and four American churchwomen, the authors adduced the number of articles, their length, whether they were on the front page and in editorials, and in the case of CBS News, how many news segments were on the evening news.  The coverage afforded Popieluszko’s murder was far more than the collective coverage of the hundred murders of church-workers in El Salvador and Guatemala, which were American client states when the murders occurred.[198]

Herman and Chomsky noted that the coverage of Popieluszko’s murder was “somewhat inflated” because of the coverage of the trial and convictions of the Polish policemen who murdered Popieluszko, while virtually no murders of the hundred church-workers in Latin America were prosecuted.  The quantitative aspect of Herman and Chomsky’s analysis was complemented by a qualitative one.  The media’s treatment of worthy victims stressed their humanity and even saintly qualities, while the media’s treatment of unworthy victims’ suffering was perfunctory if at all, and in the case of the American churchwomen, American Secretary of State Alexander Haig and American ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick, went so far as to say that the women deserved it, as they lied about the circumstances of their deaths and their relationship with the “rebels” in El Salvador (those women had none).[199]

The media’s reaction to Popieluszko’s murder was to provide great detail on the manner of his death, demands for justice, and the search for responsibility at the top, while the media strongly hinted at Soviet involvement.[200]  For Archbishop Romero’s and the 99 other church-workers’ murders, including the American women, the coverage was muted, if any, and only rarely was there even an attempt to investigate or prosecute, or any interest shown by the media in knowing who might have been responsible for the murders.[201]  When four El Salvadoran National Guardsmen were eventually prosecuted for the murders of the American women, years later and only because of intense American pressure, the trial officials and American media never even hinted at whose orders the killers might have been carrying out.

In Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky argued that those news filters reflected conflicts of interest that biased the news toward serving powerful interests instead of objectively informing the public.  Manufacturing Consent presented several other case studies of the news filters in action, including “Legitimizing versus Meaningless Third World Elections in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua,” the “KGB-Bulgarian Plot to Kill the Pope,” and the Indochina wars in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

As they summarized the American media’s retrospective treatment of the Vietnam War, Herman and Chomsky wrote:

 

"The war was a 'tragic error,' but not 'fundamentally wrong or immoral' (as the overwhelming majority of the American people continue to believe), and surely not criminal aggression - the judgment that would be reached at once on similar evidence if the responsible agent were not the United States, or an ally or client.

"Our point is not that the retrospectives fail to draw what seem to us, as to much of the population, the obvious conclusions; the more significant and instructive point is that principled objection to the war as 'fundamentally wrong and immoral,' or as an outright criminal aggression - a war crime - is inexpressible.  It is not part of the spectrum of discussion.  The background for such a principled critique cannot be developed in the media, and the conclusions cannot be drawn.  It is not present even to be refuted.  Rather, the idea is unthinkable.

"All of this reveals with great clarity how foreign to the mobilized media is a conception of the media as a free system of information and discussion, independent of state authority and elite interests."[202]

 

Soon after Manufacturing Consent was published, Chomsky publicly discussed the PM and made several observations regarding it, which he called perhaps “one of the best confirmed theses in the social sciences,” which were:

 

  1. The media control described by the PM had long been advocated by various social managers, in order to manage the “bewildered herd” of the citizenry on behalf of the elite;

  2. The PM is largely the expected outcome in a business-dominated society;

  3. Most of the public believes that the media is disseminating propaganda, not the truth;

  4. The media itself will never discuss the PM, as that discussion would threaten the foundational illusion of the entire enterprise.[203]

 

Chomsky stated that testing the PM’s validity was labor-intensive, and that in order to test that validity, they had to choose the most difficult situations, in which the media claimed victories in its independence from and corralling of the power structure, such as the Vietnam War or the Watergate scandal.  However, when those events were tested, they still strongly confirmed the PM.[204]

The year after Manufacturing Consent was published, Chomsky wrote that the PM generated several kinds of predictions, of first, second, and third orders.  Chomsky wrote that the first order prediction of the PM was that constructive bloodbaths will be welcomed, benign bloodbaths ignored, and nefarious bloodbaths will be:

 

“[…] passionately condemned, on the basis of a version of the facts that would merely elicit contempt if applied to a study of alleged abuses of the United States or friendly states.  We presented a series of examples to show that these consequences are exactly what we discover.”[205] 

 

The PM’s second-order prediction is that within mainstream circles, studies such as Manufacturing Consent will be absent, which was true, and the third-order prediction was how the mainstream would receive the analysis in works such as Manufacturing Consent.

The PM’s third-order prediction was that exposure of the facts would elicit no reaction for constructive bloodbaths, “occasionally noted without interest in the case of benign bloodbaths; and it will lead to great indignation in the case of nefarious bloodbaths.”  Chomsky’s reasons for the reactions were that for constructive bloodbaths the facts cannot be acknowledged, partly because it would expose the hypocrisy of the denunciations of nefarious bloodbaths, as well as the social role of the “specialized class” of privileged intellectuals, and that the exposure also “interferes with a valuable device for mobilizing the public in fear and hatred of a threatening enemy.”[206]  Chomsky wrote that for benign bloodbaths, as long as the USA’s role remained suppressed, then exposure of the facts produced little ideological damage.

All three orders of predictions have been confirmed many times, without significant exception, ever since the PM was presented in Manufacturing Consent.

 

Subsequent assessments and revisions by Herman and Chomsky

In 1996, Herman reassessed the PM and analyzed the mainstream media’s and “left” academics’ critiques, including the criticisms that the PM was a “conspiracy theory,” that it came from Chomsky’s linguistics (when it really came from Herman’s institutional framework of analysis), that it ignored what reporters thought, that it ignored journalistic professionalism and objectivity, that it failed to explain opposition and resistance, and that it was too functionalist and determinist.  Herman argued that all such criticisms were invalid.[207]

Herman further noted in his review of the PM that changes in the economy, communications industries, and politics made the PM more applicable than when Manufacturing Consent was first published.  Herman wrote that with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Reagan’s “miracle of the market” had nearly become a subject of religious faith among the American elite and media.  Herman provided 1990s examples of the PM’s applicability, such as when the media became cheerleaders for the North American Free Trade Agreement and harshly condemned any dissent to it.  Herman also noted how the media treated the chemical industry and its regulation, and its coverage of the single-payer medical insurance issue, which always had a pro-corporate slant.  Herman argued that those examples made the PM perhaps more relevant in 1996 than in 1988, when it was first published.[208]

In 2009, Herman and Chomsky participated in an interview about the PM, 20 years after it was first published.[209]  They observed that the propaganda framework for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, under plainly false pretenses, was never questioned in the mainstream media.  Herman and Chomsky noted that a Times retrospective in 2008 featured notable “experts” for think-pieces on global situations that the incoming president would face, and every article assumed that the American invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were “legitimate, even noble.”  Herman and Chomsky discussed that the media’s treatment of those invasions were just like it treated the American wars in Indochina.  At worst, they were “strategic blunders” in their heroic mission of spreading freedom, and the American media never referred to any of them as aggressions.  Herman and Chomsky concluded that the effects of the first four filters had become even more pronounced in the intervening 20 years, while the fifth, anticommunist ideology, had somewhat receded since the Soviet Union’s end, but that the “‘war on terror’ has provided a useful substitute for the Soviet Menace.”[210]

In the last essay published in Herman’s lifetime, Herman assessed the PM 30 years after it was first published.[211]  Herman noted that the casualty-free Russian annexation of Crimea, after the American-backed coup in Ukraine, was regularly described as an “aggression” in the American media, while the unprovoked and “casualty-rich” American invasion of Iraq was never described that way.  Herman noted a similar double standard of the use of “genocide,” such as when it was “lavishly” used to describe the Srebrenica massacre of approximately 800 military-aged Muslim men, while the U.S.-sponsored sanctions regime against Iraq, which preceded the invasion and claimed the lives of at least a half-million children, was not only not called “genocide,” but Madeleine Albright said that those deaths were “worth it” on national TV.[212]

Herman discussed the same criticisms of the PM that he previously identified, and noted their superficiality and the critics’ inability to address what the PM really is.  Herman noted another criticism: the PM was not deterministic enough, as if some formula could be used to rank the filters and predict media performance for various situations.  Herman wrote that all such criticisms demonstrated that the critics did not understand what the PM is, which is a broad analytic framework designed to help understand media performance.

Herman wrote that the biggest change in the media since Manufacturing Consent was published was the growth of the Internet.  He wrote that the rise of Google and Facebook, which took advertising revenues from the traditional media, do not even produce content, but are in the “spying and selling” business, was far from auspicious.  Herman noted that with their control over the “eyeballs” that advertisers seek, Facebook aspired to become a platform for the mainstream media, and might be on its way to controlling online journalism.  Herman observed in a late-life interview that the Internet Revolution has actually been regressive, as far as journalism and media freedom were concerned.  Dissidents may have the ability to publish like never before, but that does not mean that anybody knows about it or reads it.[213]

In The Propaganda Model Today, it reproduced an interview given the month before Herman died, in which he discussed the PM and its continued relevance, including how it applied to Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign.  Herman reviewed the rise of the Internet, and specifically Facebook and Google, stating:

 

“These are not news organizations, and how their monopoly power will eventually work out as regards the journalism function is unclear, but they are very much advertising based, and they have already shown great deference to the wishes of power entities like the CIA, NSA, FBI, and State Department.  Thus, the likelihood that they will serve the public interest seems extremely slim.”[214]

 

Herman wrote of the Internet-Age media campaign to justify invading Iraq, and how the lies told before the invasion were sensational and quickly exposed, one after another, and the Times and Washington Post notably swallowed Bush administration disinformation whole, and instead attacked the findings of the United Nations and American inspectors of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (“WMD”), which clearly demonstrated that Iraq had been disarmed of its WMD to a level unprecedented in history, and the Times even published an attack on the most vocal American WMD inspector, Scott Ritter, who challenged the Bush administration’s assertions.  The Times in particular, and especially its journalist Judith Miller, became conduits for the Bush administration’s disinformation campaign against Iraq.  In the wake of no WMD discoveries after Iraq’s invasion, the Times and Washington Post offered not-quite-apologies, yet not only were the personnel responsible for publishing the disinformation not fired or demoted, but the very same people almost immediately began publishing imaginative articles about Iran’s alleged WMD.[215]

Herman provided 21st century paired examples to demonstrate that the PM was still pertinent.  In 2009, Iran and Honduras held elections.  Iran’s was hotly contested, while Honduras’s election happened soon after a coup that the USA supported, was another infamous Latin American demonstration election, and the only names on the ballot were those of two elite coup-supporters.  Nevertheless, American newspaper coverage used “fraud” and “rigged” to describe the Iranian elections 2,139 times versus 28 times for the Honduran elections.[216]  One Iranian protestor was shot and killed in a peaceful demonstration in Iran, and one Honduran protestor was killed by the Honduran military two weeks after the Iranian protestor’s death, and his murder was dramatically captured on video.[217]  Herman noted the disparity in the American media’s coverage of those two deaths: 736-to-8 in the print media, and 231-to-1 on the TV news, in favor of the Iranian protestor’s death, which was nearly the same ratio in Manufacturing Consent regarding Popieluszko’s murder versus the Latin American church-worker murders.[218]

Herman concluded with the last words published in his lifetime:

 

“The Propaganda Model is as strong and applicable as it was thirty years ago […].  The Propaganda Model lives on.”

 

Academic assessments and proposed revisions

In 2005, Filtering the News was published, edited by Jeffery Klaehn, which was a series of essays on the PM.  In the introductory essay’s conclusion, Klaehn wrote:

 

“Herman and Chomsky’s institutional critique of media behavior is forceful and convincing, as is their analysis of the ideological formation of public opinion and the ‘Orwellian’ abuse of language in western democracies. […] If there was ever a time for Herman and Chomsky’s ‘propaganda model’ to be included in scholarly debates on patterns of media performance, it is now.”[219]

 

The essays in Filtering the News examined the George W. Bush administration’s war propaganda, Israeli propaganda, the Globe and Mail‘s coverage of the tribulations in El Salvador and East Timor, newspaper discussions on the environment, and other topics covered in the American and British media.

In October 2018, The Propaganda Model Today (“TPMT”) was published, which was dedicated to Herman’s memory.[220]  TPMT is a compendium of essays on the PM that dealt with its diverse aspects, from its “theoretical and methodological considerations” to the Internet and digital media to movie and TV entertainment to several case studies regarding applying the PM to international events.

TPMT began with an overview of the historical roots of public persuasion and propaganda, going back to Aristotle and Machiavelli, through early industrial writers such as Auguste Comte to 20th century writers such as Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann, which helped form the PM’s foundation.  The authors of TPMT’s introduction made the case that a key media function is normalizing the prevailing economic and social structures so that alternatives to them cannot even be imagined by the public.[221]

A chapter of TPMT dealt with the sociology of journalism, in which Jesse Owen Hearns-Branaman argued that it needed to be considered in the PM, which Herman and Chomsky explicitly did not do when formulating the PM.  The author concluded his essay with:

 

“Unlike others’ critiques of the PM, examining the discourse of journalists themselves does not refute the PM; in fact, it can more fully explain media performance.  Journalists have to adhere to professional standards and face secondary socialisation when they enter the workplace.  This, perhaps, gives the appearance of an ugly and anti-normative ‘conspiracy,’ yet from many different angles, this is the basic institutional functioning of the news media.”[222]

 

In a chapter of TPMT, Yigal Godler wrote that prominent modes of inquiry that social scientists often use in analyzing the media completely evade the issue of its structural constraints, which rendered their research largely irrelevant in helping explain how the media functioned.[223]

A chapter of TPMT dealt with the marginalization of the PM in mainstream academic literature, to the extent that academics were advised to remove all references to Chomsky from their work, so that they would not risk the “costs” that they might bear for publicly agreeing with Chomsky’s positions.[224]  That chapter’s author, Piers Robinson, stated what Chomsky also did: the PM can be applied to academia and other intellectual pursuits.  In fact, Chomsky argued that the PM was merely a special case of the constraints that all intellectuals in capitalist societies are subjected to.[225]

Robinson discussed the actual creation of propaganda, not just how the PM’s filters produced inaccurate reporting by allowing favored facts to filter through while others are filtered out.  Robinson observed that actual lies of commission are relatively rare and are a “high-risk political strategy,” which can end political careers if exposed.  Howard Zinn wrote about a similar dynamic in academia.[226]  Robinson noted that lies of omission are the standard means of propaganda production, along with exaggerating facts germane to the propaganda goal, to create biased presentations to deceive audiences, which even the propaganda’s creators may not be entirely aware of.  Robinson argued that studies of such dynamics of propaganda creation in the Western media could be used to meaningfully extend the PM.

Robinson discussed the Bush administration’s campaign, aided by British intelligence, going back as far as 1991, to portray Iraq’s WMD as an imminent threat, in order to justify the 1990s sanctions regime and the 2003 invasion, but the WMD claims were later shown to have no basis in earthly reality. 

Robinson noted how Amnesty International became a conduit of propaganda dissemination, such as when it held a press briefing in 2011, during the USA-led NATO bombing and invasion of Libya, on the Gadaffi regime’s alleged human rights violations.  However, a subsequent Amnesty International investigation could not corroborate any such claims of human rights violations.[227] 

Robinson discussed the White Helmets operation in Syria, and how it has been portrayed in the media as an organization of independent humanitarians.  But it was founded by a member of British intelligence (who died in a mysterious suicide in 2019, which became a media event[228]), at least one government document has shown that the White Helmets organization is funded as part of the USA/UK’s regime-change strategy for Syria, it only operates in opposition-held areas, has undoubtedly been used for media propaganda purposes, and a film about them even won an Academy Award in 2016.[229] 

Robinson wrote that the PM has entered public consciousness, and that:

 

“The model and their work has been a major service to critical thinking and, ultimately, democracy.  It is the experience of this author, with 20 years of teaching in higher education, that many more students today are aware of the structural failings of mainstream media than was the case in the 1990s.  Referencing and talking about the Propaganda Model seems to elicit fewer smirks and knee jerk reactions than was the case 20 years ago.  Progress has been made.”[230] 

 

The authors of a chapter of TPMT presented the case that another filter of the PM could be the USA’s national security state and its private-interest sponsors, particularly the activities of the National Security Agency, as recently exposed by Edward Snowden, Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, and Julian Assange’s Wikileaks.  The chapter’s authors, Daniel Broudy and Miyume Tanji, argued that such citizen surveillance and related abuses of civil liberties contributed to the information management function of the American propaganda system, which they termed “System Security,” and emphasized the treatment that those whistleblowers received: as of 2020, Snowden lived in asylum in Russia, Assange is being “murdered by the British government,” and Manning spent eight years in incarceration, and the most recent stint of more than a year was because Manning refused to participate in Assange’s prosecution.[231]

Two chapters of TPMT analyzed the PM’s applicability to the media in Spain.  One chapter’s author, Miguel Álvarez-Peralta, wrote that the dynamics that led to the Spanish Revolution in 1936 were still evident in Spanish society, so that Spain’s corporate influence was relatively muted for the West, and that the PM did not seem as applicable in Spain as in other Western societies.[232]  In the other chapter, its author, Aurora Labio-Bernal, wrote that Spain also saw the rise of anticommunist propaganda in the 21st century, as a reaction to progressive efforts, which helped revive the relevance of the PM’s anticommunism filter.[233]

Matthew Alford discussed the PM and screen entertainment in a section of TPMT.  Alford’s doctoral thesis was an application of the PM to Hollywood productions, Alford is a filmmaker himself, and is the coauthor of National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood, which surveyed the influence of the American military, CIA, and FBI on Hollywood TV shows and movies.  Thousands of TV shows and movies were influenced by those government entities, sometimes dramatically, and their participation or refusal to could determine which shows were made and which were not.  Alford concluded that while the same filters were evident in entertainment, the PM was designed for and fit better with the news than entertainment.[234] 

Tabe Bergman created a PM for American television, which varied from the PM in that the third filter was the processes of show production, the fourth filter was the influence of government entities such as the CIA and Department of Defense, as well as independent pressure groups that policed entertainment content, and the ideological filter was neoliberalism.[235]  Barry Pollick applied the PM to media coverage of the National Football League, and his study concluded that it favored owners over players, which was consistent with the PM’s predictions.[236]

In the final section of TPMT, its authors presented case studies of the PM, relating to:

 

  1. The financial crisis of 2008 in the UK;[237]

  2. The continuing relevance of the PM, 30 years after its initial publication;[238]

  3. The Latin American media;[239]

  4. Barack Obama’s 2016 trip to Cuba and the media’s depiction of it;[240] and

  5. Discussions in the UK on using nuclear weapons, and how the British media normalized the idea of offensively using nuclear weapons on nations such as Iraq, contrary to the prevailing belief in the UK that it would use nuclear weapons only for defense.[241]

 

In the chapter on the continuing relevance of the PM, its author, Florian Zollmann, discussed the rise of the Internet and its commercial bias, which mirrored the establishment media’s bias.  Zollmann quoted Google’s founders, who warned back in 1998:

 

“We expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of consumers.”[242]

 

Zollmann also noted the rise of “humanitarian” intervention, of which the Western intervention in the former Yugoslavia was an early example, which Zollmann argued was not humanitarian at all, but was merely imperialism under a novel rubric, when the Cold War rationale fell apart after the Soviet Union’s demise.  Zollmann quoted an informed estimate that NATO’s “humanitarian” intervention in Libya increased the death toll by “seven to ten times”.[243]

In the chapter on the Latin American media, its author, Francisco Sierra Caballero, discussed the Pentagon’s “unrestricted warfare” against Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves, and one front of that Orwellian “permanent war” has been a propaganda barrage against Venezuela’s government, to help enact regime change.  As this section is being written in early February 2019, the Trump administration is advocating “humanitarian” military intervention in Venezuela.  Sierra Caballero also discussed a concurrent campaign against Bolivia’s “communist” government and noted its similarities to the American campaign against Chile in the 1970s.[244]  Sierra Caballero discussed the elite-dominated media in Mexico and its extreme double standards of reporting, particularly regarding the Herman-Chomsky dichotomy of “worthy” and “unworthy” victims, as Mexican society has been unraveling in recent years, accompanied by an increase in state violence against its domestic population, guided by the Pentagon and CIA, under a legal façade which has criminalized protest and progressive efforts.[245]

In the chapter on Obama and Cuba, its author, James Winter, wrote about the media’s highly biased account of Obama’s 2016 trip to Cuba, how Cuba was a “playground” for the American Mafia until the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and how the American establishment, including its media, had treated Cuba with unremitting hostility ever since, under the publicly stated rationale of Cuba’s human rights violations.  Winter wrote that the real reason for the constant assaults on Cuba since 1959 was Chomsky’s “threat of a good example” effect of a prosperous and independent Cuba, which would no longer be an American playground, which could inspire other nations subservient to the USA to gain their de facto independence.[246]

In the chapter on the UK’s discussions of nuclear weapons, its author, Milan Rai, wrote that the UK was just like the USA, in that the propaganda regarding nuclear weapons was that the USA and UK would only use them for defensive purposes.  But Rai argued that, in fact, the USA and UK regularly threatened nuclear attack on neocolonial targets such as Iraq, and that the UK had frequently and provocatively deployed its nuclear air fleet (called “V bombers”) to neocolonial hotspots such as Africa and the Middle East.[247]

