Ace of Spades HQ: "Manufacturing Consent: I think Noam Chomskey hit upon this idea, and there's something to it.
Suppose there are five possible plausible public reactions to an event or initiative. A, B, C, D, and E, ranging from rightist to leftist, and A and E representing the extremes.
Media debate tends to package C and D -- C, a centristl reaction, and D, a left-center but still mainstream-ish reaction -- as the only two possible reactions, and debates the issue without reference to A, B, and E, as if they don't exist, or, if they do mention them, they are dismissed peremptorily as extremist and wack-a-doo and 'not serious.'
Thus, at the end of the day, the public does get to 'choose'... but only from the two options the media has pre-screened as permissible, C and D. Thus, consent of the governed has been 'manufactured' -- sure, the public chooses between C and D, but their choice was forced -- as a magician forces a card on you -- by a media that carefully insulated them from genuine consideration of A, B, and E."