Well, essentially in Manufacturing Consent what we were doing was contrasting two models: how the media ought to function, and how they do function.
The former model is the more or less conventional one: it’s what the New York Times recently referred to in a book review as the “traditional Jeffersonian role of the media as a counter-weight to government”—in other words, a cantankerous, obstinate, ubiquitous press, which must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the right of the people to know, and to help the population assert meaningful control over the political process.
That’s the standard conception of the media in the United States, and it’s what most of the people in the media themselves take for granted.
The alternative conception is that the media will present a picture of the world which defends and inculcates the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate the domestic economy, and who therefore also largely control the government. According to this “Propaganda Model,” the media serve their societal purpose by things like the way they select topics, distribute their concerns, frame issues, filter information, focus their analyses, through emphasis, tone, and a whole range of other techniques like that. Noam Chomsky - Understanding Power (via noam-chomsky)