TPMT’s concluding chapter assessed the PM in 2018, found that it continued to be highly relevant, and that key Herman-and-Chomsky hypotheses had been repeatedly confirmed, which included:

 

  1. When political and economic elites are united in their interests, the media will uniformly echo their consensus and support consequent efforts for domestic and international domination;

  2. In capitalist economies, the PM’s five filters have far stronger influence over media content than governmental intervention does;

  3. Critical studies of the media, which consider structural constraints, will be ignored and marginalized, while orthodox academic studies will avoid acknowledging those constraints.[248]

 

In December 2018, a section of Media Theory was devoted to Herman’s memory and the PM.[249]  The wide-ranging retrospective included several essays and discussions of Herman and Chomsky’s PM, in which the authors assessed the PM and dealt with its criticisms in the academic literature.  The retrospective noted that Herman and Chomsky were open to critiques of the PM and tests of its validity, and that they had modified it somewhat over the years since it was first published, such as adding free-market and anti-terrorism ideologies to the anticommunist filter, to update and generalize it.  The discussion noted that academic critiques often emphasized ancillary factors and minor outcomes in attempts to invalidate the PM, but one author, Tom Mills, wrote:

 

“[…] the authors’ broad claims about patterns of reporting are nevertheless well supported by the evidence they present, of which I am not aware of any convincing refutation.”[250]

 

One subject of discussion was whether the lack of detailed examination of each media filter in action had a bearing on the PM’s validity.  The conclusion was that it did not, while noting that such detailed work was welcome, and when it had been done, it confirmed the PM.  The discussion concluded that such work, or a lack of it, could not be logically used to dismiss the PM, as has largely been done in academia and in the media in general.  Yigal Godler wrote:

 

“The late Edward Herman pointed out long ago that critics of the PM failed to demonstrate that it violated the principle of logical consistency; namely, that they haven’t shown in their critiques that the PM would explain opposites.  Herman further pointed out that the critics failed to explain by means of some alternative explanation why the contents of the American elite media came out in the way that they did in Herman and Chomsky’s study of the media (recall Daniel Hallin’s attempt to explain Herman and Chomsky’s and his own findings through the vague notion of ‘professionalism,’ which itself is quite logically inconsistent); […] For this reason, one awaits a serious critique of the model, and not one which sets an arbitrary precondition for its validity.”[251]

 

An essay in the retrospective presented a detailed analysis of the PM’s filters regarding the 2018 elections in Colombia and Venezuela.  The essay’s author, Alan MacLeod, concluded that the American media’s treatment of those elections not only confirmed Herman’s writings about the disparity of how the media treated elections in client and enemy regimes, but that detailed research of the media’s coverage of those elections demonstrated that the filters of ownership, sources, and flak were still very much operational.[252]

An essay in the retrospective dealt with Herman’s writings on racism, and the author, Khadijah Costley White, began by describing an encounter with racism during her media career, before she had heard of Herman.[253]  When she later discovered Herman’s work, her prior experiences with racism made Herman’s work more relevant, and she wrote:

 

[…] Herman’s insights become most keen at the points in which they meet my own experience, study, and engagement with the media. It means almost nothing to state repeatedly that the media function as complements and conduits of a capitalist regime without a personal history and context through which one can fully understand the everyday mire of journalism’s entanglements.  It is through the mire, I think, that Herman’s theories are most clear.[254]

 

The final essay in the retrospective stated:

 

“The Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model constitutes the leading analytical tool to theorize and investigate media bias.”[255]

 

In 2019, Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent (“PIA”) was published, which was edited by MacLeod and dedicate to Herman’s memory.  PIA began with MacLeod’s discussion of the PM in the 21st century and its continued relevance, in which MacLeod quoted Robert McChesney’s introduction to a reprint of Herman’s assessment of the PM in the 1990s:

 

“The genius of Manufacturing Consent was that it opened an entirely new way of understanding the news media, not only for activists and people on the left, but also for more than one generation of students and young people trying to make sense of it.  It introduced them to a new way of viewing the world from a critical perspective, and understanding the importance, possibility, and necessity of social change.  There is no doubt that it is the most widely read and influential work on how to understand the US news media.  It remains so, and is more relevant than ever, three decades after its publication.”[256]

 

In MacLeod’s introduction to PIA, he discussed not only the PM’s continuing validity with the rise of electronic media, but how its features had become widely accepted by consumers of Western media after a series of media scandals.  As a result, in the USA and UK, journalists were some of the least trusted professionals, ranking below real estate agents and bankers and slightly above politicians, who were the least trusted professionals in the USA.[257]

In MacLeod’s 2018 interview of Chomsky, which was PIA’s first chapter, Chomsky discussed his writing efforts with Herman, going back to CRV, how Manufacturing Consent was received by the media, and the continuing applicability of the PM in the Internet age.[258]

In PIA’s second chapter, Zollmann discussed the PM in the 21st century, including the PM’s genesis in Herman’s work before the publication of Manufacturing Consent.  Zollmann proposed additional filters (technology, agency (in which journalists actively advanced corporate and state interests in their reporting), gender, and race) to update the PM.  And he proposed an addition to the ideological filter, of “humanitarian intervention,” which is a rationale for military interventions that assumes imperial benevolence.  For example, since the Soviet Union’s disintegration, the USA and its allies have used “humanitarian intervention” as their rational for mounting either invasions or proxy wars in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.  In that chapter, Zollmann discussed research results on the media in Europe, including the issue of CIA-directed Cold War propaganda campaigns, and how class conflict, sexism, and racism distorted journalism.  Zollmann wrote that while the media seemed to become more “fragmented” in the 21st century, his “analysis suggests that the PM is more relevant today than ever before.”[259]

In PIA’s third chapter, MacLeod assessed the strength of the PM’s five filters in 2019, in the context of the rise of the Internet and social media, with the concomitant decline in print and TV media.  MacLeod concluded that media content remained virtually unchanged during that transition to the Internet, and that the PM’s five filters had been strengthened in the 30 years since the publication of Manufacturing Consent.  MacLeod discussed the dimming applicability of the anticommunism filter, and like Herman, Chomsky, and others, argued that it should be more generalized, to portray external threats to societies, which could arguably be applied to any society.  MacLeod cited a 2017 survey of nine Western nations, and in none of them did the majority of the public agree with the idea that the media performed adequately in “distinguishing fact from fiction.” [260]

In PIA’s fourth chapter, MacLeod discussed the rise of Russia once again as an American propaganda target in the 2010s, after the American-supported coup in Ukraine, NATO’s aggressive posture toward Russia, Russian support for Syria’s government, which the USA was trying to topple, and the media hysteria over alleged meddling by Russia in the 2016 American presidential election, which as of 2020 has no credible supporting evidence.  The media heavily promoted the salacious allegations against Donald Trump contained in the so-called Steele Dossier.  It was later revealed that Hillary Clinton’s election campaign organization commissioned a British spy to write the “dossier,” which provided no evidence for its wild, tabloid-style allegations.

The media’s anti-Russian frenzy seemed to have peaked with Washington Post’s promotion of a crude and juvenile smear campaign perpetrated by PropOrNot, which was staffed with anonymous accusers.  PropOrNot labeled hundreds of American websites as Russian propaganda conduits, including Naked Capitalism, which was cited by CNBC as one the best financial blogs on the Internet.  Although Washington Post soon distanced itself from PropOrNot’s effort, in the wake of public outrage, media platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter soon rewrote their algorithms to reduce traffic to those named sites, which is an example of the technology filter that Zollmann proposed.  AlterNet, for instance, had a 63% reduction in traffic to its site as a consequence, which proved financially crippling, and AlterNet was sold the year after the algorithm changes were made.  MacLeod argued that this new era of McCarthyism did not come from the political right, as it did in the early days of the Cold War, but from the center, as the mainstream media sought to re-establish its “hegemony over communication.”  

The American media’s reporting on Russia became so extreme in the spring of 2017 that it became the greatest discrepancy, by far, in TV coverage versus public interest.  While 35% of the American public had heath care as their top issue of interest, and 6% had the USA’s relationship with Russia as their top concern, which was ranked sixth, the media devoted only a few percent of its coverage to health care and more than 70% to Russia.[261] 

MacLeod concluded his chapter with:

 

“Herman described the Russian narrative as amusing ‘fake news’ while Chomsky declared it a joke: ‘half the world is cracking up.’  However, the return of the fifth, anti-Russian filter has dramatically increased tensions between the two states most equipped to destroy the world.  The fate of the planet is no laughing matter.”[262]

 

In PIA’s fifth chapter, Oliver Boyd-Barrett examined the PM’s third filter, news sourcing, on reporting events during the USA’s interventions in Syria.  He examined “deflection propaganda,” which was intended to misdirect the audience’s attention from important issues to propaganda targets.  Boyd-Barrett discussed the long history of deflection in the American media, particularly during foreign interventions, such as in Guatemala in 1954.  Boyd-Barrett noted how Winston Churchill sent British spy William Stephenson to the USA to manipulate the American public into supporting the USA’s entry into World War II, because before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, about 80% of Americans opposed American involvement in World War II.

Boyd-Barrett’s chapter focused on how the deflection propaganda process was applied to the American intervention in Syria, including the complicity of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which adopted very low standards of reporting on alleged human rights abuses in Syria, so much so that Human Rights Watch became a conduit of a CIA disinformation campaign against Syria. 

Boyd-Barrett discussed the role of the White Helmets, which received more than $100 million of taxpayer money from the UK and USA and has been described as “al-Qaeda propaganda sidekicks.”  Boyd-Barrett discussed how the White Helmets produced fake videos from staged attacks, made to appear as attacks by the Syrian military, which the BBC aired in its Panorama documentary as genuine.  Boyd-Barrett described how the White Helmets were recorded luring hundreds of trapped women and children into what became the Rashideen massacre and staged a fake chemical weapons attack, which the media reported as genuine and which the USA’s government used to escalate the American intervention.[263] 

In PIA’s sixth chapter, MacLeod interviewed Alford regarding the applicability of the PM to the entertainment industry.  Alford noted that the PM’s filters were pertinent to how the entertainment industry deals with various topics, and particularly its overriding assumption of the state’s benevolence, no matter what crimes it might commit.  In Alford’s coauthored National Security Cinema, case studies of Hollywood-produced TV shows and movies were presented, which focused on how military and CIA influence could turn the original scripts on their heads and prevent insufficiently flattering shows from even being made.  As an example, the original Iron Man script had an anti-military message, but the final movie had a pro-military message, after military intervention.[264]  While MacLeod thought that the PM adequately explained how certain information was filtered from media presentations, he did not think that it was clear about how the PM applied to the active construction of propaganda.  Alford noted, as Herman did in his original writings on the PM, the relative strength of the filters was not evident and could not be applied as some kind of formula to predict specific media performance.  Alford also mentioned that the pairing analysis that worked so well in Herman and Chomsky’s work was not very applicable to entertainment, because such pairs were difficult to adduce.

As with similar recent works, PIA had chapters devoted to examining the PM’s applicability to the media in non-Western nations, such as former British colonies.  In PIA’s seventh chapter, Tabassum Ruhi Khan examined the effect of the PM’s filters on the reporting of a financial scandal in India, how the media avoided presenting information that put India’s ruling class in an unflattering light, and spun the situation in a way that could “befuddle” audiences as it protected the powerful.[265]  In PIA’s eighth chapter, Azmat Rasul examined the Indian government’s influence over Bollywood, and the officially declared public relations function of Bollywood productions.[266]  In PIA’s ninth chapter, Jacinta Mwende Maweu analyzed the Kenyan media’s coverage of Kenya’s 2017 elections, and described the PM’s filters in action, as well as how fake news, outright disinformation, and other propaganda-production methods were employed during the election campaign.[267] 

In PIA’s tenth chapter, Matt Kennard reported on his experiences while working for the Financial Times.  Kennard frankly called the interests that own and influence the media a global “racket,” which is comprised of corporations, financial institutions, and other concentrations of wealth and power.  Kennard argued that those interests held the real power on Earth.  Kennard applied the PM to what he experienced, and for the first filter, ownership, Kennard wrote, “The media are not just cheerleaders for big business, they are big business.”  Kennard worked in the UK, and wrote that just three corporations provided 70% of UK newspaper circulation.  Kennard wrote that the indoctrination of journalists to report as the powerful want them to begins in college, and he described his days in Columbia’s journalism program, which is the world’s most prestigious institution for training journalists. 

Kennard related an anecdote from his days at Columbia, when Henry Kissinger spoke to his class.  Kennard was amazed that nobody in the room was about to challenge Kissinger, and instead tossed him softball questions, such as on the human rights situation in China.  Kennard, however, asked Kissinger how he slept at night after overthrowing Chile’s government and killing millions in Southeast Asia.  His question cast a pall over the room, his instructor then moved to stand behind Kissinger in open support of him, tried to silence Kennard with gestures, another professor later told Kennard that he had “disgraced” himself by asking that question, and Kennard’s reputation as a troublemaker at Columbia was thereby established.  Kennard wrote that obedience to authority was deeply inculcated into Columbia’s students, so that in their careers they would rarely even question the framework that they wrote from within.

Kennard noted that unless journalists had completely digested their pro-corporate conditioning, they would be “cast aside” in the workplace.  Kennard eventually realized that journalism itself was a “racket,” and in response wrote The Racket: A Rogue Reporter vs. the Masters of the Universe, published in 2015. 

After Kennard left the Financial Times to write for other organizations, he saw that so-called “liberal” publications such as the Guardian and the Times were as corrupted as conservative publications, as they have the same owners and advertisers, rely on the same sources, and act identically.  Kennard called the so-called liberal/conservative spectrum of reporting an “illusion” of an independent media that challenges power, when it is really one of power’s tools.  Kennard wrote about how both “right” and “left” media produced black propaganda regarding Venezuela and its president Hugo Chavez, who challenged America’s corporate and imperial hegemony.  Kennard optimistically concluded his chapter with: “Soon both old politics and old media will be confined to the dustbin of history.”[268] 

PIA’s concluding chapter was written by MacLeod, who observed that with the rise of the Internet, decline in print media, and rise in nationalism and xenophobia, journalism was in a state of “economic and moral crisis,” and that only 43% of humanity and 38% of Americans trusted the news.  MacLeod noted the welcome rise in academic interest in the PM and its applicability to media across the world, particularly in the capitalist West.  No Western nation’s media is free from the PM’s structural constraints, media ownership is more concentrated than ever, and MacLeod wrote that the PM is more important than ever and “remains an indispensable tool for understanding the political economy of the modern media.”  MacLeod concluded the book with the statement that it was the “duty of academics, intellectuals and all thoughtful people to fight against it, exposing the media for what it is, and to manufacture dissent.”[269] 

 

Lies of Our Times, Z Magazine, and other writings in the 1990s

In 1989, Herman contributed to Hope and Folly: The United States and UNESCO, 1945-1985 with an analysis of the American media’s treatment of the USA’s withdrawal from UNESCO.  Also in 1989, Herman coauthored The “Terrorism” Industry with Gerry O’Sullivan, which further developed the themes of Herman’s The Real Terror Network.

In 1990, Herman became the editor of the magazine Lies of Our Times ("LOOT"), which presented media analysis.  Herman was LOOT’s editor for its entire existence, until it went out of business in 1994.  Herman also contributed at least one article to nearly every issue of LOOT, which particularly analyzed the reporting in the Times.  Examples of LOOT’s revelations were when it showed how the Times translated Arabic script for its readers.  In LOOT’s March 1990 issue, it reproduced a Times photo of Lebanese journalists marching in a demonstration, accompanied by a banner, in Arabic script, which translated to, “Yes to the (printed) word, no to terror.”  However, the Times informed its readers that the Arabic script translated to, “In Allah’s hands we are safe.”  The Times never printed a correction or retraction when informed of its “mistake.”[270]  The Times repeated that feat later that year, during the Bush administration’s promotion of the upcoming war against Iraq, when the Times translated Arabic script ringing the Bank of Kuwait’s logo as stating, “There is no deity but Allah,” when the Arabic script actually translated to, “Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait, 1952.”  Once again, the Times never printed a correction or retraction of its “translation.”[271]

Chomsky wrote an article each month for LOOT under the heading “Letter from Lexington.”  Chomsky’s articles were subsequently compiled into the book Letters from Lexington: Reflections on Propaganda, for which Herman wrote the foreword.[272]

Herman’s articles in LOOT usually analyzed the Times’s reporting, and generally focused on its extreme double-standards of news treatment, depending on the subject, which always conformed to the PM.  Not only did Chomsky contribute to LOOT, but also former Herman coauthors Richard Du Boff and Gerry O’Sullivan repeatedly contributed.[273]  Also contributing were Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Alexander Cockburn, and former CIA case officer Ralph McGehee.[274]  LOOT won the 1995 Orwell Award, and Chomsky remembered LOOT as a “great” magazine.

Examining the Times’s coverage in LOOT was one of Herman’s many activities in the early 1990s.  He also wrote about the Wall Street Journal’s biased reporting.[275]  While Herman’s local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer (AKA “Inky”), published his letters to the editor in the early 1980s, for the next decade, Herman believed that he was on Inky’s blacklist after it got flak from local Israel-supporters when Inky published a column by Herman that identified Israel as a terrorist state.[276]  Herman wrote on Inky’s frequent far-right bias, and he mounted an online effort called “InkyWatch,” which was a weekly publication that survived for about ten years, and Herman was its primary contributor.[277]

Michael Albert and Lydia Sargent, founders of South End Press, which published The Washington Connection and After the Cataclysm, founded Zeta Magazine in 1987, which was renamed Z Magazine in 1989.  Herman contributed an article to nearly every issue of Z Magazine, clear into his 90s, when his contributions became more occasional.  Herman’s themes were usually mass media analysis and American foreign policy, and featured such issues as the media’s treatment of Suharto as a “good genocidist” while Pol Pot was a “bad genocidist.”[278]  Herman also wrote about economic issues, such as Paul Krugman’s tenure at the Times that saw a mellowing of his enthusiasm for the neoliberal agenda, to the point where Krugman expressed his reservations about the merits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.[279]  Herman wrote that more often, liberal-leaning economists became right-wingers as they sold out their principles while pursuing lucrative careers.[280]  In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, Herman wrote about how the very companies that caused the crisis were the ones being bailed out by the government.[281]

During the Bush administration’s promotion of its upcoming invasion of Iraq, in response to eager support coming from so-called leftists, in particular Christopher Hitchens’s praise for cruise missiles as “precision-guided weaponry” that Hitchens called “good in itself,” Herman published five articles in Z Magazine on “The Cruise Missile Left.”[282]  Herman also contributed to other publications in the 1990s, such as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

Herman often wrote about how the so-called “liberal media” was anything but liberal, and an example was an article in Z Magazine on a National Public Radio (“NPR”) segment that criticized Yale for returning a $20 million gift from Texas billionaire Lee Bass, as Bass insisted that he could choose what faculty was hired with his “gift,” which was explicitly given with the understanding that it was to be used in a counteroffensive to the “political correctness” trend on American campuses.  “Liberal” NPR echoed the Wall Street Journal in calling the returning of Bass’s “gift” to be form of censorship, rather than an attempt by Yale to maintain its academic integrity.  Herman noted a rare occurrence when the Times took a principled stand, as it did on Yale’s rejection of Bass’s gift, while NPR failed to.[283]

Herman published prolifically in the 1990s.  His Beyond Hypocrisy: Decoding the News in an Age of Propaganda, which contained Herman’s humorous “Doublespeak Dictionary,” was published in 1992 and was illustrated by political cartoonist Matt Wuerker.  In 1995, Herman published Triumph of the Market: Essays on Economics, Politics, and the Media.  In 1997, Herman and Robert W. McChesney published The Global Media: The New Missionaries of Corporate Capitalism.  In 1999, Herman published The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader.  Those works expanded on Herman’s themes of media analysis and the USA’s foreign and domestic policies, including its covert and open interventions in foreign nations.  The Global Media was one of the earliest works that assessed what the Internet Revolution meant to the global media.

In 1999, Herman wrote a chapter of Cold-War Propaganda in the 1950s, titled, “Returning Guatemala to the Fold.”[284]  In that chapter, Herman reviewed the media-enabled American overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954, which served the interests of United Fruit Company.  The coup was a response to the Guatemalan government’s attempt to nationalize unused land owned by United Fruit, as part of land reform activities, to provide farmland to Guatemala’s landless peasantry.  As part of its propaganda campaign against Guatemala’s Arbenz administration, United Fruit hired Edward Bernays, who actively managed the Times’s coverage, which complied with the “Red Scare” propaganda of the day.  Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA and who had a financial stake in United Fruit Company (he was their attorney and a shareholder), as did his brother John Foster, who was the Secretary of State of the time, got the Times’s reporter recalled from Guatemala when he reported that the political milieu in Guatemala was “nationalist” instead of “communist.”[285]  When the USA overthrew the Guatemalan government, there were a mere 4,000 communist party members in a national population of three million, and who had minor influence on Guatemala’s government.  But those communists became the basis for the Red Scare overthrow of Guatemala’s government, which terminated a ten-year experiment in Guatemalan democracy and installed a series of corporate-friendly dictatorships that eventually engaged in genocide against Guatemala’s domestic population, particularly its Mayan peasantry.

