When Edward S. Herman, a prominent critic of U.S. media and foreign policy, passed away on Nov. 21, two of the country’s biggest newspapers turned to Ithaca College’s resident media critic. Associate Professor of Journalism Jeff Cohen was featured in obituaries for Herman in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
An economist at the University of Pennsylvania, Herman frequently collaborated with linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky. In their influential book, “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” Herman and Chomsky argued that “market forces, internalized assumptions and self-censorship” motivated mainstream media to restrain dissenting voices.
In The Washington Post obituary, Cohen called Herman “one of the top progressive media critics.” The New York Times quoted from a post Cohen wrote for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, a media watch group that he founded. In it, he praised Herman’s humility and willingness to share credit, relating a story about asking Herman if he was upset that a reference to “Manufacturing Consent” in the movie “Good Will Hunting” attributed the book to Chomsky alone.
“I asked Ed if he felt left out,” Cohen wrote. “Not at all — the movie ‘will bring our book more attention, more readers.’ Pure Ed.”