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  • 1. PROPAGANDA
  • 2. What is propaganda
    • “ Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”
    • — Jowett & O'Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion
    • Any information, ideas, doctrines or special appeals, disseminated to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes or behaviors of any specified group in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly.
    • __ NATO Definition
  • 3. Let’s start with the (pre-) conceptions
    • Propaganda is about lying or, at best, half-truths
    • It is about playing to emotions rather than reason
    • It is a ‘dirty trick’ designed to get people to do something they might not otherwise have done
    • It is only done by ‘them’ i.e. dictators who fear public opinion – ‘we’ tell the truth
    • It is only done in wartime by democracies
    • It is an abuse of communications processes
  • 4. What it really is
    • It is a process of communications/persuasion between sender and recipient
    • As such, it is value-neutral
    • It depends for its success upon credibility
    • It lies on the spectrum of communication of who says what, when, how and with what effect.
    • To distinguish it from other forms of communication, it needs to add why
    • Therefore the question of intent is critical
  • 5. Main historical campaigns
    • ‘ the campaign against American neutrality’, 1914-17
    • ‘ we were hypnotized as a rabbit is by a snake’, 1918
    • ‘ workers of the world unite’
    • ‘ the free world vs. the slave world’, 1939 onwards, 1945 onwards
    • Free market liberal democratic capitalism vs. communism and now ‘rogue states’/’axis of evil’/the global ‘war’ on terrorism
  • 6. Main propaganda theorists/practices
    • Vatican invented the word!
    • Propagation of cultures/germination of seeds
    • The authoritarian model (Mussolini, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany)
    • The democratic response (‘Strategy of Truth’)
    • Lippmann, Bernays, Hitler, Ellul
  • 7. Five characteristics of propaganda
    • Propaganda is in the eye of the beholder.
      • “ I’m persuading. The other guy is using propaganda.”
    • Propaganda has a strong ideological bent.
      • example: PETA, Queer Nation, or the Army of God
    • Propaganda is institutional in nature. It is practiced by organized groups
      • governments, corporations, social movements, special interests
    • Propaganda relies on mass persuasion
      • television, radio, Internet, billboards
    • Propaganda tends to rely on ethically suspect methods of influence.
      • deception, distortion, misrepresentation, or suppression of information.
  • 8. Different types of propaganda
    • Black (or covert)
    • White (or overt)
    • Grey (unknown source)
    • Cohesive propaganda
    • Divisive propaganda
      • Cohesive propaganda
    • Create goodwill
    • Promote friendship
    • Raise morale
    • Stress common interests
    • Gain co-operation
      • Divisive propaganda
    • Lower morale
    • Create apathy, defeatism & discord
    • Promote dissention, panic subversion, resistance, desertion, surrender & defection
  • 9. Domestic or foreign
    • Home propaganda usually plays out under ‘information’ policy – ‘we tell the truth to our people’, ‘they tell lies about us’
    • International propaganda: is it an interference with the internal affairs of other nations?
    • Censorship and propaganda have been traditional handmaidens – but is this possible any more in the ‘information age’
    • Blurring of ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ within the context of globalization
  • 10. Main historical campaigns
    • ‘ the campaign against American neutrality’, 1914-17
    • ‘ we were hypnotized as a rabbit is by a snake’, 1918
    • ‘ workers of the world unite’
    • ‘ the free world vs. the slave world’, 1939 onwards, 1945 onwards
    • Free market liberal democratic capitalism vs. communism and now ‘rogue states’/’axis of evil’/the global ‘war’ on terrorism
  • 11. Common propaganda techniques
    • plain folks appeal (“I’m one of you”)
    • testimonials (“I saw the aliens, sure as I’m standing here”)
    • bandwagon effect (everybody’s doing it)
    • card-stacking (presenting only one side of the story)
    • transfer (positive or negative associations, such as guilt by association)
    • glittering generalities (idealistic or loaded language, such as “freedom” “empowering,” “family values”)
    • name calling (“racist,” “tree hugger,” “femi-nazi”)
  • 12. plain folks appeal
    • Based on the “common man,” “person on the street” or the “little guy”
    • A politician calls himself a “populist” or “man of the people”
    • “ In this time of change, government must take the side of working families.” (George Bush, address at the Republican National Convention, Sept. 3, 2004.
  • 13. testimonials
    • Anecdotal evidence for diet pills, herbal remedies, new-age crystals, etc.
    • Anecdotal evidence of alien abductions, psychic phenomena
    • “ I saw what looked to be a hairy human figure, about 6-6 1/2' tall, running behind my bike. Scared the crap out of me, so I hit the throttle and did what I could to get out of there.” (from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organizations Website, report # 13424
  • 14. bandwagon effect
    • a “herd” mentality, following the crowd, or “counting heads”
    • An employee caught pilfering says, “everyone else does it.”
    • “ A majority of Americans - 57% - say they believe in psychic phenomena such as ESP, telepathy or experiences that can’t be explained by normal means.” (CBS poll, April 28, 2002)
  • 15. transfer
    • Projecting good or bad qualities from one person or group onto another
    • The positive or negative association will “rub off” on the other person or group
    • Politicians posing next to the flag, with troops, with veterans to appear patriotic
    • An ad for a dietary supplement features a researcher in a white lab coat with a clip board to make the product appear more scientific
  • 16. glittering generalities
    • Using virtuous words; democracy, freedom, justice, patriotism, family values, motherhood, progress
    • Embracing values at a high level of abstraction
      • “ change”
      • “ green”
      • “ reform”
    • “ patriotism is always more than just loyalty to a place on a map or a certain kind of people. Instead, it is also loyalty to America’s ideals – ideals for which anyone can sacrifice, or defend, or give their last full measure of devotion.” Barack Obama, June 30, 2008
  • 17. name calling
    • Ad hominem attacks
    • tree-hugging liberals, right-wing zealots, femi-nazis, bureaucrats
    • Barack Obama “palls around with terrorists.”
    • “ Despite the hysterics of a few pseudo-scientists, there is no reason to believe in global warming” Rush Limbaugh, See I told You So (1993)
    • “ secular progressives made great inroads over the past five years" and "if you don't believe that ... you're a moron." Bill O’Reilly, Dec 19, 2005, on his syndicated radio show, the Radio Factor