Herman often wrote about the Times, and he challenged one of their claims of journalistic integrity: their opposition to the Vietnam War.  Herman contended that the Times was an enthusiastic supporter of the American invasion of Vietnam from the beginning, and that it, “never abandoned the language of apologetics, according to which the United States was resisting somebody else’s aggression and protecting ‘South Vietnam.’”  Herman wrote that the Times never wavered from the “tragic error” framework, never published a critique of the Vietnam War on principle, and that, “the antiwar movement and the ‘sixties’ have always been treated with hostility by the paper.”[286]

 

Disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Western media

The collapse of the Soviet Union allowed the USA to openly intervene in the former Soviet sphere of influence.  Herman wrote extensively on the West’s contribution to the disintegration of Yugoslavia and on the USA’s interventions in particular, including NATO’s bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999.  Herman’s work on the former Yugoslavia was primarily published in the first decade of the 21st century, often in collaboration with David Peterson.[287]

From the beginning of his writings on the former Yugoslavia, Herman challenged the official Western narrative, which stated that an American-led NATO was engaging in a “humanitarian” invasion to prevent “genocide.”  Herman wrote at length about the Western media’s use of the words “humanitarian” and “genocide,” and noted the same double standards that the media used with “terrorism.”[288]  In the second edition of Manufacturing Consent, published in 2002, Herman and Chomsky presented a tally of the mainstream media’s use of “genocide” in relation to slaughters perpetrated in Kosovo, East Timor, Turkey, and Iraq.  Iraq’s slaughters of its Kurdish population (after Iraq became an enemy state overnight when it invaded Kuwait) were called “genocide” between 10 and 20 times as often as Turkey’s comparable slaughters of its Kurdish population, and Turkey used American-supplied weapons.  While an objective assessment of the facts would not suggest a Serbian “genocide” against the Albanians in Kosovo, and the Indonesian invasion of East Timor led to what is likely humanity’s greatest proportional genocide of an ethnic group since World War II, the American mainstream media applied “genocide” to Serbian activities in Kosovo about 10 times as frequently as it did Indonesia’s activities in East Timor.[289]

Herman noted that the professional scholarship regarding Yugoslavia’s breakup also weighed important factors that the American media has rarely covered, which included:

 

  1. A strong central government was needed to hold the nation together in the face of Yugoslavia’s longstanding divisions, largely based on ethnicity and region;

  2. The roots of Yugoslavia’s economic crisis of the 1990s were easily traceable to the 1982 deflationary economic policies that the World Bank and IMF imposed;

  3. The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the motivation of the West to keep supporting the central Yugoslavian state;

  4. Germany and Austria encouraged Slovenia to secede from Yugoslavia without any democratic vote or provision for the welfare of Slovenia’s large Serbian minority;

  5. The West and Western Badinter Commission would not allow ethnic minorities in precarious situations to leave the new nations;

  6. The USA and the West encouraged Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Muslim population to try establishing a state under its control, while the local Serbian and Croatian residents were opposed to it and fearful; 

  7. The USA and NATO supported Croatia, even as it attacked and expelled Serbs in Krajina;

  8. Milosevic supported many efforts at diplomacy that were foiled, largely because of American meddling (such as encouraging Muslim inflexibility), such as the Owen-Vance and Owen-Stoltenberg plans.[290]

 

In critiquing Hitchens’s support for the Clinton-led attack on Serbia, and challenging Hitchens’s critique of Chomsky’s work that questioned American intervention (The New Military Humanism), Herman articulated the primary issues that he and Chomsky were concerned with:

 

  1. The war’s impact;

  2. The war’s legality;

  3. The actual motivations of those waging war; whether it was their professed humanitarian concern or the standard political-economic concerns.

 

Herman wrote that Clinton could not have been motivated by humanitarian concern when he led the attack on Serbia, when its crimes in Kosovo were insignificant when compared to concurrent and far greater crimes in Turkey and East Timor, committed with American-supplied weapons, which Clinton continually ignored.[291]

Project Censored’s 10th-ranked story of 1999 was how the USA deliberately started the war with the former Yugoslavia.  Examples of the USA’s machinations included its ultimatum at Rambouillet, which many diplomats deplored as not being a serious negotiation and which called for the military occupation of all of Yugoslavia, which even Henry Kissinger said was “an excuse to start bombing,” and the CIA’s training of the extremely violent Kosovo Liberation Army (“KLA”) well before NATO’s bombing, when just the year before, in 1998, American special envoy to Bosnia, Robert Gelbard, described the KLA as a “terrorist group.”[292]

In 2000, Herman co-edited and contributed to Degraded Capability, The Media and the Kosovo Crisis, which was an analysis of the global media’s performance regarding NATO’s bombing of the former Yugoslavia.  Herman and Peterson contributed a chapter of Degraded Capability, which analyzed CNN’s performance.  Herman and Peterson’s analysis portrayed CNN as an enthusiastic supporter of NATO’s attack and concluded that CNN acted as “NATO’s de facto public information arm [...].”[293]  Herman and Peterson presented their analysis of CNN’s coverage and whom CNN featured.  The majority of CNN’s interviews were with NATO-bloc officials, and less than 1% of CNN’s coverage was devoted to the 15 most prominent critics of NATO’s actions, including Chomsky, who was not on CNN even once.

Herman and Peterson wrote about how CNN never reported the particulars of the Rambouillet document, such as the requirement that Serbia not only cede its sovereignty in Kosovo to NATO, but to cede all of Yugoslavia’s as well.  The authors noted how CNN gullibly reported on the “Racak massacre,” which was avidly reported by NATO and the media as a massacre of civilians, when the forensic studies of Racak’s dead showed them to likely be battle deaths and that most of the dead were probably KLA fighters.[294]  The so-called Racak massacre was a key public justification for NATO’s bombing campaign.  Herman and Peterson later classified the Racak massacre as one of the media’s “mythical bloodbaths.”[295]  Herman and Peterson later wrote that on the day before NATO’s bombing commenced, the British Defense Minister informed the British Parliament that the KLA had probably killed more civilians in Kosovo than the Serbian army had.[296]  Before NATO’s bombing began, there were about 2,000 civilian deaths in Kosovo, of which the Serbian military was responsible for about 500.[297]

Herman and Peterson wrote about one of CNN’s acts that contributed to Serbian deaths, when NATO bombed a Serbian TV station after accusing it of broadcasting “propaganda.”  In fact, CNN was using that very facility on the day before the bombing, as had other American broadcasting networks.  CNN was privately informed of the upcoming NATO bombing and quietly evacuated its personnel while never warning its Serbian colleagues, 16 of whom were killed in the next day’s NATO bombing.  CNN never informed its viewers of its involvement or mentioned that attacking a TV station was a Geneva Convention war crime.[298]

After NATO’s bombing and isolation of Serbia, human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) and Amnesty International (“AI”) in particular, began campaigning to have Slobodan Milosevic delivered to the war crimes tribunal that the United Nations (“UN”) set up at The Hague (International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”)), which indicted Milosevic in the midst of NATO’s bombing of Serbia.  Herman and Peterson wrote extensively on the ICTY and Western media coverage of it.  They also wrote about HRW’s corruption, beginning with when it was established, into a tool of American foreign policy.[299] 

Herman and human rights attorney Christopher Black wrote that the chief prosecutor for the ICTY, Louise Arbour, was an unindicted war criminal.  Her indictment of Milosevic for war crimes in the midst of NATO’s bombing campaign was one of the many judicial irregularities of her tenure at the ICTY, which included her inaction on an internal report prepared by the ICTY (leaked to the Western press, to the ICTY’s consternation) that chronicled war crimes greater than any that Milosevic was accused of, but since the perpetrators were Croats and their Operation Storm was actively supported by the USA, those named were not indicted.  Arbour dispensed with many principles of standard jurisprudence and stated, “The law, to me, should be creative and used to make things right.”[300]

Black and Herman, and later Herman and Peterson, listed some of the legal irregularities in the ICTY’s operation:

 

  1. No separation of prosecution and judge;

  2. No right to bail and a speedy trial;

  3. Defendants may be tried twice for the same crime;

  4. No right to a jury trial;

  5. No independent appeal body;

  6. Admission of hearsay evidence;

  7. Confessions to be presumed free and voluntary unless the contrary is established by the prisoner;

  8. No definition of the burden of proof needed for a conviction, such as “beyond a reasonable doubt.”[301]

 

In 2008, nearly a decade after Milosevic’s indictment, three Croats were indicted in an apparent attempt to show the ICTY’s impartiality, and all Croatian indictees were eventually acquitted.  The ICTY was formed by the UN Security Council in 1993 and was dominated by the USA, along with the UK and Germany.  The USA largely funded and staffed the ICTY.  Herman and Peterson presented an alternative framework that described ICTY as the “Pseudo-Judicial Public Relations Arm of NATO.”[302]  The ICTY almost exclusively prosecuted Serbs, while many of the greatest war crimes in Yugoslavia were arguably committed by non-Serbs and NATO itself.  Herman and Peterson quoted American and British documents and officials who openly stated that the ICTY operated under their direction, which strongly implied that the ICTY was far from an impartial court.[303]

Eleven days after Herman’s death, Serbian General Ratko Mladić was convicted by the ICTY and sentenced to life in prison.  Black noted the ICTY’s judicial irregularities in Mladić’s trial, including the final ruling that resembled a propaganda tract rather than a court judgement, as little presented prosecutorial evidence would meet juridical standards and the defense testimony and evidence was minimized to the point of being nearly invisible.[304]

Herman and Peterson presented a theme that Herman wrote extensively on afterward: when Nazi officials were tried at Nuremberg, American prosecutor Robert H. Jackson made a landmark statement, that the greatest crime that the Nazis committed was initiating a war of aggression, which became the court’s position.  Jackson stated:

 

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

 

Herman and Peterson wrote that the UN Security Council excluded a war of aggression, which NATO’s bombing arguably was, from acts that the ICTY would prosecute.[305]  The authors wrote about how a well-documented war crimes complaint was delivered to the ICTY in 1999 by lawyers from North and South America, which named 68 NATO leaders, but the leading American petitioner eventually gave up when he realized that the ICTY was “a hoax.”[306]

Herman and Peterson addressed the gross double-standards of the ICTY, such as how Serbs were indicted for alleged war crimes, when NATO and non-Serbian actors allegedly committed the same crimes and worse, but were either never prosecuted by the ICTY or given token treatment in apparent attempts to show the ICTY’s impartiality.[307]

Herman and Peterson wrote about how the USA openly supported the ICTY, which operated under its direction, while it simultaneously announced that it would not recognize the authority of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”), which it did not control.[308]  The seven nations that voted against the treaty that formed the ICC were China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, Yemen, and the USA.

Herman and Peterson noted how the ICTY’s prosecution was generously funded, while the defense was not similarly funded.  The authors also noted how the ICTY regularly rejected the practices of standard jurisprudence, as it “created its own rules as it went along.”

Herman and Peterson’s essay on the subject was written to analyze the performance of the Times’s primary journalist who covered the ICTY, Marlise Simons, who never reported any departures from accepted judicial practice for the Times’s readers.  Herman and Peterson noted the striking parallels between the ICTY’s activities and the Stalinist show trial against Leon Trotsky.[309]  Milosevic died in the ICTY’s custody of a heart attack, soon after the ICTY rejected Milosevic’s request for specialized medical treatment for his heart condition.  Camp Bondsteel, a large American military base, sits in Kosovo today.

Herman later wrote that not only did politically compromised courts such as the ICTY define aggressive war out of existence, as far as war crimes were concerned, in direct contradiction to Nuremberg’s rulings, at least for those committed by the ICTY’s sponsors, so did the most prominent “human rights” organizations, such as AI and HRW, which adopted the ideological framework of the imperial aggressors.[310]

In 2010, Herman and Peterson published The Politics of Genocide, which Chomsky wrote the foreword to.  The Politics of Genocide used the framework that Chomsky and Herman used a generation earlier in CRV, as Herman and Peterson categorized bloodbaths and genocides as constructive, nefarious, benign, and mythical, depending on their political-economic expediency to Western, and particularly American, interests.  The authors classified the Iraq sanctions regime under George H.W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s administrations and the invasion/occupation of Iraq under George W. Bush’s administration as “constructive genocides,” which claimed nearly two million lives by conservative estimates, but the American media almost never described them as “genocides.”  In contrast, the Serbian military’s actions in Kosovo claimed perhaps 500 civilian lives before NATO’s bombing began, and might have been fewer than those that the KLA killed in the same timeframe, but was constantly referred to by the American mass media as a “genocide.”  Herman and Peterson classified Serbian activities in Kosovo as a “nefarious genocide,” and they classified Croatia’s Operation Storm, which made 250,000 Serbs refugees from the Krajina region and killed several thousand people, including several hundred women and children, as a “benign bloodbath.”[311]

In The Politics of Genocide, Herman and Peterson introduced a novel statistic: the number of people killed in an event, and the number of times that the mainstream media used the word “genocide” to describe it.  The Iraq sanctions regime and subsequent American invasion and occupation were described as “genocide” by the American media 80 times for the sanctions regime and 13 times for the American invasion and occupation, for a death/”genocide” reporting ratio of 10,000-to-one for the sanctions regime and nearly 77,000-to-one for the American invasion and occupation.  The 33,000 deaths of Bosnian Muslim civilians and 4,000 Albanian civilian deaths in Kosovo were “nefarious genocides,” and the death/”genocide” reporting ratio was 69-to-one for the Bosnian Muslims and 12-to-one for the Albanians in Kosovo, which was the lowest that Herman and Peterson reported.  The Rwandan/Ugandan invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a “benign genocide” in the Herman-Peterson framework, and the more than five million deaths that resulted from the invasion were called “genocide” in the mainstream media a total of 17 times, for a death/”genocide” reporting ratio of more than 317,000-to-one, which was the highest that Herman and Peterson reported.  The difference between the highest and lowest death/”genocide” reporting ratio was 317,000 to 12, or a discrepancy of more than 25,000-fold.  Stated differently, a death of an Albanian civilian in Kosovo was called “genocide” in the media more than 25,000 times as often as a death of a Hutu refugee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[312]  It made the worthy-and-unworthy-victim statistics presented in Manufacturing Consent, of a disparity of less than two-hundred-fold, pale into insignificance.  In the social sciences, there may not be a greater statistical disparity than what Herman and Peterson reported for the American media’s use of the word “genocide.”

Chomsky began his foreword to The Politics of Genocide with:

 

“Perhaps the most shattering lesson from this powerful inquiry is that the end of the Cold War opened the way to an era of virtual genocide denial.  As the authors put it, more temperately, ‘during the past several decades, the word “genocide” has increased in frequency of use and recklessness of application, so much so that the crime of the 20th Century for which the term was originally coined often appears debased.’  Current usage, they show, is an insult to the memory of victims of the Nazis.”[313]

 

One incident in particular had enduring relevance to Herman’s work, which was the massacre of “Bosnian Muslim men of military age” in July 1995.  The ICTY located 2,000 bodies in the aftermath, and the ICTY’s forensic analyst concluded that at least half of the bodies retrieved from the mass graves died in combat in the fierce fighting around Srebrenica, not by executions.[314]  Less than 500 of the recovered bodies provided evidence of execution, which primarily consisted of blindfolds and ligatures.[315]  Herman further noted that those victims may have been intentional sacrifices, abandoned by their commanders to their fate.  A number of Bosnian Muslim officials stated that their leader, Alija Izetbegovic, informed them that Bill Clinton advised him that at least 5,000 Muslims had to be killed by Serbs at Srebrenica in order to justify an American intervention.[316]  The numerically superior Muslim forces withdrew, leaving those men vulnerable to Serbian forces.

Herman also noted that the executions were partly motivated by revenge, as several thousand Serbian civilians had been killed in the region by Bosnian Muslim invaders since 1992.[317]  Even though the Serbs bussed Muslim women, children, and the elderly from the area before engaging in the massacre of Muslim military-age men, the American and Western media have referred to the incident ever since as a “genocide.”

In 2011, Herman edited and contributed to The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, which dealt with the treatment of the Srebrenica massacre in the Western media and ideological system, as well as what the best evidence showed about the massacre.

As the highly publicized 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre arrived in 2015, Herman wrote that a much worse and undebatable massacre happened only a few months before Srebrenica’s, but virtually nobody in the West had ever heard of it: the massacre of several thousand Hutus in a refugee camp near Kibeho in Rwanda by the Tutsi regime led by Paul Kagame.  It was a slaughter of about 8,000 Hutu men, women, and children, and perhaps more, by the Tutsi camp guards in April 1995.  Its anniversary passed in nearly complete silence in the Western media.  Herman argued that the “Golden Silence” of the media in the instance of the Kibeho massacre was because it was committed by American ally Paul Kagame’s forces.  The only Western nation with any coverage of the Kibeho massacre’s anniversary was Australia, as 32 Australian medical personnel, working on the UN’s behalf, witnessed the slaughter.  The Australians were forced to stop counting by the Tutsi camp guards when they reached 4,000 victims, which was less than half of the apparent corpses.[318]  The issue of Rwanda and the Western media system became a focus of Herman’s work in the 21st century.

In 2012, Herman and Peterson published Reality Denial, which was a critique of Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.  Herman and Peterson argued that Pinker’s effort was thinly veiled imperial apologetics.  Herman and Peterson wrote: “Pinker selects the estimated death toll that minimizes the U.S.-inflicted casualties and fits his political agenda.”[319]  Pinker argued for a “Long Peace” since the end of World War II, and Herman and Peterson countered with, “[…] in the real world there has been a series of long and devastating U.S. wars […].”[320]

Herman and Peterson wrote, “In his treatment of ‘genocide,’ Pinker’s selectivity - his focus on Western target-victims and neglect of the victims of the West itself - and his gullible and ignorant treatment of the facts are remarkable.”  Herman and Peterson presented an example of Pinker’s “genocide” estimate of Bosnian “massacre” deaths from 1992 to 1995 as between 100,000 and 200,000, while establishment estimates, including one by the ICTY, placed the deaths from all sides in Bosnia at 100,000 and Bosnian Muslim civilians at 33,000.[321]

On Rwanda, Herman and Peterson wrote that not only did Pinker espouse the Western party line that Rwanda’s Hutus slaughtered 700,000 Tutsis with machetes, which did not match the adducible facts that Herman and Peterson later wrote about in Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, Pinker failed to connect the conquest of Rwanda by the Tutsis to their subsequent invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had claimed several million lives when Pinker published his book.

Herman and Peterson noted that while Pinker tended to exaggerate when describing slaughters committed by enemies of the USA, for victims of American aggression, Pinker did not even mention them, such as the American-backed genocide in Guatemala in the 1980s, which killed about 200,000 people and was nowhere mentioned in Pinker’s book.  Pinker also failed to mention the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in his book’s section on genocide, when it was likely the greatest proportional genocide since World War II.  When Pinker mentioned East Timor, it was in the context of “civil war” and murders by “gangs of drugged or drunken hooligans.”  Herman and Peterson wrote that there was no “civil war” when the genocide happened, and that far from “hooligans” performing the genocide, it was committed by the Indonesian military and its agents, with American weapons and support from the start, which was “a fact that might explain his lack of interest in this real genocide.”[322]

Herman and Peterson discussed Pinker’s use of sources, such as Pinker’s repeated citations of Rudolph Rummel’s work.  In Rummel’s Death by Government, which is his chief scholarly work, which was one of four of his works that Pinker cited, he produced a “prudent” estimate of the USA’s “democide” deaths in Vietnam as 5,500, while attributing 1.7 million democide deaths to the “communist” government of North Vietnam.  In Rummel’s definition of democide, “the killing of non-combatants must be carried out by agents acting on behalf of a government, with the clear intent to kill members of a targeted population.” 

Herman and Peterson wrote:

 

“Free-fire zones, high-level saturation bombing, destruction of villages in order to ‘save them,’ napalm, cluster bombs, the use of ‘six times’ the tonnage of ‘bombs and shells’ against Vietnam (South and North) than it used during all of World War II (acknowledged by Rummel), and the widespread application of chemical weapons to destroy civilian crops (Operation Ranch Hand), the last causing crippling damage to hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese children, fail to resonate with Rummel, for whom it remains an article of faith that the United States did not deliberately harm civilians in the war.”[323]

 

Herman and Peterson concluded that Rummel’s work was, “[…] extreme fanaticism masquerading as scholarship.”  The authors noted that, in contrast to Rummel’s anticommunist writings that Pinker liberally cited, no mention was made of the work of fellow Harvard professor Amartya Sen, whose work covered similar subject matter to Pinker’s study, for which Sen won a Nobel Prize.  But, instead of constantly assailing communism, Sen and frequent coauthor Jean Drèze regularly discussed the failings of capitalist systems, such as in their Hunger and Public Action.  Whereas Pinker described the famine in China between 1959 and 1961 as an event that Mao Zedong “masterminded,” Sen and Drèze did not make such an attribution of intent, compared the situations of communist China and capitalist India, and concluded that, “India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of famine.”

