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Edward S. Herman: Master of Dissent (1925–2017)


Edward S. Herman: Master of Dissent (1925–2017)

Jeff Cohen

Ed was the main author of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, written with Noam Chomsky.

Edward S. Herman


As a young man, decades ago, I used find a lot of events, news reports, political pronouncements, and what I learned in school, from reading, watching TV, didn’t quite feel right, didn’t quite jibe with each other, didn’t quite, well, makes sense. So many pieces of the puzzle, so many pieces that didn’t seem to fit together, and could never make a whole.

Then, in 1988, the Massey Lectures presented by CBC Radio’s Ideas, featured Noam Chomsky, expounding the facts and the conclusions which are presented in Manufacturing Consent: Thought Control in Democratic Societies. I listened to every word, and later, I bought the book to better grasp the concepts…

Every idea, every fact was like a tumbler of a complicated lock cylinder clicking into place being gently picked into place, eventually I was opening a vault door. The world’s pieces tumbled into a coherent whole. I was innocent no more.

Thank you, Messrs. Herman and Chomsky.


A great book, indeed. Most lies by media and politicians are lies of omission, containing some degree of truth, but never the complete story, nor very much in the way of context.


Manufacturing Consent was formative for me. A classic example of following the money. My original copy is still hopefully being passed around and read by others.


Exactly. “Manufacturing Consent” was one of the three works - the others being Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and Blum’s “Killing Hope” all read in the mid 1990s were the departure points for my views and activism ever since.

Although, certainly reading Vonnegut’s novels in my young years armed me with the appropriate levels of skepticism of the manufactured consensus so I was ready for these works…


I started moving to the left in high school 1960-1964, largely through reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle , Walden by Henry David Thoreau, as well as most of Vance Packard’s books (The Waste Makers, The Status Seekers, The Hidden Persuaders).In those days, I also read every issue of Mad
Magazine that I could get my hands on. The combined influence of those and other sources gave me a different perspective, one that has lasted all these many years.


I’d like to add that the DVD Manufacturing Consent is great as well. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve read my share of Chomsky and Herman. Herman will be missed. I last remember reading an article of his in Z Magazine.


2012 Interview of Edward Herman on Real News Network:

Part 3 - Finance