Herman and Peterson wrote about Pinker’s frequent mention of “terrorism” in Better Angels, and a section of Pinker’s book was devoted to it, but the authors noted how Pinker adopted the framework that ignored state terrorism while focusing on “non-state actors.”  The authors wrote that Pinker did not consider Israeli slaughters of Palestinians, fully intended to intimidate their target population, or the American “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq, to be acts of terrorism.[324]

Herman and Peterson finished Reality Denial with:

 

“In the final analysis, The Better Angels of Our Nature is an inflated political tract that misuses data and rewrites history in accord with its author’s clear ideological biases, while finding ideology at work only in the actions of his opponents […].

“Small wonder, then, that the message of Better Angels pleases so well the editors of the New York Times and the large U.S. permanent-war establishment.  It is regrettable that despite its manifest problems, the book has bamboozled so many other people who should know better.”

 

Genocides in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Western media

In The Politics of Genocide, in the chapter titled “Nefarious Genocides,” Herman and Peterson wrote a section on Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”, and named Zaire when the Rwandan invasion began), and wrote on themes that they developed further in their 2014 collaboration, Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later.

In Enduring Lies, Herman and Peterson made the case that the West’s popular conception of the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s reflected one of the Western media’s greatest Orwellian triumphs, when it turned reality on its head as perpetrators were portrayed as victims, and victims as perpetrators.

Chomsky and Herman first wrote about Tutsi slaughters of Hutu in CRV and The Washington Connection, describing the Tutsi slaughters of Burundi’s Hutu professionals, including several members of the government’s cabinet and all Hutu officers in the military, up to 250,000 victims in all, as a “benign bloodbath.”  When the killings finally ended, there was only one Hutu nurse in Burundi.  Chomsky and Herman quoted the American ambassador to Burundi, Thomas Melady, who defended American inaction to the slaughter as an example of the “limitations of United States power.”  Chomsky and Herman wrote that the ambassador’s view revealed either “a startling degree of cynicism or capacity for self-deception.”[325]

Herman and Peterson began Enduring Lies with some context, writing that the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups were both Bantu language-speakers.  The Tutsi became the elite and the Hutu the commoners over the centuries (the Tutsis had a pastoral heritage while the Hutus had an agrarian one), at a ratio of about 10%-20% elite Tutsi and 80%-90% peasant Hutu, which was typical of agrarian societies, with their limited agricultural surpluses.  That ethnic division was exploited under both German and Belgian colonial rule, in standard imperial practice, and the Tutsi became the elite overseers of colonial society on behalf of their European overlords.  When the postwar revolutions in Africa and elsewhere overthrew colonial rule, Rwanda’s Hutus deposed the Tutsis in a revolution between 1959 and 1961.  Tutsis fled Rwanda into exile, largely to Burundi, but also to the West, and more than 100,000 Rwandan Tutsis had settled in exile in Uganda by 1985.[326]

Idi Amin was overthrown as Uganda’s dictator in 1979, and in 1981, Milton Obote was elected Uganda’s president.  Immediately after Obote’s electoral victory, Amin’s former defense minister, Yoweri Museveni, led a guerilla war against the Obote government, finally overthrowing it in 1986, and Museveni dictatorially rules Uganda as of 2020.  Two members of Museveni’s organization were his close comrades: Fred Rwigyema and Paul Kagame, Tutsis who had fled Rwanda as young boys with their families.  Rwandan Tutsis in Museveni’s organization, which occupied western Uganda in the 1980s, stated that they always knew that their experience would be used to one day conquer Rwanda, and they never lost Museveni’s support.

In October 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (“RPF”), primarily comprised of Tutsis in Uganda’s military, invaded Rwanda from Uganda, in a mutiny that the strict disciplinarian Museveni turned a blind eye to.  Rwigyema was killed on the invasion’s second day.  Paul Kagame was studying at an American military school in Kansas at the time, and he immediately quit school and came to Rwanda to lead the invasion, which killed tens of thousands of Hutus over the next several years.

Herman and Peterson wrote that the RPF’s invasion from Uganda has been largely omitted from Western histories, particularly by the Rwandan war crimes tribunal that was established.[327]  Human rights organizations such as AI and HRW completely ignored the crime of the RPF’s invasion of Rwanda and instead focused on what crimes Rwanda’s government may have committed in response to the invasion.[328]

Herman and Peterson wrote regarding the RPF’s invasion:

 

“The United States and Britain couldn’t publicly support an illegal war, even if they supported it wholeheartedly and covertly; but they could support one side in a civil war that is alleged to be fighting to prevent the other side from committing genocide against its ethnic brethren.”[329]

 

Herman and Peterson argued that many facts impressively contradicted the “Hutu genocide against the Tutsi” narrative that dominates Western discourse on the subject today, which Herman and Peterson named the “standard model.”  Herman and Peterson wrote that as it submitted to pressure from American and British diplomats, after years of having its economic reforms undermined by Western interests, led by the USA, the Hutu-led Rwandan government signed the Arusha Accords in August 1993, which legitimized the RPF.  Two months later, in neighboring Burundi, which had a similar ethnic composition of Hutu and Tutsi as Rwanda’s, the Tutsi military leadership assassinated Burundi’s first Hutu president and its first democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye, several months after he was elected with 65% of the vote.  The assassination triggered mass slaughters of perhaps 50,000 people, which created more than a million refugees, of which 260,000, mostly Hutu, still lived in Rwanda in March 1994.[330]  That Tutsi coup attempt failed, but a coup in 1996 succeeded.

In April 1994, Rwanda’s Hutu president, Juvénal Habyarimana, was assassinated, as was Burundi’s Hutu president, Cyprien Ntaryamira, who was elected after Ndadaye’s assassination, when Habyarimana’s airplane was downed by a missile as it approached Kanombe International Airport from a conference in Arusha.  The RPF mobilized within two hours of Habyarimana’s assassination and conquered Rwanda in less than four months in a prodigious bloodbath that claimed several hundred thousand lives, primarily Hutu, although reprisal killings of Tutsis claimed at least 100,000 lives.  Herman and Peterson quoted the UN’s military leader in Rwanda, Roméo Dallaire, a Canadian, who stated that the RPF was a highly trained force that could easily defeat the more numerous but poorly trained and equipped Rwandan military.[331]

Herman and Peterson wrote that similar to Yugoslavia’s ICTY, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (“ICTR”) was hastily convened in 1994 and even used the same prosecutors as the ICTY’s, including Louise Arbour, who was handpicked by the USA’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.[332]  Herman and Peterson wrote that the ICTR was as politically compromised as the ICTY, and that it exclusively prosecuted Hutus under its formally unchallengeable presumption that only Rwanda’s Hutus committed genocide.[333]

In 1996-1997, Australian attorney Michael Hourigan led the ICTR’s investigation under the direction of ICTR’s original chief prosecutor, Richard Goldstone, to discover who was responsible for Habyarimana’s assassination.  By early 1997, Hourigan’s team had amassed the evidence, which included confessions from several members of Kagame’s inner circle, that Kagame ordered Habyarimana’s assassination and that Kagame led a detailed planning meeting of the operation which shot down Habyarimana’s plane, less than a week before the assassination.  Hourigan’s team also obtained information from multiple sources, including the UN, that an RPF radio communication was intercepted immediately after Habyarimana’s assassination that announced that “the target has been hit.”  By the time that Hourigan’s team assembled its findings, Goldstone had been replaced by Arbour, whom Hourigan reported his team’s findings to.  To Hourigan’s dismay, Arbour received his team’s findings with hostility, ordered him to terminate his investigation, and announced that the ICTR would only prosecute crimes that happened after Habyarimana’s assassination.[334]  Hourigan soon resigned, and the ICTR never again investigated Habyarimana’s assassination. 

Herman and Peterson wrote that while the ICTR refused to investigate Habyarimana’s assassination, French anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguière conducted an investigation on behalf of the families of the crew of Habyarimana’s airplane.  Bruguière came to same conclusion that Hourigan did: Kagame’s RPF assassinated Habyarimana.  Herman and Peterson wrote that Kagame could never win a fairly contested election in Rwanda, so assassinating Habyarimana made strategic sense.  Bruguière issued arrest warrants for nine members of the RPF for their role in Habyarimana’s assassination.  Bruguière’s investigation adduced a witness to the delivery of the missiles used in the attack to the RPF’s headquarters and even the identities of the RPF soldiers who fired the missiles, one of which missed, while the other hit Habyarimana’s airplane.[335]

Herman and Peterson wrote that to this day, the standard Western view, promoted by Kagame’s apologists, is that Habyarimana’s assassination remains shrouded in mystery, and the ICTR pretended that Hourigan’s investigation never happened.[336]  Today, when the Western media assigns any responsibility for the assassination, it is to an organization called Hutu Power.[337]  Herman and Peterson wrote that not only was there no credible evidence of Hutu involvement in Habyarimana’s assassination, but that the scenario was highly implausible:

 

“On the assumption that the shoot-down was central to the larger plan of Hutu Power and genocide, this would have required a miracle of Hutu incompetence; but it would be entirely understandable if it was carried out by Kagame’s force as part of their planned program to seize state power.”[338]

 

In 2003 and 2010, Rwanda held elections in which Kagame won 95 and 93 percent of the vote, respectively.  Herman and Peterson wrote:

 

“Disappearances, assassinations, and extended prison sentences for opposition political figures and journalists, and the banning of opposition parties, have been regular features of a 20-year-long Kagame-RPF ‘regime consolidation’ and the ascendancy of Kagame Power.  Were U.S. targets such as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin or Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez or any number of successive Iranian presidents ever to have been awarded 93 or 95 percent of the reported votes in an election, the establishment U.S. media would have devoted huge, angry, and sarcastic denunciations to such a display of electoral corruption, and rejected and delegitimized the outcomes.  But Kagame’s flagrantly corrupt victories and brutal means his RPF has employed to guarantee them have hardly caused a dent in his recognition as a respectable and legitimate leader.”[339] 

 

In 2017, Kagame was “elected” with 99% of the vote, to ensure his tenure as Rwandan president until at least 2024.[340] 

Herman and Peterson argued that obscuring the RPF’s invasion from Uganda and misplacing responsibility for Habyarimana’s assassination were critical first steps in the Western media’s Orwellian feat of turning reality upside down, as it portrayed the events in Rwanda as the Hutus’ attempted genocide of the Tutsis.  The alleged Hutu plans to exterminate Rwanda’s Tutsis comprises what Herman and Peterson called “the foundational lie” of the standard model.  Herman and Peterson wrote that “conspiracy to commit genocide” has yet to be established for any of the ICTR’s prosecutions of Hutus, all of whom were either acquitted of that charge or had their convictions overturned on appeal.[341]

Goldstone and Arbour did not prosecute any Tutsis, but when their successor, Carla Del Ponte, tried to indict some RPF members for their alleged participation in massacres of Hutus, she was soon removed from her position after a campaign led by Kagame’s regime, accompanied by American and British diplomatic pressure.[342]

Herman and Peterson wrote that the Tutsi population of Rwanda before the RPF’s conquest was about 500,000-600,000, and that the most impressive study of the deaths during the RPF’s conquest of Rwanda counted about 500,000 people.  If genocide had been inflicted on Tutsis in Rwanda, there would have been few Tutsis left.  Tutsi deaths were estimated at 100,000-200,000.  The remainder would have been Hutu, and the higher the actual numbers killed, the higher the number and proportion of Hutu deaths.[343]  Herman and Peterson cited an American State Department memo from September 1994 that stated that the RPF and its Tutsi surrogates had slaughtered 10,000 or more Hutu civilians each month, with the RPF accounting for 95% of the deaths, and that the slaughter’s purpose was an “ethnic cleansing intended to clear certain parts of Rwanda for Tutsi habitation.”[344]

Herman and Peterson observed that the West’s dominant narrative has Kagame’s invasion halting the Hutu genocide of Tutsis, but they argued that the reality was that Kagame’s RPF was just beginning its murders.  Two years after the conquest of Rwanda, the RPA (the RPF was renamed the Rwandan Patriotic Army after Rwanda’s conquest) invaded the DRC, along with its allied forces from Uganda and Burundi, with heavy American and British support, both in supplies and diplomacy, in an invasion that had claimed more than five million lives by 2009.  The greatest loss of life was in the DRC’s provinces that the RPA invaded.[345]  Herman and Peterson noted that the RPA invaded under “several levels of pretext,” including hunting down the “genocidal” Hutu refugees.  Herman and Peterson noted that Kagame’s slaughters exceeded Idi Amin’s by a factor of at least five.[346]  Herman and Peterson wrote that the genocidal treatment of Hutu refugees was likely related to the idea that dead Hutus would not want the land back that the RPF drove them from, which Tutsi settlers subsequently occupied.[347]

Herman and Peterson wrote that Kagame is “possibly the greatest mass murderer alive today.”[348]  Similar to Suharto’s being a “good genocidist,” with gentle and even hagiographic treatment in the Western media, Herman and Peterson wrote that Kagame is a celebrity in Western culture, featured in works such as Stephen Kinzer’s A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It, which extolled Kagame’s virtues.  Herman and Peterson classified Kinzer’s book as “hagiography.”[349]  Herman and Peterson wrote that Kagame had even been compared to Abraham Lincoln, and has been universally portrayed in the West as a heroic figure.[350]  In The Politics of Genocide, Herman and Peterson performed a media analysis of its use of the word “genocide” when discussing various bloodbaths.  The Rwanda killings of about 500,000 were described as “genocide” more than 3,000 times, while deaths in the DRC, which numbered more than five million, were described as “genocide” 17 times.[351]  Herman and Peterson concluded that the RPA-led slaughters in the DRC were “Benign bloodbaths.”[352]

Herman and Peterson argued that the American, British, and Canadian support for Kagame’s activities in central Africa reflected a longstanding rivalry.  Hutu-ruled Rwanda and the DRC were aligned with France, and overthrowing their governments and replacing them with proxies friendly to business interests in the USA, the UK, and Canada, so that they could reap the benefits of exploiting the rich natural resources in the region and displacing French interests, may have been the overriding purpose of the entire affair.[353]

In replying to a critique of their work, Herman and Peterson wrote:

 

“In short, once the RPF controlled the Rwandan state, it immediately turned its prodigious killing machine towards Zaire’s natural resources.  This it may have done under cover of chasing the Hutu genocidaires, but the pillage of Zaire-the DRC worked out so well for the RPF that by the late 1990s it had ‘built up a self-financing war economy centered on mineral exploitation,’ in the words of the UN Panel, with the pillage of resources so complete that it not only finances the RPF’s aggression, but generates annual surpluses back in Kigali as well.  As the historian René Lemarchand sums up this system of blood and money: ‘It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that by turning a blind eye to the profits drawn from the looting of the Congo’s wealth, the international community . . . is tacitly encouraging a colonial enterprise in the best tradition of European imperialism.’  Of course, what is true of the ‘international community,’ is true of academics as well.”[354]

 

Herman and Peterson performed a global media analysis on bylined articles that appeared between April 1, 2004 and April 30, 2014.  The promoters of the standard model of the Rwandan genocide appeared in print more than ten times as frequently as the dissenters, and articles written by Paul Kagame himself, which numbered 17, equaled the entire published output of the dissenters.[355]

The most prolific apologist for Kagame has been Gerald Caplan, who had 30 articles published during that period.[356]  Caplan was the principal author of Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide, sponsored by the Organization of African Unity (“OAU”).  While the OAU specifically instructed the effort led by Caplan to investigate Habyarimana’s assassination, it never did, completely ignored the original ICTR investigation led by Hourigan as if it never happened, and refused to attribute the assassination to anybody, instead stating that the truth was “shrouded in conflicting rumors.”  When acting in a less official capacity and as an apologist for Kagame, Caplan cited the RPF’s investigation, which blamed “Hutu extremists.”  Filip Reyntjens, a Belgian academic and former ICTR investigator, wrote that Caplan’s assessment of the RPF’s investigation of Habyarimana’s assassination was “a painfully biased and uncritical endorsement.”[357]

Herman and Peterson noted that the second-most prolific promoter of the standard model, Linda Melvern, also wrote as if the ICTR investigation never happened, but remarked on the “continuing secrecy of western nations, the withholding of evidence and the failure to conduct an international inquiry,” while never seeming to suspect that the situation that she calls “shocking” could be due to the USA’s and UK’s efforts to protect their interests.[358]

Dallaire openly sided with the RPF in the events leading to Habyarimana’s assassination, but in an interview that he gave in September 1994, soon after he returned to Canada after the RPF’s conquest of Rwanda, Dallaire dismissed the standard model of the Rwandan genocide, stating that Hutu “extremist” efforts were “political” in nature, intended to eliminate the moderate Hutu and Tutsi coalition through political means.[359]

A year after Dallaire’s admission, when the ICTR was operating and more evidence of Hutu planning of the genocide was sought, to bolster the “foundational lie,” a fax was conveniently found, which has been promoted in the West as the “Genocide Fax.”  Herman and Peterson performed a document analysis that demonstrated that the so-called Genocide Fax is fabricated.  The fabrication effort began with text of a genuine fax that Dallaire sent to UN headquarters, seeking guidance on how to respond to an informant’s claims of weapons caches in Rwanda and how to protect the informant, but the document was then altered by removing some paragraphs and inserting text about killing Tutsis and Belgians.[360]  That altered document is today’s Genocide Fax.[361]

Bill Clinton repeatedly stated that his administration’s failure to intervene in the Hutus’ genocide of the Tutsis was his greatest regret as president.[362]  Herman and Peterson wrote that when Clinton said in 2013 that, “If we’d have gone sooner, I believe we could have saved at least a third of the lives that were lost…it had an enduring impact on me,” that “he managed to combine an implicit lie with rank hypocrisy.”[363]  Herman and Peterson wrote that, far from being inactive regarding the Rwandan genocide, Clinton acted decisively, leading the effort to withdraw the UN peacekeepers from Rwanda in the spring of 1994, immediately prior to the RPF’s war of conquest, so that UN forces would not interfere with or observe the coming carnage.  Herman and Peterson wrote that the Clinton administration acted similarly in 1996, leading the effort to prevent the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in Zaire, to protect Hutu refugees.  The authors argued that it was done so that Kagame’s invaders could once again slaughter prodigious numbers of Hutus and others, running into millions of deaths, unencumbered by any UN constraints.[364] 

Herman and Peterson concluded that not only was the idea of a Hutu genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda, or conspiracy to commit such, a fabrication from the start, but that the true genocide of the times, primarily inflicted by Kagame’s RPA in today’s DRC, is the situation for which the West is engaging in true genocide denial, and the architect of the genocide is portrayed as a heroic icon in the USA, the UK, and Canada.[365]  In 2007, regarding events in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Herman wrote that genocide inflation is the real human rights threat, more so than genocide denial, and that “genocidalism” had become a tool of American expansion.[366]

In his review of Justice Belied: The Unbalanced Scales of International Criminal Justice in 2015, Herman wrote that the authors in Justice Belied made a:

 

“[…] compelling case that this system is not only flawed but produces serious and systematic injustice.  One major theme pressed in a number of chapters is that the international criminal justice system (ICJS) that has emerged in the age of tribunals and ‘humanitarian intervention’ has replaced a real, if imperfect, system of international justice with one that misuses forms of justice to allow dominant powers to attack lesser countries without legal impediment.”[367]

 

Herman wrote:

 

“No tribunals have been established for Israel’s actions in Palestine or Kagame’s mass killings in the DRC.  Numerous authors in Justice Belied stress the remarkable fact of the ICC’s exclusive focus on Africans, with not a single case of charges brought against non-Africans.  And within Africa itself the selectivity is notorious – U.S. clients Kagame and Museveni are exempt; U.S. targets Kenyatta, Taylor, and Gadaffi are charged.”[368]

 

Herman concluded his review by noting how Justice Belied’s authors often stressed how the USA has corrupted the ICJS, and how:

 

“The system has worked poorly in service to justice, as the authors point out, but U.S. policy has had larger geopolitical and economic aims, and underwriting Kagame’s terror in Rwanda and the DRC and directing the ICC toward selected African targets while ignoring others served those aims.  Many of the statutes and much political rhetoric accompanying the new ICJS proclaimed the aim of bringing peace and reconciliation.  But this was blatant hypocrisy as the exclusion of aggression as a crime, the selectivity of application, the frequency of applied victor’s justice, and the manifold abuses of the judicial processes have made for war, hatred, and exacerbated conflict.  The authors of Justice Belied do a remarkable job of spelling out these sorry conditions and calling for a dismantling of the new ICJS and return to the UN Charter and nation-based attention to dealing with injustice.”[369]

 

Reflecting the accuracy of Herman and Peterson’s writings on Rwanda, the Secretary-General of the UN during the Rwandan genocide, Egyptian diplomat Boutros Boutros-Ghali, repeatedly stated that the genocide was, “one hundred percent the responsibility of the Americans!”  While open, name-calling derision came from the Clinton administration, an American-led effort led by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ejected Boutros-Ghali from his position at the UN in 1996.[370]

In October 2014, the same month that Enduring Lies was published, British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC 2’s This World broadcast Rwanda’s Untold Story, which, for the first time in the English-speaking West, told a story in the mainstream that differed from the standard model.  Rwanda’s Untold Story featured voices long marginalized in the West on the Rwanda issue, such as former FBI counter-terrorism agent James Lyons, whose position at the ICTR was Commander of Investigations and who was involved in Hourigan’s investigation.  Rwanda’s Untold Story featured Aloys Ruyenzi, who was a member of Kagame’s personal guard who stated that he heard Kagame order Habyarimana’s assassination and saw Kagame’s happiness when Habyarimana’s assassination was reported.  On Rwanda’s Untold Story, Del Ponte told the story of how she lost her job as ICTR prosecutor when she tried indicting RPF members.

While Rwanda’s Untold Story adhered to unsupported ideas such as a Hutu-planned genocide of Tutsis, its challenge of the standard model of the genocide was unprecedented in the Western mainstream media.  Within days of the televising of Rwanda’s Untold Story, 38 leading promoters of the standard model, including Melvern and Caplan, wrote a letter to the BBC, accusing Rwanda’s Untold Story of being an exercise in “genocide denial.”[371]

Peterson and Herman wrote about Rwanda’s Untold Story, noting that it uncritically repeated the myth of a Hutu conspiracy to exterminate the Tutsis and used a very loose definition of “genocide,” but that the show:

 

“[…] marks an important, informative, and decisive break from the now-more-than 20 years of false and propagandistic storytelling in the Anglo-American world that has buried the real history of the period.  Both the BBC 2’s This World and the documentary’s production staff deserve their audience’s gratitude - not condemnation.”[372]

 

Peterson and Herman then discussed the “38’s” letter to the BBC, noting that the term “genocide denial” and its variants dominated their letter, and that “genocide” was used at least 27 times, but it only referred to events in Rwanda in 1994, and the 38 were silent on the undisputed slaughter of millions in Zaire-the DRC as a result of the RPF’s invasion.  Peterson and Herman asked:

 

“[…] doesn’t their exclusive focus on Rwanda 1994 and the alleged Hutu conspiracy to exterminate the Tutsi make them apologists for the larger follow-up genocide?”

 

Peterson and Herman wrote about the 38’s misrepresentations of the investigations into Habyarimana’s assassination, and when the 38 attacked the American academics who performed the most thorough existing analysis of Rwanda’s killings in 1994, Peterson and Herman wrote:

 

“The 38 also resort to the conventional accusatory tactic of charging Davenport and Stam with ‘attempts to minimize the number of Tutsi murdered, a typical tactic of genocide deniers’ - when the going gets tough, sling mud.”

 

Peterson and Herman wrote that the 38’s letter was “error-laden and biased,” and concluded with:

 

“So in fact the 38’s cry of the immorality of ‘genocide denial’ provides a dishonest cover for Paul Kagame’s crimes in 1994 and for his even larger crimes in Zaire-DRC.  The 38 thus belong to a sizable contingent of apologists for Kagame Power, who now and in years past have served as intellectual enforcers of an RPF and U.S.-U.K.-Canadian party line.  We may note here the amazing claim by the 38 that the events of 1994 ‘should be treated by all concerned with the utmost intellectual honesty and rigour.’  Their own violation of this appeal in their open letter is both systematic and comprehensive.

“We have seen that the 38 have a penchant for slander as well as straightforward misrepresentation.  It is for committing the grave intellectual and moral crime of providing an alternative but, we believe, entirely credible and evidence-based reinterpretations of what really happened in Rwanda in 1994 that the 38 would like Rwanda’s Untold Story expunged from the BBC archives and its production team sent to the woodshed.”

 

In 2016, Herman gave an interview that summarized his work and warned that Kagame was inciting and intervening in Burundi, acting on behalf of the USA and its allies.[373]    

 

Overthrow of Ukraine’s government and demonizing Russia

Herman wrote about 2014’s Ukrainian revolution since it happened, with his first article in the May 2014 issue of Z Magazine.[374]  Herman quoted then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s comment on Russia’s reaction to the overthrow of Ukraine’s government, which Herman called a “coup”:

 

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped up pretext.”

 

Herman argued that the American invasion of Iraq (which Kerry voted for) was the “ultimate in a ‘trumped-up case,’” and quoted Barack Obama’s dismay at:

 

“The belief among some that bigger nations can bully smaller ones to get their way – that rejected maxim that might somehow makes right.” 

 

Herman wrote about Obama’s concern for Russia’s “challenging” the idea that “international law matters.”  Herman noted that George W. Bush joked: “International law?  I better call my lawyer; he didn’t bring that up to me.”  Herman wrote: “Violating international law is as American as apple pie.”  Vladimir Putin replied to the USA’s invoking of international law with, “Firstly, it is a good thing that they at least remember that there exists such a thing as international law – better late than never.”

Herman noted that the Obama administration was highly critical of Russia’s “aggressive” annexation of Crimea, which Crimea’s citizens overwhelmingly voted for, in an “aggression” for which the causalities were likely five people at most, if any at all, while the USA’s invasion of Iraq cost around a million lives, but was somehow not an aggression.  Herman wrote about the double standards that the Obama administration used with Russia and Ukraine, as compared to NATO’s Kosovo bombings.

Herman wrote that while the USA’s invasions of Yugoslavia and Iraq were wars of choice, Russia was reacting to a very real security threat regarding the overthrow of Ukraine’s government.  Herman wrote how Vladimir Putin noted that the NATO alliance violently supported Kosovo’s right of secession from Serbia, which Obama tried to rebut by stating that Kosovo held a referendum to secede from Serbia, which Herman wrote was a lie, as the secession was announced as a decree by the Albanian-dominated parliament, not a referendum.

Herman wrote that Crimea was adjacent to Russia and hosted a major Russian naval base, and its presence was subject to a longstanding agreement between Russia and Ukraine, while the USA’s Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, established during its invasion and occupation, was not voted on by any Kosovan or Serbian citizens.  

Herman noted the American media’s hostile treatment of Putin, which regularly described him as a “former KGB colonel.”  Herman asked if his readers could imagine the American media regularly referring to George H. W. Bush as the “former head of the CIA.”  Herman wrote on Putin and his treatment in the American media:

 

“Of course, every blemish on his career, and they are real – Chechnya, his position on gay rights, the weakness of Russian democracy and power of the oligarchs (which he inherited from the U.S.-supported Yeltsin) – is featured regularly.  Underneath this is the fact that he represents Russian national interests, which conflict with the outward drive and interests of the U.S. imperial elite.”[375]

 

Herman regularly wrote in subsequent years about the media’s hypocritical treatment of Russia, particularly in contrast to how the media treated the American invasion of Iraq, such as: “The double standard maintained by the mainstream has been spectacular.”[376]  Herman wrote that journalists who challenge the mainstream assumptions of “Russian villainy and U.S.-U.K reasonableness” are labeled “advocacy journalists,” while mainstream journalists are “not advocating anything, just reporting.”

Herman wrote that when Paul Krugman began writing about Russia and the threat of war in the Times, Krugman not only lacked expertise and failed to escape the “mainstream party line,” but that Krugman’s efforts made him “look foolish.”[377]  Herman quoted a Foreign Affairs article by John Mearsheimer titled, “Why the Ukrainian crisis Is the West’s fault.”  Mearsheimer wrote:

 

“For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president – which he rightly labeled a coup – was the final straw.  He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.”[378]

 

Herman wrote that when Malaysian airliner MH-17 was shot down over Ukraine, John Kerry immediately announced that he had clear proof that Russian rebels in Ukraine did it, but Kerry never provided any evidence.  Herman wrote about an American intelligence report that stated that the Russian rebels did not have an anti-aircraft battery that could reach the Malaysian airliner’s altitude, but that Kiev’s forces did.[379]

Herman observed that Putin became a key figure in the USA’s 2016 presidential election as the “establishment’s devil-of-the-decade.”  Hillary Clinton used Donald Trump’s lack of hostility toward Russia, and even an expressed willingness to work with Putin, as a point of attack, and Clinton called Putin “another Hitler.”[380]  After the surprising Trump electoral victory and the escalating anti-Russian rhetoric, Herman wrote “The New Anti-Russian Hysteria” in Z Magazine, followed by “Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies: The New York Times, 1917-2017” in Monthly Review, which became his penultimate published work in his lifetime.[381]

Herman wrote that the Times had been hostile to Russia since the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Between 1917 and 1920, the Times claimed that the Bolshevik regime was on the brink of collapse at least 91 times, while reporting atrocity stories that were false.  Herman wrote about a century of disinformation that the Times reported about the Soviet Union and Russia, and how the American media promoted hysteria over Russia in 2016-2017, of which the most notable incident was when the Washington Post published an article about an anonymous group, PropOrNot, that listed two hundred news and commentary sites as “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.”  PropOrNot hid behind anonymity while making its unfounded claims about those sites, and Herman wrote that “the Post welcomed and promoted this McCarthyite effort, which might well be a product of Pentagon or CIA information warfare.”[382]

 

General political analysis and commentary

Herman’s political-economic writings, both in collaboration with other authors as well as individually, covered a wide array of topics that frequently ventured beyond media analysis and the USA’s imperial behavior.  Herman’s articles in Z Magazine provide a sampling of Herman’s range of topics over his 50-year-plus political-economic writing career.  

In 1992, Herman wrote about how the imperial powers dominated formerly colonized peoples or weaker nations with “free trade” agreements that heavily favored the imperial powers, which was one of the British Empire’s favorite tactics.  In the years after World War II, prominent international financial institutions, particularly regarding developing nations, included the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (“IMF”), both of which have been controlled by the USA.  Herman wrote that nations that neglected the needs of their domestic populations while serving foreign interests could count on generous support, while nations that did not cooperate with corporate-imperial strategies would be subjected to various forms of financial discipline, which ranged from cutting off World Bank and IMF aid to tariffs, boycotts, and seizures of imports to the USA, before the CIA’s methods of subversion needed to be applied or outright invasion with “Techno-War,” as the USA had recently done to Panama and Iraq.  Herman wrote that World Bank and IMF assistance often took the form of Structural Adjustment Programs (“SAPs)”, in which recipient nations were required to curtail spending for the welfare of their domestic populations in favor of imported elite prestige goods and other arrangements favorable to foreign capital.  Herman argued that the SAPs directed the privatization of a nation’s resources, generally under foreign investors, to then be exported to the imperial nations instead of use for domestic development.  Herman noted that Japan resisted such “denationalization” of its domestic economy, which led to its rise as an industrial power, while the recently collapsed Soviet Empire had Boris Yeltsin as the IMF’s “hit man,” functioning just as Marcos of the Philippines and Pinochet of Chile had.[383]

Herman often wrote about the USA’s relationship with Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and how the USA enabled Russia’s economic and demographic catastrophe of the 1990s, as its per capita domestic production and life expectancy plummeted.[384]  Herman wrote that it was:

 

“[…] a historical record for what was an advanced country, and reform has effectively returned Russia to Third World status in the course of a single decade.”[385]

 

On domestic issues, Herman often wrote about the attacks by corporate America on the USA’s welfare state, such as its initiatives to undermine Social Security while boosting military spending and corporate and upper-income welfare, while opposing any kind of national medical insurance system.[386]  Herman wrote about the “permanent interests,” such as business interests, the wealthy, and military, that continued to get rising shares of the federal budget, even under a “progressive” such as Bill Clinton, as he further attacked the USA’s welfare programs.[387]  Herman wrote that the assault on social welfare programs was not confined to the USA, as the UK and Germany followed the American example during neoliberalism’s triumph in the 1990s.[388]  In 1996, Herman wrote that the actual goals of the Republican push for a Congressional “balanced budget,” contrary to media propaganda about them, were:

 

“[…] to constrain macro-policy and prevent its use in ways that would increase pressure on the labor market and threaten inflation, and to scale back the welfare state.”[389]

 

Herman often wrote about Bill Clinton’s imperial adventures, calling him the “world’s leading active war criminal” since the “retirement” of Suharto.  Herman wrote:

 

“Clinton’s crimes range from ad hoc bombings to boycotts and sanctions designed to starve into submission, to support of ethnic cleansing in brutal counterinsurgency warfare, and to aggression and devastation designed to return rogues to the stone age and keep them there.”[390]

 

In 1995, Herman summarized a 20-volume study prepared by the USA’s State Department, which documented the crimes committed by the USA against various groups, beginning with the dispossession of American Indians and use of enslaved Africans to international activities in the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Indochina, Latin America, Zaire, Greece, Iran, and the Middle East.  The study concluded that fair American reparations to those aggrieved parties would exceed the USA’s total wealth.  Herman wrote that the study was released with a sensational press conference that was well-attended by the mainstream media, but that no media reported on the study.[391]

Herman argued that the “immiserating” effects of the global class warfare waged by the West against weaker nations were human rights violations, but the high-profile human rights organizations adhered to a “liberal” definition of human rights that only considered political and personal rights, such as the right to vote, free speech, and freedom from direct state violence, while completely ignoring corporate-imperial assaults on “rights to subsistence, education, health care, housing and employment.”  Herman wrote that human rights organizations that strictly focused on liberal notions of human rights were becoming increasingly irrelevant and even “misleading” in a world in which the world’s poor were economically undermined and deprived, particularly in the 1990s, during capitalism’s celebratory period in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse.[392]

Herman often wrote about the Orwellian usage of language in the media, and its use of words that “purr” or “snarl,” and presented purr/snarl dyads such as “free trade” and “protectionism” as he described the lexicon of the New World Order, which contained terminology such as “empowerment,” “freedom,” “reform,” “responsibility,” and “humanitarian intervention” in response to “ethnic cleansing.”  As he had done since his earliest political writings, Herman noted that such terms were often applied to describe their exact opposites.[393]

Herman wrote that “war criminal” was a Western appellation reserved for the losers of imperial battles, while there never seemed to be any war criminals among the winners.  In 1996, Herman added a new category of war criminal, which he termed the economic division (“ED”), in addition to military division (“MD”) war criminals.  Herman published an initial list of 20 ED war criminals, and Clinton, Yeltsin, and Suharto led the list of government leaders (Suharto was also a major MD, arguably Earth’s greatest at that time), and had a division for “middle managers,” such as the heads of the IMF, Federal Reserve, and World Bank, to corporate executives such as the chairman of a transnational mining company that committed crimes in Papua New Guinea in cooperation with the Indonesian invasion, the managing director of Royal Dutch-Shell and its collaboration with the Nigerian dictatorship, and the union-busting CEO of Caterpillar.  Herman’s list ended with economists and intellectuals such as neoliberal advocate Jeffrey Sachs of Harvard, Arnold Harberger, who led the Chicago School’s activities in Pinochet’s Chile, and Robert Bartley, the editor of the Wall Street Journal, with his fervent support for supply-side economics and the “death squads necessary to bring it to fruition here and abroad.”[394]

Herman discussed racism in the USA, such as Z Magazine articles in 1994 and 1996 on the media’s embracement of The Bell Curve, which argued for the inferior intelligence of American blacks.  Herman discussed The Bell Curve’s pseudoscientific predecessors, going back to the Antebellum South, and wrote at length on racist “code language and framing of issues,” racist writings and talk shows, and how racism manifested in all aspects of the lives of American blacks, including hiring, housing, lending, church arson, police behavior and incarceration rates, representation in congress, and even the right to recall such treatment.[395]  Herman and Peterson wrote on the media’s demonization of Reverend Jeremiah Wright because of his relationship with Barack Obama, while Obama was running for the Democratic Party nomination in the spring of 2008.[396]

Herman wrote on the selective support of free speech in the West, noting that the media lauded the “I am Charlie” rally in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, for which the killers were a “solo effort” and “hardly a threat to free speech,” while France had laws that “permit arrests and imprisonment for political speech insulting Israel and questioning the Holocaust, and for giving verbal support for ‘terrorism’ (i.e., what the French state identifies as terrorism).” Herman noted about 70 arrests in the weeks following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and that, “unsurprisingly, none of the arrests were reported to have been for verbal attacks on Muslim individuals or religious symbols, although attacks on Muslim individuals increased after January 7.”[397]

Herman wrote about how liberal-left dissent was under steady attack by the “market,” by multiple strategies and tactics, including flak, often led by AIM, on PBS and community radio such as Pacifica, legal assaults on non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”), such as proposed legislation to prevent NGOs from engaging in any “advocacy” work if they got federal funding of more than 5% of their revenues, while huge corporations receiving vast federal funds were exempted, corporate-funded ideological warfare against academia, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”), in which citizens were sued by SLAPPS for attending public meetings and circulating petitions, and assaults on the UN and its agencies, as exemplified by the USA’s withdrawal from UNESCO in 1984.[398]  Herman wrote that heavily biased mainstream media book reviews of left works were another way to keep them marginalized.[399]

In 1996, Herman wrote about postmodernist trends in social analysis.  Herman argued that postmodernist analyses disregarded the forces behind the creation of media content and instead focused on the ability of the consumers to decide what to digest and how, while ignoring the possible impact of the limited menu offered by the media.  Herman wrote:

 

“Viewers may resist and some may be hard to manage, but some will be confused, and still more will be depoliticized by the barrage of entertainment and replacement of the public sphere of debate with propaganda.  Media commercialization and concentration entails serious ‘disempowerment,’ which has to be fought by means beyond individual resistance.”[400]

 

In 1998 and 1999, Herman discussed the myth of consumer sovereignty and the reality of corporate sovereignty regarding the chemical industry and its pollutants.  Herman surveyed the growth of the American chemical industry after World War II, with “miracle” products such as DDT and vinyl chloride-based plastics, and noted that before the side effects of those chemicals became publicly acknowledged, the chemical industry had developed huge vested interests in selling those chemicals.  Herman listed the tactics that the chemical industry used to prevent infringements on their sovereignty:

 

  1. Restricting information;

  2. Using science as a public relations (”PR”) tool;

  3. Undermining the regulatory process with its influence;

  4. Lawsuits;

  5. Using the media to “normalize” the right to pollute.

 

Herman argued that the term “junk science” had been coopted by corporate polluters to describe the scientific findings used in lawsuits against corporate products and pollution, instead of what Herman wrote was the real junk science: the “political, opportunistic, and PR use of science.”  Herman wrote that under that definition of junk science, corporations were far and away the dominant practitioners of it.[401]

Herman often wrote about former ally Iraq during the American sanctions, invasion, occupation, and Iraq’s subsequent disintegration.  Herman wrote about how surprised and appalled he was when American soldiers lamented when Sunni insurgents gained control of Fallujah.  The Times quoted an American Marine Corps Sergeant who fought in Fallujah who stated, “It made me sick to my stomach to have that thrown in our face, everything that we fought for so blatantly taken away.”  Herman wrote that the American attack on Fallujah in 2004 not only killed thousands of people and reduced much of the city to rubble, but that, “Hospitals were an explicit target and weapons like white phosphorus and uranium-larded projectiles were used, all adding up to massive violations of the laws of war.”[402]

Herman repeatedly wrote about Madeleine Albright’s response in 1996 to the question of 500,000 Iraqi children’s deaths being a result of the American-led sanctions regime.  Albright replied that those children’s deaths “were worth it.”[403]

Herman observed how the American media and politicians are “aghast at the ISIS beheadings of several Western journalists,” while there was little mention in the media that:

 

“Saudi Arabia engages in beheading on a routine basis, in response to political dissent, but also social behavior that would not qualify for execution or, in some cases, imprisonment in the West (adultery, theft, drug dealing, ‘sorcery’).” 

 

Herman noted that some of the Saudi executions that year (2014) were for crimes for which the evidence was adduced via torture.[404]

Herman wrote that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) that the Obama administration was trying to fast-track through Congress was socially regressive and blatantly in favor of rich corporate interests, and Herman noted that the TPP situation was very similar to how Clinton helped pass The North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) in 1993-1995.  Herman wrote that “free trade” was how the media described the proposed TPP, but that it was really about “investor rights,” and that TPP courts could operate with secret evidence.  Herman wrote about how Wikileaks exposed the secret machinations of TPP negotiations, and showed how TPP’s policing measures would include supranational tribunals that sovereign national courts would be expected to submit to, but that those tribunals would have no human rights safeguards.  Herman noted how, “The mainstream media are once again favorably disposed to this investor-friendly ‘free trade’ agreement.”[405]  Herman wrote about NAFTA from its earliest days.[406]

Herman discussed the American interventions in Syria, and how the same journalists who advocated invading Iraq on what turned out to be false pretexts advocated American intervention in Syria.  Herman wrote about Times journalist Bill Keller, who promoted the American invasion of Iraq, and was then (in 2013) promoting the American attempt to overthrow the Syrian government:

 

“[…] if Keller could swallow the fairly obvious lies of Bush war propaganda ten years earlier, and ignore throughout the Iraq war and occupation the gross violation of international law, why should anybody trust his judgment as he tries to rationalize the next war?”[407]

 

Herman wrote that Keller:

 

“[…] clears the decks of any possible non-benign or less-than-benevolent aims: he dismisses the idea that the Israelis might be ‘duping us into fighting their wars,’ but he doesn’t mention AIPAC or any neocon influence on policy, and of course he never mentions the military-industrial complex and its possible influence on policy.”[408]

 

Herman later wrote:

 

“The warfare in Syria is a follow-on to the attacks on Iraq and Libya.  We may recall General Wesley Clark’s claim in March 2007 that shortly after 9/11 a Pentagon official had shown him a Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz list of seven Middle East and North African countries that were scheduled for attack and regime change.  Iraq and Libya, both on that list, have been attacked and transformed into U.S.-destroyed states with new or unsettled leadership.  The United States has been supporting regime change forces in Syria as far back as 2011, but the job has not been completed, in part because of Russian support for president Assad.  Truce efforts by the U.S. and Russia have regularly broken down because the U.S. still aims at regime change and supports the rebel forces that Russia targets, many or most of which are Al Qaeda- or ISIS-related and whose victory would mean another Libya-like failed state.”[409]

 

Herman favorably reviewed Diana Johnstone’s Queen of Chaos, which covered Hillary Clinton’s role in the American termination of Honduran democracy in 2009 and the war on Libya in 2011, while she was Secretary of State, among her other activities.[410]  Herman later wrote that if Hillary was the Queen of Chaos, then “Obama is surely King.”  Before the American-led attack on Libya, it had Africa’s highest standard of living.[411]  Herman wrote that Muammar Gadaffi was “the most important leader seeking an Africa free of Western domination, who was the chairman of the African Union in 2009, two years before his overthrow and murder.”[412]

Herman wrote of Obama’s war against Libya, and noted that Gaddafi’s death set the stage for the “United States African Command and U.S.-African state ‘partnerships’ to combat ‘terrorism,’” which was “a major setback to African independence and progress.”  Herman wrote that while Obama’s speeches called for nuclear disarmament, Obama immediately embarked on a nuclear “modernization” program that made their use more likely (“smaller, more accurate, less lethal”). 

Herman wrote that:

 

“Israel is a major regional rival of Iran, and having succeeded in getting the United States to turn lesser rivals, Iraq and Libya, into failed states, it has been extremely anxious to get the United States to do the same to Iran.  And Israel’s leaders have pulled out all the stops in getting its vast array of U.S. politicians, pundits, intellectuals, and lobbying groups to press for a U.S. military assault on Iran.” 

 

Herman noted that Obama’s choice to negotiate with Iran rather than attack them was “probably the finest moment in the years of the King’s rule.”[413]

Herman often responded to attacks of Chomsky with lengthy analyses of the attacks and the attackers.[414]

 

Criticisms

Herman expected that work such as his would receive criticism, often extreme, and he answered his critics, as Chomsky also did.  In 2010, Peterson and Herman wrote:

 

“An important and perhaps growing feature of official and strong-interest-group propaganda is the resort to personal attacks and flak to keep dissidents at bay and inconvenient thoughts out of sight and mind […].  We were very conscious of this when studying the Western dismantlement of Yugoslavia, where the Western media quickly fell into line and treated with aggressive condemnation any departures from the accepted truth and de facto party-line.”[415]

 

Herman’s writings were constantly subjected to those kinds of attacks.

Challenges and defenses of the propaganda model

Ever since Manufacturing Consent was published, it has received a wide spectrum of response.  Although the PM has been systematically marginalized in academic discourse, it is one of the most tested models in the social sciences.[416]

Herman and Chomsky’s PM is a hypothesis of how the media operates, not how effective it is.[417]  In the conclusion of Manufacturing Consent, the authors wrote:

 

“The system is not all-powerful, however.  Government and elite domination of the media have not succeeded in overcoming the Vietnam syndrome and public hostility to direct U.S. involvement in the destabilization and overthrow of foreign governments.”[418] 

 

The Times published a review of Manufacturing Consent by Cornell professor Walter LaFeber.[419]  LaFeber wrote that the impressive detailed work in Manufacture Consent was weakened by the tendency of the authors to “overstate” their case, and LaFeber provided examples that he argued contradicted the PM, notably that activists had hampered the Reagan administration’s attempts to support the Nicaraguan Contras. 

The year after Manufacturing Consent was published, Chomsky addressed critiques of the PM in his Necessary Illusions.[420]  Chomsky wrote that the PM held up well to tests of its validity, and noted that paired examples clearly identify the double-standards that the media uses for reporting similar events.  Chomsky reiterated the dichotomous treatment of Polish and Central American priest and nun murders, in which the murder of one priest in an enemy regime received far more coverage than collective coverage of the murders of a hundred priests and nuns in client regimes.[421] 

Chomsky replied to LaFeber’s critique by noting that it was one of the few reactions to a PM that was not “invective.”[422]  Regarding LaFeber’s assertion that activist victories contradicted the PM, Chomsky responded with:

 

“Consider [LaFeber’s] first argument: the model is undermined by the fact that efforts to ‘mobilize bias’ sometimes fail.  By the same logic, an account of how Pravda works to ‘mobilize bias’ would be undermined by the existence of dissidents.  Plainly, the thesis that Pravda serves as an organ of state propaganda is not disconfirmed by the fact that there are many dissidents in the Soviet Union.  Nor would the thesis be confirmed if every word printed by Pravda were accepted uncritically by the entire Soviet population.  The thesis says nothing about the degree of success of the propaganda.  LaFeber’s first argument is not relevant; it does not address the model we present.”[423]

 

LaFeber’s second and third arguments against Manufacturing Consent fared similarly in Chomsky’s analysis, particularly an instance of reporting that LaFeber argued undermined the PM: when the Reagan administration lied when stating that Soviet MiGs had been delivered to the Nicaraguan government, and that lie coincided with the Nicaraguan election.  The MiG lie pushed the Nicaraguan election completely out of media attention.  Chomsky replied that it was not an exception at all, but conformed to the PM.  Chomsky’s response to LaFeber’s “exception” finished with: “That the media questioned what was openly conceded by the government to be false is not a very persuasive demonstration of their independence from power.”[424]  Herman replied that the MiG event “fits our propaganda model to perfection.”[425]

Herman and Chomsky concluded that LaFeber’s was one of the few critiques of Manufacturing Consent worth replying to, but it contained logical fallacies that invalidated his critique.

The greatest attacks against Herman and Chomsky and their work, individually and collectively, conformed to the PM’s third-order prediction, when they variously exposed the media’s treatment of three nefarious bloodbaths, in Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.

Cambodia

The suppression of CRV delayed the publication of Herman and Chomsky’s first major collaborative effort by several years.  When their work that expanded on CRV was finally published in 1979, it was used by Herman’s and Chomsky’s critics ever since as evidence for their apologetics for the Khmer Rouge and their being genocide deniers.

The assault began even before The Washington Connection and After the Cataclysm were published, when Chomsky uncovered fabrications in a Times review of a book concerning the Cambodian holocaust.  He privately wrote to the reviewer about his fabrications, who made them public in the Times, which began the campaign against Chomsky as a “Khmer Rouge supporter.”[426] 

As they wrote After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman were well aware that their work on Cambodia would invite attacks and false charges that they were Khmer Rouge supporters.  Herman wrote:

 

“Suspecting that we would be accused of apologetics for the Khmer Rouge, Chomsky and I went to some pains to point out Khmer Rouge crimes and to stress that our purpose was to emphasize the discrepancy between available facts and media claims and to lay bare what we saw to be a propaganda campaign of selective indignation and benevolence.  This effort was futile.  With such a powerful propaganda bandwagon underway, from the very beginning the mass media were closed to oppositional voices on the issue, and any scepticism, even identification of outright lies, was treated with hostility and tabbed apologetics for the Khmer Rouge.  Our crime was the very act of criticizing the workings of the propaganda system and its relation to US power and policy, instead of focusing attention on approved villainy, which could be assailed violently and ignorantly, without penalty.   The issue was framed as a simple one: those for and against Pol Pot.”

“[…] I would estimate with some confidence that over 90 percent of the journalists who mentioned Chomsky's name in connection with Cambodia never looked at his original writings on the subject, but merely regurgitated a quickly adopted line.  The critics who helped formulate the line also could hardly be bothered looking at the actual writings; the method was almost invariably the use of a few selected quotations taken out of context and embedded in a mass of sarcastic and violent denunciation.”[427]

 

After The Washington Connection and After the Cataclysm were published, in 1980, an article written by Steven Lukes accused Chomsky of irresponsibility for his and Herman’s writings on Cambodia.  Lukes charged that Chomsky was contributing to the “deceit and distortion surrounding Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia.”[428]

In his article, Lukes never mentioned that Chomsky and Herman’s treatment of Cambodia was explicitly made as part of a study that contrasted a similar bloodbath in East Timor that was inflicted by Indonesia, which used American-supplied weapons for its invasion.  Chomsky and Herman’s focus was a comparison of the American media’s treatment of both atrocities, not the nature of the atrocities themselves.  Chomsky replied that Lukes, by attacking his and Herman’s work on Cambodia, while never even mentioning the context or East Timor, showed that far from Chomsky’s being an apologist for the Khmer Rouge, Lukes had clearly demonstrated that he was an apologist for what Indonesia did in East Timor, and furthermore, the UK’s support for Indonesia was crucial for its genocidal activities in East Timor, and Lukes was a British citizen.  Chomsky concluded that Lukes was an apologist for genocide.[429]

Some academics, such as Sophal Ear, owe much of their public stature to their attacks on Chomsky and Herman’s writings on Cambodia.[430]  Ear, like Lukes, misrepresented Chomsky’s work, stating in his master’s thesis about Chomsky: “His favorable position towards the Khmer revolution would be hidden by the cloak of criticizing the print media's biases.”[431]  Ear never acknowledged that the bulk of Chomsky’s (and Herman’s) political writings have been media critiques, as Ear seized on “hidden” meaning in Chomsky’s work that was not there while ignoring Chomsky’s explicit writings on the subject.  Without significant exception, all other criticisms of Chomsky and Herman’s writings on Cambodia contained similar misrepresentations.

In their preface to the 2014 edition of After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman wrote:

 

“Our chapter on East Timor was far and away the most important in the two volumes, precisely because the huge ongoing crimes could have so readily been ended.  It passed without mention in the doctrinal system - as, indeed, did our detailed review of many other U.S. crimes.  In dramatic contrast, a sizable literature has been devoted to our chapter on Cambodia, desperately seeking to discover some error, and with unsupported and unjustifiable claims about our alleged apologetics for Pol Pot.  We reviewed those that were even mildly serious in Manufacturing Consent, and there should be no need to do so again.[432]

 

The attacks on Chomsky and Herman’s work were part of a larger pattern that Chomsky noted, in that Western intellectuals “cannot comprehend this kind of trivial, simple, reasoning and what it implies […].  It reveals a level of indoctrination vastly beyond what one finds in totalitarian states, which rarely were able to indoctrinate intellectuals so profoundly that they are unable to understand trivial realities.”[433]

In light of generations of attacks that blatantly misrepresented their work and even turned it on its head, Herman was asked in a late-life interview if he would have done anything differently in his writing career, if he could go back and do it over, and Herman replied with:

 

“No, I don’t think so.  No.  It’s kind of hard to reconstruct the past, but I think we would have hedged more on Cambodia and maybe put in more qualifiers.  We did realize that we were going to be vulnerable and did attend carefully to putting in qualifiers.  I did this reluctantly.  I’ve always hated to make excuses for what I was going to do, and inserting more than scientifically necessary qualifiers is sort of a cop-out.”[434]

 

In a 1988 letter to the editor of the Times, Herman wrote that the lies about their work had been “institutionalized,” which showed that their work on Cambodia and the media “was and remains on target.”[435] 

Carlos Otero, the editor of Language and Politics and Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments, wrote:

 

“The major international campaign orchestrated against Chomsky on completely false pretexts was only part – although perhaps a crucial part – of the ambitious campaign launched in the late 1970s with the hope of reconstructing the ideology of power and domination which had been partially exposed during the Indochina war.  The magnitude of the insane attack against Chomsky, which aimed at silencing him and robbing him of his moral stature and prestige and influence, is of course one more tribute to the impact of his writings and actions – not for nothing was he the only one singled out.”[436]

 

Herman wrote that the attacks on their Cambodian writings (as well as Chomsky’s defense of a Holocaust Denier’s right to freedom of speech, in the controversy known as the “Faurisson affair,” which was a far greater issue in the West than in Israel, where Chomsky was given the opportunity to respond, unlike in the West, and the matter was then considered closed in Israel[437]):

 

“[…] imposed a serious personal cost on Chomsky.  He put up a diligent defense against the attacks and charges against him, answering virtually every letter and written criticism that came to his attention.  He wrote many hundreds of letters to correspondents and editors on these topics, along with numerous articles, and answered many phone enquiries and queries in interviews.  The intellectual and moral drain was severe.  It is an astonishing fact, however, that he was able to weather these storms with his energies, morale, sense of humour and vigour and integrity of his political writings virtually intact.”[438]

Yugoslavia

In the preface of The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, Herman wrote:

 

“We know that our work will be assailed as ‘historical revisionism’ and, worse, as ‘genocide denial,’ but charges such as these are fundamentally political in nature, and we regard them as no more than cheap-shots and evasions, whose real purpose is to preempt challenges to a firmly established party-line.  The regnant account is regularly protected by aggressive personal attacks on the challengers in lieu of the more arduous task of answering with evidence.”[439]

 

Herman’s work on Yugoslavia has been regularly called “genocide denial,” and, as with other instances, the attacks from the political left, not right, were often the most frequent and fervent.  An example of this is George Monbiot’s article in The Guardian in 2011.[440]  Not only did Monbiot call Herman and Peterson “genocide deniers” and “belittlers,” he misquoted their work in his attack, stating that The Srebrenica Massacre, which Herman edited and contributed to, “claims that the 8,000 deaths at Srebrenica are ‘an unsupportable exaggeration.  The true figure may be closer to 800.’”  What Phillip Corwin, who was the highest-ranking UN civilian official in Bosnia-Herzegovina in July 1995, wrote in the foreword to The Srebrenica Massacre was:

 

“But the situation is more complicated than the public relations specialists would have us believe.  That there were killings of non-combatants in Srebrenica, as in all war zones, is a certainty.  And those who perpetrated them deserve to be condemned and prosecuted.  And whether it was three or 30 or 300 innocent civilians who were killed, it was a heinous crime.  There can be no equivocation about that.  At the same time, the facts presented in this volume make a very cogent argument that the figure of 8,000 killed, which is often bandied about in the international community, is an unsupportable exaggeration.  The true figure may be closer to 800.  The fact that the figure in question has been so distorted, however, suggests that the issue has been politicized.  There is much more shock value in the death of 8,000 than in the death of 800.”[441]

 

Herman wrote in The Srebrenica Massacre:

 

“In January 2009, the European Parliament proclaimed every July 11 a ‘day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide,’ when ‘more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys…were summarily executed by Bosnian Serb forces…making this event the biggest war crime to take place in Europe since the end of the Second World War.’  In the face of such certitude, who in his right mind would ‘deny’ the “Srebrenica massacre”?[442]

 

Herman wrote in the same book that the number of executions, based on a forensic analysis of the bodies recovered, may have been less than 500.[443]

Herman and Peterson wrote separate rebuttals to Monbiot’s article, which The Guardian refused to publish.[444]  The Guardian then invited Herman and Peterson to write a joint reply, limited to 550 words, which was half the length of Monbiot’s article.

Peterson and Herman wrote:

 

“Soon thereafter we delivered a consolidated manuscript to the Guardian at exactly 550-words; and on July 20, five weeks and a day after it had published Monbiot’s original, the Guardian published an even shorter, 524-word response under our names.  But rather than giving it a title that featured our claims about Monbiot’s errors, ignorance, and crass name-calling, the Guardian gave it a title that was both plaintive and defensive: “We’re Not Genocide Deniers.”[445]

 

Peterson and Herman replied to Monbiot’s attack on Corwin’s words with:

 

“Monbiot attributes these 11 words from Corwin’s Foreword to the collection itself, and asserts that ‘It’ - namely, the collection – ‘claims that the 8,000 deaths at Srebrenica are “an unsupportable exaggeration” . . .’ (emphasis added).  As the seven contributors to the book besides Corwin focus on the issue of executions, not simply deaths for which no cause is specified, and as none of them deny the possibility of 8,000 deaths, Monbiot’s attribution of these 11 words from the Foreword to ‘It’ is a lie, and suggests that his reading of the book was even less than cursory.”[446]

 

Herman argued that Monbiot was “belittling” genocide by putting the Srebrenica massacre in the same class as the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, and concluded a rebuttal by stating that, “There are very few sentences in George Monbiot’s June 14 diatribe that withstand close scrutiny.”[447]

Rwanda

In his review of Herman and Peterson’s The Politics of Genocide, the most prolific promoter of the standard model of the Rwandan genocide, Gerald Caplan, wrote this:

 

“The main authorities on whom the authors rest their fabrications are a tiny number of long-time American and Canadian genocide deniers, who gleefully drink each other's putrid bath water.  Each solemnly cites the others' works to document his fabrications - Robin Philpot, Christopher Black, Christian Davenport, Allan Stam, Peter Erlinder.  It's as if a Holocaust denier cited as supporting evidence the testimonies of David Irving, David Duke, Robert Faurisson or Ernest Zundel.  Be confident Herman and Peterson are now being quoted as authoritative sources on the genocide by Robin Philpot, Christopher Black, Davenport and Stam, Peter Erlinder.”[448]

 

In their reply, Peterson and Herman noted the absence of anything that resembled a reasoned and fact-based critique in Caplan’s review of their work.  Caplan ignored the thrust of their work, which was how “genocide” had become a political construct, and focused on the book’s section on Rwanda.  Caplan accused Herman and Peterson of failing to cite certain authors, when they in fact did.  Peterson and Herman noted that Caplan castigated them for reporting facts that Caplan himself had previously published, such as that the RPF was an arm of the Ugandan military or that Robert Gersony’s research that adduced widespread RPF slaughters of Hutu civilians was “suppressed,” when Caplan himself had previously reported that suppression.[449]

Caplan dismissed Hourigan’s ICTR investigation with novel logic, while calling the RPF’s findings of its investigation into Habyarimana’s assassination, which absolved themselves of responsibility, “largely persuasive.”  Herman and Peterson wrote that notable scholars such as René Lemarchand and Luc Marchal found the RPF’s report quite unpersuasive, and Marchal concluded that the RPF’s investigation was:

 

“[…] a parody of an investigation, the script of which had been written in advance,” and the “sole intention of which was to demonstrate the total innocence of the RPF and the Machiavellian guilt of the Extremist Hutus.”[450]

 

Peterson and Herman concluded their reply to Caplan’s review with:

 

“Of course, in his references to the genocide in Rwanda, Caplan means only the killings attributable to Hutus, not the vast numbers slaughtered by Kagame.  (Recall the ‘10,000 or more Hutu civilians per month’ referred to in an internal State Department report.)  This stress on Hutu villainy repeats the Kagame regime’s rationale for its military presence in the DRC, allegedly chasing down the fugitive genocidaires.  But if the UN and other reports are correct, and deaths in the Kagame- (and Museveni-) controlled areas of the eastern DRC have run into the several millions, then Caplan’s evasions about their source, and the intellectual cover he provides for whatever Kagame does, make Caplan not merely a genocide denier — they make Caplan a genocide facilitator.”[451]

 

Herman never backed down from his critics, and the character and methods of critiques of his work rarely deviated from personal attacks, misrepresentations of his writings, logical fallacies, and name-calling. 

 

Death and legacy

As Herman’s health failed, his published output declined.  His last article for Z Magazine was “The New Anti-Russian Hysteria” in the April 2017 issue.  His last published works were in Monthly Review’s July-August 2017 issue, titled, “Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies: The New York Times, 1917-2017” and “Still Manufacturing Consent: The Propaganda Model at Thirty” in Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a “Post-Truth” World, published in October 2017.

Herman died on November 11, 2017 of the complications of bladder cancer, which was not diagnosed until after his death.[452]  His sister, Barbara Herman Becker, died earlier in 2017, and Herman was survived by his brother, Harris.[453]

Near his life’s end, Herman was asked what he thought his most important contribution to scholarship was, and he replied that it was his introduction of a structural model of the media, combined with pairing analysis, and their conjoined use in wide-ranging applications.  Herman stated that his approach was not entirely new, but he believed that he and his coauthors’ efforts may have “given them more weight and salience” in subsequent studies, and Herman further noted:

 

“Also, not new but hopefully in a useful framework is the focus on the mass media as elite-based and elite-serving institutions, with biases that follow accordingly.  In a way, my writings have virtually all been an exposure of these biases and a demonstration that the idea of a ‘party line’ applies to the mainstream US media as well as to media in authoritarian countries.”[454]

 

In 2019, David Peterson published a 900-page anthology of his and Herman’s joint efforts, from 1999 to 2015, titled, “Like a Cuttlefish Spurting out Ink: Studies in the Art of Deceit, which was dedicated to Herman’s memory.  In the book’s introduction, Peterson wrote that the day before Herman died, he discussed future projects with Peterson. 

Herman’s death received widespread notice in the media.  Matt Taibbi, a journalist working at Rolling Stone magazine, wrote:

 

“His work has never been more relevant.  Manufacturing Consent was a kind of bible of media criticism for a generation of dissident thinkers.  The book described with great clarity how the system of private commercial media in America cooperates with state power to generate propaganda […] Herman and Chomsky's work was a great gift to a generation of thinkers trying to make sense of how power in the West sold itself to populations.  The late Herman should be honored for that critical contribution he made to understanding American empire.”[455]

 

Jeff Cohen wrote:

 

“In 1984, when I was part of a lawyers’ delegation monitoring an ‘election’ in death squad-run El Salvador, I remember a gaggle of progressive attorneys at the Salvador Sheraton tussling with each other to get their hands on a shipment of hot-off-the-press copies of Demonstration Elections, Ed’s devastating book (with Frank Brodhead) on the US ‘staging’ elections as PR [public relations] shows to prop up repressive puppet regimes, from the Dominican Republic to Vietnam to Salvador.”

“[…] A highpoint of my life was flying with Ed across the Atlantic to Brussels to speak alongside him before the European Parliament on the problem of media conglomeration, a hearing organized by the European Greens.  As happened too often, Ed’s name went unmentioned in the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting; when Will (Matt Damon) says to his therapist (Robin Williams) that Howard Zinn’s People’s History is a book that will ‘[…] knock you on your ass,’ the therapist responds: ‘Better than Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent?’  I asked Ed if he felt left out.  Not at all - the movie ‘will bring our book more attention, more readers.’  Pure Ed.”[456]

For those who knew and worked with Herman, their remembrances unfailingly mentioned Herman’s personal kindness, humility, and generosity.[457]  Chomsky wrote of Herman’s:

 

“[…] scrupulous, diligent and comprehensive research; a keen instinct for detecting and exposing hypocrisy and deceit and the effects of conformity to doctrine; and a recognition of the role of institutional structures in shaping interpretation and analysis.”[458]

 

Chomsky also wrote of his friend and colleague:

 

“He was an inspiration to those lucky enough to know him personally but also to countless others who have been following in his footsteps in institutional analysis, media critique, exposing hypocrisy and lies, and to the many who recognize him as providing a model of integrity and understanding.”[459]

 

In a fitting confirmation of Herman and Chomsky’s PM, the Times’s obituary for Herman misrepresented his work by stating, “Manufacturing Consent was severely criticized as having soft-pedaled evidence of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and, during the Bosnia war, Srebrenica.”[460]  The events in Rwanda and Srebrenica had not yet happened when Manufacturing Consent was published, which the Times later corrected, after a campaign by FAIR.[461]

Even after correcting the obvious error, the Times’s obituary was still a stark confirmation of the PM.  It stated, “One case study, for example, asked why a single Polish priest murdered by the Communists was more newsworthy than another cleric killed by a Washington-sponsored Latin American dictator.”  The Times omitted the staggering magnitude of disparity, and the case study did not “ask” so much as present the data that showed that the Polish priest’s death was more than 100 times as newsworthy, as an illustration of the PM’s news filters in action.

The Times’s obituary also repeated the disinformation that Herman and Chomsky’s work was about seeking objective truth about events that the media covered:

 

“Dr. Herman and Professor Chomsky were severely criticized over the years as soft-pedaling evidence of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and, during the Bosnia war, Srebrenica.  They argued that in assessing the killings they were seeking an accurate count rather than relying on unreliable reports by survivors.  In the civil wars in Rwanda and Bosnia, they said, the victors had exaggerated the toll to justify their rise to power and their pro-Western policies.  In the case of Cambodia, they said, the toll had been overstated by enemies of the brutal Khmer Rouge Communist regime, which, the authors wrote, had ‘dealt with fundamental problems rooted in the feudal past and exacerbated by the imperial system.’”

 

As with the Times’s omission of the magnitude of disparity of media coverage of Polish and Latin American church-worker victims, it ignored the explicitly stated purpose of Herman and Chomsky’s work: it was not about seeking the objective truth of the events or “soft-pedaling” anything, but about analyzing how the media handled the facts.  That the Times turned their work on its head and made it about their ability to analyze the available facts, and not the media’s performance in dealing with those facts, was an ironic validation of Herman’s life’s work, and one that he might well have appreciated. 

 

Selected publications

 

Notes

[1] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 39.

[2] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, pp. 39-40.

[3] Herman, Interview with Paul Jay, The Real News Network, July 1, 2012.

[4] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 58; Holmey, “Edward S Herman: Scholar whose radical critiques of US media characterised the fake news caricatured by Trump”, The Independent, November 21, 2017.

[5] Herman, et al., Study of Mutual Funds - Prepared for the Securities and Exchange Commission by the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce – House Report no. 2274, 87th Congress, 2nd Session, 1962.

[6] Fink (2008), The Rise of Mutual Funds, p. 68.

[7] Markham (2002), A Financial History of the United States: From J.P. Morgan to the Institutional Investor (1900-1970) (Volume 2), p. 353.

[8] Herman, "Lobell on the Wharton School Study of Mutual Funds: A Rebuttal", Virginia Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 5 (June, 1963), pp. 938-962.

[9] Friend (1969), Study of the Savings and Loan Industry, Washington, DC: Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

[10] Herman, Interview with Paul Jay, The Real News Network, July 1, 2012.  Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 41.

[11] Herman and Safanda, “The Commercial Bank Trust Department and the ‘Wall’”, Boston College Law Review, Volume 14, Issue I, Number 1, Article 2, November 1, 1972.

[12] Herman (1981), Corporate Control, Corporate Power, pp. 5-9.

[13] Herman (1981), Corporate Control, Corporate Power, pp. 14-15.

[14] Herman (1981), Corporate Control, Corporate Power, pp. 15-16.

[15] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 47.

[16] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 37-40.

[17] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. xi.

[18] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 43.

[19] Ray and Schaap, in the introduction of Preston, Herman, and Schiller (1989), Hope and Folly, pp. xiii-xxv.

[20] Preston, Herman, and Schiller (1989), Hope and Folly, p. 216.

[21] Preston, Herman, and Schiller (1989), Hope and Folly, pp. 248-250.

[22] Herman (1981), Corporate Control, Corporate Power, back cover. 

[23] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, pp. 2, 3, 160.

[24] Herman and Brodhead (1984), Demonstration Elections; Brown, Herman, and Peterson (2004), The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

[25] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 21-22.

[26] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, chapters 2 and 3.

[27] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, p. 125.

[28] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, p. 214.

[29] Herman and Du Boff (1966), America's Vietnam Policy, p. 17.

[30] Herman and Du Boff (1966), America's Vietnam Policy, p. 77.

[31] Herman and Du Boff (1966), America's Vietnam Policy, p. 89.

[32] Herman and Du Boff (1966), America's Vietnam Policy, pp. 114-123.

[33] "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest", January 30, 1968, New York Post.  History of War Tax Resistance; NWTRCC; January 18, 2004.

[34] Herman and Brodhead (1984), Demonstration Elections, chapter 4.

[35] Herman and Brodhead (1984), Demonstration Elections, pp. 71-74.

[36] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, pp. 6-7.

[37] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 13.

[38] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 14.

[39] Blum (1995), Killing Hope, pp. 193-198.  Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 207-223.

[40] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, pp. 29, 36.

[41] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 11.

[42] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, pp. 55-57.

[43] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, pp. 43-45.

[44] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 238.

[45] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 58.

[46] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, pp. 83-87.

[47] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 97.

[48] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 62.

[49] Turse (2013), Kill Anything That Moves, p. 2.

[50] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 41.

[51] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, pp. 87-88.

[52] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 67.

[53] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, p. 52.

[54] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, pp. 54-56.

[55] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, p. 153.

[56] Herman (1970), Atrocities in Vietnam, pp. 37-40. Chomsky and Herman (1973), Counter-Revolutionary Violence, in the chapter titled, “The Hue Massacres of 1968.”  Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume 1, pp. 345-354.

[57] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 47.

[58] Barsky (1997), Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, p. 159.

[59] Chomsky and Herman (1973), Counter-Revolutionary Violence: Bloodbaths in Fact and Propaganda, “Introduction”.

[60] Peterson (2019), “Introduction”, Herman and Peterson, Like a Cuttlefish Spurting out Ink: Studies in the Art of Deceit, p. 7.

[61] Bagdikian (1992), The Media Monopoly, pp. 32-34.

[62] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. xiv-xvii.  Barsky (1997), Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, pp. 160-162.  In later talks, Chomsky said that instead of being burned, the 20,000 copies of CRV were “pulped” and recycled.

[63] Bagdikian (1992), The Media Monopoly, p. 34.

[64] Chomsky and Herman, “Saigon’s Corruption Crisis: The Search for an Honest Quisling”, Ramparts, December 1974-January 1975, pp. 21-24, 66-71; Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 43.

[65] Chomsky and Herman, “U.S. Versus Human Rights in the Third World”, Monthly Review, July-August 1977.

[66] Chomsky and Herman, “Distortions at Fourth Hand”, The Nation, June 6, 1977.

[67] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 1.

[68] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. ix.

[69] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. ix.

[70] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 47.

[71] Ginger Thompson and Gary Cohn, “Torturers’ Confessions”, The Baltimore Sun, June 13, 1995.  “School of the Dictators”, Editorial, the New York Times, September 28, 1996.

[72] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 66.

[73] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 6-7.

[74] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 50-52.

[75] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 53-60.

[76] Perkins (2004), Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, chapters 26 and 27. 

[77] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 252-263.

[78] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 75-79.

[79] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 22.

[80] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 236-237.

[81] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 226.

[82] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 184-187.

[83] Chomsky can be seen describing that situation in the 1992 documentary, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

[84] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 262.

[85] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 187.

[86] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 201, 292-293.

[87] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 192.

[88] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 165.

[89] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 313-320, 322-328.

[90] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 325-326.

[91] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 341.

[92] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, pp. 19-22.

[93] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, p. 20.

[94] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, p. 192.  Herman was quoting Kennan’s article in the Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1985, in an article titled, “Containment: Then and Now.”

[95] Herman (1992), Beyond Hypocrisy, p. 210.  Herman was quoting the London Times, May 12, 1965, as it reported on Kennan’s lectures at a university in Geneva.

[96] For instance, Chomsky wrote about NSC-68 and PPS-23 in his What Uncle Sam Really Wants, pp. 7-18.

[97] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. vii.

[98] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 15.

[99] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 30.

[100] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 40.

[101] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 40.

[102] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 38-39.

[103] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 41-48.

[104] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 109.

[105] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 105-115.

[106] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 84.

[107] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 30.

[108] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 140.

[109] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 130.

[110] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 126-128, 258-260, 286-287.

[111] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 139-140.

[112] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 351, n. 85.

[113] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 164.

[114] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 256.

[115] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 137.

[116] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 344, n. 7.

[117] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 177.

[118] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 162.  Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 266-270.

[119] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 218-219.

[120] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 216-226.

[121] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 154.

[122] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 211-215, 290.

[123] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 227-232.

[124] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 173-182, 241-253.

[125] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 235-241.

[126] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, p. 293.

[127] Chomsky and Herman (1979), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, pp. 299-300.

[128] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 260-261.

[129] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, chapters 3 and 4.

[130] Herman (1982), The Real Terror Network, p. 1.

[131] Herman (1982), The Real Terror Network, p. 21.  Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 85.

[132] Herman (1982), The Real Terror Network, p. 78.

[133] Herman and O’Sullivan (1989), The Terrorism Industry, pp. 29-36.

[134] Herman and Brodhead (1984), Demonstration Elections, p. 176.

[135] Herman and Brodhead (1984), Demonstration Elections, p. 153.

[136] Herman and Brodhead (1984), Demonstration Elections, p. 170.

[137] Herman and Brodhead (1986), The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection, pp. 206-209.

[138] Herman and Brodhead (1986), The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection, pp. 62-64.

[139] Herman and Brodhead (1986), The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection, p. 64.

[140] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 86-87; Lee, “On the Trail of Turkey's Terrorist Grey Wolves, Consortium News, 1997.

[141] Herman and Brodhead (1986), The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection, p. 215.

[142] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 263- 264.

[143] Herman (1986), Golding, Murdock, and Schlesinger, eds., Communicating Politics: Mass Communications and the Political Process, “Gatekeeper versus Propaganda Models: A Critical American Perspective”, pp. 171-195.

[144] Chomsky (2002), Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, Mitchell and Schoeffel, eds., p. 29.

[145] Herman (1986), Golding, Murdock, and Schlesinger, eds., Communicating Politics: Mass Communications and the Political Process, “Gatekeeper versus Propaganda Models: A Critical American Perspective”, p. 189.

[146] Herman (1986), Golding, Murdock, and Schlesinger, eds., Communicating Politics: Mass Communications and the Political Process, “Gatekeeper versus Propaganda Models: A Critical American Perspective”, p. 192.

[147] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 87-88.

[148] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. xi.

[149] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 1.

[150] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 3-4.

[151] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 4.

[152] Bagdikian (2004), The New Media Monopoly, chapter 2. 

[153] Bagdikian (1992), The Media Monopoly, fourth edition, p. xxviii.  Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 4. 

[154] Lee and Solomon (1990), Unreliable Sources, p. 77.

[155] Cohen and Solomon (1993), Adventures in Medialand, pp. 182-184.

[156] Macarthur (1992), Second Front, chapter 5.

[157] Cohen and Solomon (1993), Adventures in Medialand, pp. 182-184.

[158] Jensen (1997), 20 Years of Censored News, pp. 262-263.

[159] Jensen (1997), 20 Years of Censored News, pp. 263-264.

[160] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 14-15.

[161] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 17.

[162] Lee and Solomon (1990), Unreliable Sources, pp. 4-5.

[163] Lee and Solomon (1990), Unreliable Sources, p. 6.

[164] Lee and Solomon (1990), Unreliable Sources, p. 6.

[165] Wolinksy and Brune (1994), The Serpent and the Staff, chapter 7.  Robbins (1996), Reclaiming our Health, chapter 11.

[166] On the scandal that ended Fishbein’s career, see Ausubel (2000), When Healing Becomes a Crime, chapter 6.

[167] Wolinksy and Brune (1994), The Serpent and the Staff, p. 147.

[168] INFACT (1998), Global Aggression, pp. 24-25.

[169] Lee and Solomon (1990), Unreliable Sources, p. 7.

[170] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 17-18.

[171] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 18.

[172] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 22.

[173] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 19-21.

[174] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 22.

[175] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 23.

[176] Lee and Solomon (1990), Unreliable Sources, p. 29.

[177] Croteau and Hoynes's (1994), By Invitation Only, p. 112.

[178] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 24.

[179] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 25.

[180] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 28.

[181] Pedelty (1995), War Stories, pp. 93-97; Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 49, 62, 102; Lee and Solomon (1990), Unreliable Sources, pp. 99-100. 

[182] Herman and Rothberg, “Media Thugs Slug It Out”, Lies Of Our Times, June 1993, pp. 3-4

[183] Webb later wrote the widely hailed Dark Alliance about the Contra-cocaine story.

[184] Blum (1995), Killing Hope, pp. 72-83, Kwitny (1984), Endless Enemies, pp. 220-237, Schlesinger and Kinzer (1982), Bitter Fruit

[185] About the only mention in the American media of Rodríguez’s murder was the documentary Panama Deception

[190] Cumming-Bruce, “Julian Assange is suffering psychological torture, U.N. expert says”, New York Times, May 31, 2019.

[191] Farnsworth, Interview of Chomsky, Truthout, November 25, 2019. 

[192] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 28.

[193] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 29.

[194] Barsamian (1998), The Common Good, pp. 41-42.  Barsamian produced several books that were compilations of interviews of Chomsky.  Chomsky mentions elite rule through “induced fear” in the documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

[195] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 40.

[196] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. xii.

[197] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 97.  Peraica, “Worthy and unworthy victims: questions to Noam Chomsky”, LabforCulture.org, January 9, 2008.

[198] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 39.

[199] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 60.

[200] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, pp. 42-44.

[201] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, chapter 2 in general.

[202] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 252.

[203] Chomsky (2002), Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, Mitchell and Schoeffel, eds., pp. 15-16.  The first chapter of Understanding Power was based on a public discussion that Chomsky had in April 1989.

[204] Chomsky (2002), Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, Mitchell and Schoeffel, eds., pp. 17-18.

[205] Chomsky (1989), Necessary Illusions, p. 154.

[206] Chomsky (1989), Necessary Illusions, p. 154.

[207] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 259-271. It originally appeared as “The Propaganda Model Revisited”, Monthly Review, July-August 1996, pp. 115-164, reprinted on January 1, 2018 in MR Online. 

[208] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 268-271.  Herman (1996), “Reprise: The Propaganda Model Revisited”, MR Online, January 1, 2018.  It originally appeared as “The Propaganda Model Revisited”, Monthly Review, July-August 1996,

[209] Mullen, “The Propaganda Model after 20 Years: Interview with Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, November 2009.

[210] Mullen, “The Propaganda Model after 20 Years: Interview with Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, November 2009.

[211] Herman (2017), “Still Manufacturing Consent: The Propaganda Model at Thirty”, Roth and Huff, editors, Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a “Post-Truth” World, pp. 209-223.

[212] Herman (2017), “Still Manufacturing Consent: The Propaganda Model at Thirty”, Roth and Huff, editors, Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a “Post-Truth” World, pp. 210-211.

[213] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, pp. 48-51.

[214] Klaehn, et al. (2018), “Interview with Edward S. Herman: Ideological Hegemony in Contemporary Societies”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 21-24.

[215] Herman (2017), “Still Manufacturing Consent: The Propaganda Model at Thirty”, Roth and Huff, editors, Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a “Post-Truth” World, pp. 217-220.

[218] Herman (2017), “Still Manufacturing Consent: The Propaganda Model at Thirty”, Roth and Huff, editors, Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a “Post-Truth” World, pp. 220-221.

[219] Klaehn (2005), “A Critical Review and Assessment of Herman and Chomsky’s ‘Propaganda Model’”, Filtering the News, p. 18.

[220] Pedro-Carañana, Broudy, and Klaehn, eds. (2018), “Dedication”, The Propaganda Model Today.

[221] Pedro-Carañana, Broudy, and Klaehn (2018), “Introduction”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 5-7.

[222] Hearns-Branaman (2018), “What the Propaganda Model Can Learn from the Sociology of Journalism”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 25-36.

[223] Godler (2018), “Journalism Studies’ Systematic Pursuit of Irrelevance: How Research Emphases Sabotage Critiques of Corporate-Run News Media”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 37-51.

[224] Robinson (2018), “Does the Propaganda Model Actually Theorize Propaganda?”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 53-67.

[225] McGilvray (1999), Chomsky: Language, Mind, and Politics, pp. 216-220.

[226] Zinn (1980), A People’s History of the United States, pp. 7-8.

[227] Robinson (2018), “Does the Propaganda Model Actually Theorize Propaganda?”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 59-60.

[229] Robinson (2018), “Does the Propaganda Model Actually Theorize Propaganda?”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 57-61.

[230] Robinson (2018), “Does the Propaganda Model Actually Theorize Propaganda?”, The Propaganda Model Today, p. 62.

[231] Broudy and Tanji (2018), “System Security: A Missing Filter for the Propaganda Model?”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 93-106.

[232] Álvarez-Peralta (2018), “From #15M to Podemos: Updating the Propaganda Model for explaining political change in Spain and the Role of Digital Media”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 107-124.

[233] Labio-Bernal (2018), “Anti-Communism and the Mainstream Online Press in Spain: Criticism of Podemos as a Strategy of a Two-Party System in Crisis”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 125-141.

[234] Alford (2018), “A Screen Entertainment Propaganda Model”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 145-158.

[235] Bergman (2018), “American Television: Manufacturing Consumerism”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 159-172.

[236] Pollick (2018), “The Sport of Shafting Fans and Taxpayers: An Application of the Propaganda Model to the Coverage of Professional Athletes and Team Owners”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 173-190.

[237] Mullen (2018), “The 2008 Financial Crisis, the Great Recession and Austerity in Britain: Analysing Media Coverage Using the Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 193-221.

[238] Zollmann (2018), “Corporate-Market Power and Ideological Domination: The Propaganda Model after 30 Years - Relevance and Further Application”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 223-236.

[239] Sierra Caballero (2018), “Imperialism and Hegemonic Information: The Media Coup in Venezuela vs. the Criminalization of Protest in Mexico”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 237-247.

[240] Winter (2018), “’Dynamic’ Obama Lectures ‘Bumbling’ Castro on Race Relations in Cuba, While Wilfully Blind to Black Lives Matter Movement in the US”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 249-262.

[241] Rai (2018), “Thinking the Unthinkable about the Unthinkable – The Use of Nuclear Weapons and the Propaganda Model”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 237-247.

[242] Zollmann (2018), “Corporate-Market Power and Ideological Domination: The Propaganda Model after 30 Years - Relevance and Further Application”, The Propaganda Model Today, p. 227.

[243] Zollmann (2018), “Corporate-Market Power and Ideological Domination: The Propaganda Model after 30 Years - Relevance and Further Application”, The Propaganda Model Today, p. 231.

[244] Sierra Caballero (2018), “Imperialism and Hegemonic Information: The Media Coup in Venezuela vs. the Criminalization of Protest in Mexico”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 238-242.

[245] Sierra Caballero (2018), “Imperialism and Hegemonic Information: The Media Coup in Venezuela vs. the Criminalization of Protest in Mexico”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 242-245.

[246] Winter (2018), “’Dynamic’ Obama Lectures ‘Bumbling’ Castro on Race Relations in Cuba, While Wilfully Blind to Black Lives Matter Movement in the US”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 257-259.

[247] Rai (2018), “Thinking the Unthinkable about the Unthinkable – The Use of Nuclear Weapons and the Propaganda Model”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 237-247.

[248] Pedro-Carañana, Broudy, and Klaehn (2018) “Conclusion”, The Propaganda Model Today, pp. 279-286.

[250] Mills (2018), “The Legacy of Edward Herman”, Media Theory, Vol 2, No. 2, p. 112.

[251] Godler (2018), “The Propaganda Model and Black Boxes?”, Media Theory, Vol 2, No. 2, p. 196.

[252] MacLeod (2018), “Manufacturing Consent for the 2018 Elections in Venezuela and Colombia”, Media Theory, Vol 2, No. 2, pp. 138-153.

[253] Costley White (2018), “Herman in Theory and Practice: Race and Power”, Media Theory, Vol 2, No. 2, pp. 117-126.

[254] Costley White (2018), “Herman in Theory and Practice: Race and Power”, Media Theory, Vol 2, No. 2, p. 119.

[256] McChesney, Introduction to “The Propaganda Model Revisited”, MR Online, January 1, 2018.

[257] MacLeod (2019), “Introduction”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent.

[258] MacLeod and Chomsky (2019), “Still Manufacturing Consent: An interview with Noam Chomsky”, on March 13, 2018, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 1.

[259] Zollmann (2019), “A Propaganda Model for the Twenty-First Century: Structure-agency dynamics and the intersection of class, gender, and race”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 2.

[260] MacLeod (2019), “Assessing the Strength of the Five Filters Today”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 3.

[261] Gabriel (2017), “What Americans Care About vs. the Media Cares About”, Ricochet

[262] MacLeod (2019), “Fake News, Russian Bots, and Putin’s Puppets”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 4.

[263] Boyd-Barrett (2019), “Deflective Source Propaganda: A Syrian Case Study”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 5.

[264] Alford and Secker (2017), case study of Iron Man, National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood.

[265] Khan (2019), “Still Compromising News: Obfuscation and evasion as dominant filters in Indian media’s coverage of the IL&FS financial scandal”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 7.

[266] Rasul (2019), “International Public Relations and the Propaganda Model: A critical analysis of Bollywood blockbusters”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 8.

[267] Maweu (2019), “Still Manufacturing Consent in the Digital Era: Disinformation, ‘fake news’ and propaganda in the 2017 elections in Kenya”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 9.

[268] Kennard (2019), “Working inside the Racket: An insider’s perspective to the elite media”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, chapter 10.

[269] MacLeod (2019), “Conclusion: New media, same old rules”, MacLeod, ed., Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent.

[270] Lies of Our Times, March 1990, p. 19.

[271] Lies of Our Times, November 1990, p. 2.

[272] Chomsky and Herman (1993, 2004), Letters from Lexington: Reflections on Propaganda.

[273] Example of Du Boff’s and O’Sullivan’s contributions are Du Boff’s “What Peace Dividend?” in LOOT’s June 1990 issue and “Government Regulation” in LOOT’s July-August 1992 issue, and O’Sullivan’s “Irish Terrorism” in LOOT’s April 1990 issue and “LeMoyne, Again” in LOOT’s March 1992 issue.

[274] Zinn contributed “Not Exactly Mr. Civil Liberties” in LOOT’s May 1993 issue, Parenti contributed several articles, Cockburn contributed regularly, often regarding news photos and their depiction in the media, and McGehee contributed “Interview Techniques” in LOOT’s August 1990 issue. 

[275] Herman, “The Wall Street Journal as Propaganda Agency: Yellow Rain and the El Mozote Massacre”, Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1992-93, pp. 36-40.  That essay is also reproduced in Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 101-113.

[276] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 122-123.

[277] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, pp. 55-56.

[278] Herman, “Pol Pot’s Death in the Propaganda System”, Z Magazine, June 1998; Herman, “Good and Bad Genocide: Double Standards in coverage of Suharto and Pol Pot”, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, September 1, 1998.  

[279] Herman, “Krugman, Putin, and the NYT”, Z Magazine, October 2014.

[280] Herman, “Neoliberalism and Bottom Line Morality”, Z Magazine, December 2008.

[281] Herman, “Bailouts and Sellouts”, Z Magazine, January 2009.

[282] Herman’s first article was “The Cruise Missile Left”, Z Magazine, November 2002, and his fifth was published in May 2004.

[283] Herman, “Yale Censors Lee Bass”, Z Magazine, June 1995.

[284] Herman (1999), “Returning Guatemala to the Fold”, pp. 205-223, in Rawnsley, ed., Cold-War Propaganda in the 1950s.

[285] Herman (1999), “Returning Guatemala to the Fold”, p. 214, in Rawnsley, ed., Cold-War Propaganda in the 1950s.

[286] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader, pp. 91-98.

[287] Herman and Peterson, “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia”, Monthly Review, volume 59, issue 5, October 2007.

[288] Herman and Peterson, “The NATO-Media Lie Machine: ‘Genocide’ in Kosovo?”, Z Magazine, May 2000.

[289] Herman and Chomsky (2002), Manufacturing Consent, p. xxi.

[290] Herman, “Propaganda System Number One”, Z Magazine, September 2001, pp. 42-50.

[291] Herman, “Hitchens on Serbia and East Timor”, Z Magazine, January 2000.

[292] Phillips and Project Censored, Censored 2000, pp. 53-56.  Parenti (2000), To Kill a Nation, p. 99.

[293] Herman and Peterson (2000), “CNN: Selling NATO’s war globally”, Degraded Capability, p. 120.

[294] Herman and Peterson (2000), “CNN: Selling NATO’s war globally”, Degraded Capability, pp. 117-119.

[295] Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, pp. 95-101.

[296] Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, p. 49.  Herman, “The Fool, the Demagogue, and the Former KGB Colonel,” Z Magazine, May 2014.

[297] Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, p. 49.

[298] Herman and Peterson (2000), “CNN: Selling NATO’s war globally”, Degraded Capability, pp. 119-120.

[299] Herman, Peterson, Szamuely, “Human Rights Watch in Service to the War Party”, Electric Politics, February 26, 2007. 

[300] Black and Herman, “Louise Arbour: Unindicted War Criminal”, Z Magazine, February 2000.

[301] Black and Herman, “Louise Arbour: Unindicted War Criminal”, Z Magazine, February 2000; Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, pp. 53-54.

[302] Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, p. 39.

[303] Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, p. 41.

[304] Black, “The Mladic Case: A Stain on Civilization”, New Eastern Outlook, November 28, 2017.

[305] Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, p. 45.

[306] Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, p. 45.

[307] Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, p. 48.

[308] Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, p. 51.

[309] Herman and Peterson (2004), “A Study in Propaganda: Marlise Simons on the Yugoslavia Tribunal”, in Brown, Herman, and Peterson’s The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, p. 66.

[310] Herman, “Western Aggression: The Highest Form of Terrorism”, Z Magazine, February 2016, pp. 3-5.

[311] Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, pp. 49-51, 81-83.

[312] Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, p. 35.

[313] Chomsky, “Foreword,” Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, p. 7.

[314] Herman, “Golden Silences in the Propaganda System,” Z Magazine, June 2015, pp. 8-11.

[315] Herman (2011), “Preface.” The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, p. 20.

[316] Herman (2011), “Preface.” The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, p. 22.

[317] Herman (2011), “Preface.” The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, p. 19.

[318] Herman, “Golden Silences in the Propaganda System,” Z Magazine, June 2015, pp. 8-11.

[320] Herman and Peterson (2012), Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence, p. 8. 

[321] Herman and Peterson (2012), Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence, pp. 33-34. 

[322] Herman and Peterson (2012), Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence, pp. 35-36. 

[323] Herman and Peterson (2012), Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence, p. 64. 

[324] Herman and Peterson (2012), Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence, p. 37. 

[325] Chomsky and Herman (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, pp. 106-109.

[326] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 13-17.

[327] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 22-26.

[328] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 67.

[329] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 25.

[330] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 19-21.

[331] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 22.

[332] Philpot (2013), Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, p. 180.

[333] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 38-43.

[334] Hourigan submitted an affidavit to the ICTR on his investigation and how it was terminated by Arbour.  

[335] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 27-29.

[336] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 29-32.

[337] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 26-29.

[338] Peterson and Herman, “Genocide Denial and Genocide Facilitation: Gerald Caplan and The Politics of Genocide”, MR Online, July 4, 2010.

[339] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 13.

[340] Kuzmarov, “Dictators and Double Standards”, Z Magazine, October 2017.

[341] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 43-46.

[342] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 41-42.

[343] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 32-35.

[344] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 37.

[345] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 48-55.

[346] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 54.

[347] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 53.

[348] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 77.

[349] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 93, note 30.

[350] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 13.  Herman and Peterson, “Paul Kagame: ‘Our Kind of Guy’”, Z Magazine, October 2010.

[351] Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, p. 35.

[352] Herman and Peterson (2010), The Politics of Genocide, p. 68.

[353] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 54.

[354] Peterson and Herman, “Adam Jones on Rwanda and Genocide: A Reply,” MR Online, August 14, 2010.

[355] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 71.

[356] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 66-73.

[357] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 30-31.

[358] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 31.

[359] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 56.

[360] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 59-60.

[361] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 83-89.

[362] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 35.

[363] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, p. 75.

[364] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 54-55.  Herman, “Genocide Inflation is the Real Human Rights Threat: Yugoslavia and Rwanda”, ZNet, October 26, 2007.

[365] Herman and Peterson (2014), Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide and the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, pp. 76-77.

[366] Herman, “Genocide Inflation is the Real Human Rights Threat: Yugoslavia and Rwanda”, ZNet, October 26, 2007.

[367] Herman, review of Justice Belied: The Unbalanced Scales of International Criminal Justice, Z Magazine, January 2015.

[368] Herman, review of Justice Belied: The Unbalanced Scales of International Criminal Justice, Z Magazine, January 2015.

[369] Herman, review of Justice Belied: The Unbalanced Scales of International Criminal Justice, Z Magazine, January 2015.

[370] Philpot (2013), Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, p. 13.

[371] Melvern, et al., “Rwanda’s Untold Story: Letter to the Director-General of the BBC”, October 12, 2014, posted on lindamelvern.com. 

[372] Peterson and Herman, “The Kagame-Power Lobby’s Dishonest Attack on the BBC 2’s Documentary on Rwanda”, MR Online, November 1, 2014.

[373] Herman, interview on Project Censored’s show on KPFA radio, hosted by Ann Garrison, January 1, 2016.  Transcript at sfbayview.com. 

[374] Herman, “The Fool, the Demagogue, and the Former KGB Colonel,” Z Magazine, May 2014. 

[375] Herman, “The Fool, the Demagogue, and the Former KGB Colonel,” Z Magazine, May 2014. 

[376] Herman, “Double Standards and/or Hypocrisy?”, Z Magazine, December 2014.

[377] Herman, “Speaking Truth to Power or to the Powerless?”, Z Magazine, February 2015.

[378] Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukrainian Crisis is the West’s Fault”, Foreign Affairs, September-October 2014.

[379] Herman, “Containing the United States”, Z Magazine, September 2016.

[380] Herman, “Containing the United States”, Z Magazine, September 2016.

[381] Herman, “The New Anti-Russian Hysteria” in Z Magazine, April 2017; “Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies: The New York Times, 1917-2017”, Monthly Review, July-August 2017.

[383] Herman, “The Global Empire”, Z Magazine, July-August 1992.

[384] Herman, “Russia’s Medical System Collapse as ‘Freedom’s Toll’: Ignoring the welfare of the Russian People, with the help of the NYT”, Z Magazine, February 2001.

[385] Herman, “Russia: U.S. Rival, Dependent, Victim: Reform or robbery”, Z Magazine, March 2000.

[386] Herman, “The Assault on Social Security”, Z Magazine, November 1995.

[387] Herman, “The ‘Permanent Interests’ Budget: The debate over coping with the alleged surplus”, Z Magazine, October 1999.  Herman, “The Clinton Legacy: A return to Hooverite economic policies”, Z Magazine, March 2001.

[388] Herman, “The Third Way”, Z Magazine, November 1999.

[389] Herman, “The Balanced Budget Ploy”, Z Magazine, February 1996.

[390] Herman, “Clinton is the World’s Leading Active War Criminal”, Z Magazine, December 1999.

[391] Herman, “Pardon U.S.”, Z Magazine, December 1995.

[392] Herman, “Immiseration and Human Rights”, Z Magazine, April 1995.

[393] Herman, “Key Words in the New World Order: Words that purr and snarl”, Z Magazine, April 2000.

[394] Herman, “The Dirty Twenty”, Z Magazine, November 1996.

[395] Herman, “The New Racist Onslaught”, Z Magazine, December 1994, reproduced in Herman’s Triumph of the Market (1995), pp. 85-90; Herman, “America the Meritocracy: Intensifying Racism”, Z Magazine, July-August 1996.

[396] Herman and Peterson, “Jeremiah Wright in the Propaganda System”, Monthly Review, September 2008.

[397] Herman, “Anti-Terrorism Rally in Paris?”, Z Magazine, March 2015.

[398] Herman, “The Market Attack on Dissent”, Z Magazine, March 1996.

[399] Herman, “All the Book Reviews Fit to Print: Tolerance of the conservatively correct”, Z Magazine, April 1999 and All the Book Reviews Fit to Print: A detailed look at the NYT’s review biases”, Z Magazine, July/August 2000.

[400] Herman, “Postmodernism triumphs”, Z Magazine, January 1996.

[401] Herman, “Corporate Sovereignty and (Junk) Science: The chemical industry’s right to poison”, Z Magazine, November 1998.  Herman also wrote a two-part series, titled, “Corporate Junk Science and the Media, in Z Magazine, in January and February 1999. 

[402] Herman, “After All We Did For Them in Fallujah!”, Z Magazine, October 2015.

[403] Herman, “Nasty Legacies”, Z Magazine, September 2015.

[404] Herman, “Double Standards and/or Hypocrisy?”, Z Magazine, December 2014.

[405] Herman, “Trans-Pacific Partnership versus Equality and Democracy”, Z Magazine, April 2015.

[406] Herman, “Mexican Meltdown: NAFTA and the propaganda system”, Z Magazine, September 1995.

[407] Herman, “Foreign Engagement v. Aggression”, Z Magazine, June 2016.

[408] Herman, “Foreign Engagement v. Aggression”, Z Magazine, June 2016.

[409] Herman, “U.S. Political and Moral Disarray”, Z Magazine, December 2016.

[410] Herman, review of Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, Z Magazine, November 2015.

[411] Klugman, et al., “Human Development Report 2010, 20th Anniversary Edition” United Nations Development Programme, p. 144.  Libya ranked 53rd among Earth’s 169 nations studied, and had the highest-rank for an African nation. 

[412] Herman, “King of Chaos,” Z Magazine, March 2016.

[413] Herman, “King of Chaos,” Z Magazine, March 2016.

[414] Peterson and Herman, “Vulliamy’s Smears”, Counterpunch, November 23, 2009; Herman, “Refuting Brad DeLong’s Smear Job on Noam Chomsky,” Counterpunch, July 25, 2003; Herman, “Pol Pot, Faurisson, and the Process of Derogation”, in Otero, Ed. (1994), Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments, pp. 598-615.

[415] Peterson and Herman, “The Oliver Kamm School of Falsification: Imperial Truth-Enforcement, British Branch”, MR Online, January 22, 2010.

[416] Mullen and Klaehn, “The Herman–Chomsky Propaganda Model: A Critical Approach to Analysing Mass Media Behaviour”, Sociology Compass, 2010, 4/4, pp. 215-229.

[417] Herman (1999), The Myth of the Liberal Media, An Edward Herman Reader, p. 261.

[418] Herman and Chomsky (1988), Manufacturing Consent, p. 306.

[419] LaFeber, “Whose News?”, the New York Times, November 6, 1988.

[420] Chomsky (1989), Necessary Illusions, pp. 137-180.

[421] Chomsky (1989), Necessary Illusions, pp. 137-138.

[422] Chomsky (1989), Necessary Illusions, p. 148.

[423] Chomsky (1989), Necessary Illusions, p. 148.

[424] Chomsky (1989), Necessary Illusions, p. 381.

[425] Herman, Letter to the Editor, the New York Times, December 11, 1988.

[426] Herman, “Pol Pot, Faurisson, and the Process of Derogation”, in Otero, ed. (1994), Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments, pp. 598-615; Chomsky and Herman, “Distortions at Fourth Hand”, The Nation, June 6, 1977.

[427] Herman, “Pol Pot, Faurisson, and the Process of Derogation”, in Otero, ed. (1994), Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments, pp. 598-615.

[428] Lukes (1980), “Chomsky’s Betrayal of Truths”, Times Higher Education Supplement, November 7, 1980. 

[429] Barsky (1997), Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, pp. 187-188.

[430] Eng, “Paying it forward: Fellows Friday with Sophal Ear”, TED Blog, October 19, 2012.

[431] Ear (1995), “The Khmer Rouge Canon 1975-1979: The Standard Total Academic View on Cambodia”, Master’s Thesis, University of California, Berkeley.

[432] Chomsky and Herman (2014), After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, “Preface to the 2014 Edition”.

[433] Barsky (1997), Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, p. 188.

[434] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, pp. 56-57.

[435] Herman, letter to the editor, “Chomsky and the Khmer Rouge”, the New York Times, published March 27, 1988.

[436] Otero, Otero, ed. (2004), Language and Politics, pp. 284-285.

[437] Herman, “Pol Pot, Faurisson, and the Process of Derogation”, in Otero, ed. (1994), Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments, pp. 598-615.

[438] Herman, “Pol Pot, Faurisson, and the Process of Derogation”, in Otero, ed. (1994), Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments, pp. 598-615; Chomsky and Herman, “Distortions at Fourth Hand”, The Nation, June 6, 1977.  Barsky (1997), Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, p. 189.

[439] Herman (2011), “Preface.” The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, p. 15.

[441] Corwin (2011), “Foreword.” The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, p. 8.

[442] Herman (2011), “Preface.” The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, p. 13.

[443] Herman (2011), “Preface.” The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, p. 20.

[444] Peterson and Herman, “George Monbiot and the Guardian on ‘Genocide Denial’ and ‘Revisionism’”, MR Online, September 2, 2011.

[445] Peterson and Herman, “George Monbiot and the Guardian on ‘Genocide Denial’ and ‘Revisionism’”, MR Online, September 2, 2011.  Herman and Peterson’s mistitled response is titled: “We're not genocide deniers. We just want to uncover the truth about Rwanda and Srebrenica”, The Guardian, July 19, 2011.

[446] Peterson and Herman, “George Monbiot and the Guardian on ‘Genocide Denial’ and ‘Revisionism‘”, MR Online, September 2, 2011.

[447] Herman, “Reply to George Monbiot on ‘Genocide Belittling’”, ZNet, July 20, 2011.

[448] Caplan, “The politics of denialism: The strange case of Rwanda”, Pambazuka News, June 17, 2010.

[450] Luc Marchal, et al., “Analysis of the MUTSINZI Report”, CirqueMinime/Paris, February 10, 2010.

[453] Roberts, “Edward Herman, 92, Critic of U.S. Media and Foreign Policy, Dies”, The New York Times, November 21, 2017.

[454] Lent and Amazeen (2015), Key Thinkers in Critical Communication Scholarship, Interview with Edward S. Herman on September 2, 2013, p. 51.

[455] Taibbi, "RIP Edward Herman, Who Co-Wrote a Book That's Now More Important Than Ever: We need a new Manufacturing Consent", Rolling Stone, November 14, 2017.  Taibbi called for a new Manufacturing Consent in Herman’s eulogy, and Taibbi did attempt to update the PM, but his effort instead became Hate Inc., published in 2019, which had a different emphasis from Manufacturing Consent’s.  The introduction of Hate Inc. described the profound impact that Manufacturing Consent had on Taibbi’s thinking about journalism.   

[456] Cohen, “Edward S. Herman: Master of Dissent (1925–2017)”, FAIR, November 14, 2017.

[457] Huff, “A Heartfelt Thank You to Edward Herman”, Project Censored, November 15, 2017.  Johnstone, “Thank You, Ed Herman”, Counterpunch, November 15, 2017 (Herman gave Johnstone her first personal computer); Lindorff, “Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman”, Counterpunch, November 22, 2017. McChesney, Introduction to “The Propaganda Model Revisited”, MR Online, January 1, 2018.

[458] Roberts, “Edward Herman, 92, Critic of U.S. Media and Foreign Policy, Dies”, the New York Times, November 21, 2017.

[460] Roberts, original Edward Herman obituary, “Edward Herman, 92, Critic of U.S. Media and Foreign Policy, Dies”, the New York Times, November 21, 2017. On Todd Gitlin’s comments in Herman’s New York Times obituary, see Gardner, “Obituary Politics, Todd Gitlin puts down Ed Herman”, Counterpunch, December 1, 2017.

[461] Naureckas, “NYT’s Obit for Ed Herman Requires a Correction”, FAIR, November 25, 2017.  The New York Times corrected that error on November 27, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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