WWrriittiinngg aa PPrrooppoossaall
You know when you think
about writing a book
[or a research paper],
you think it is
actually, you break it
down into tiny little
tasks any moron could
A short proposal needs to have four elements:
•An overview of the problem.
•The question or questions you wish to investigate
•A list of possible sources
An overview ooff tthhee pprroobblleemm
Since, as it turns out, invading
Iraq may have been a major snafu,
and since the rest of the world
seems to think that the American
public are a flock of sheep that
can be led by any mad piper, it
makes sense to explore the way the
war was marketed…
Briefly explore the background that has led up to
this becoming an issue worthy of investigation.
The question or questions you wish
Enumerate the question(s) that you mean to explore in
your paper. A good question involves the who's, how’s
and why’s of an issue:
Some of the questions I will explore
What marketing techniques
commonly used in advertising were
employed to sell the idea of a war in
Iraq to the public?
Who exactly was behind this?
How do you plan to go about investigating these questions?
Remember a research paper is usually in future time:
This paper will look at some of
the classical appeals used in
advertising (i.e. fear and safety)
as well as logical fallacies often
employed in public relations
campaigns such as buzz words,
straw man, ad hominem attacks, and
the famous Texas sharpshooter’s
On the other hand, it will explore
some of the rebuttals to the idea
that the war was based on PR and
not “flawed intelligence.”
A list of possible sources
Research paper assignments often ask for a list of possible
sources to be submitted before writing the paper begins. This
is known as an annotated bibliography.
According to LEO online, the steps to preparing an
annotated bibliography are:
Process for Writing an Annotated
1. List the completed bibliographical citation.
2. Explain the main purpose of the work.
3. Briefly describe the content.
4. Indicate the possible audience for the work.
5. Evaluate the relevance of the information.
6. Note any special features.
7. Warn readers of any defect, weakness, or bias.
Rutherford, Paul. Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Marketing
the War with Iraq. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
In this book Rutherford brilliantly shows exactly how,
step by step, the idea of war with Iraq was marketed in
the post 9-11 atmosphere of fear and suspicion. While not
even handed –there are no equivocations here- it is useful
for seeing one side of the issue presented clearly and
methodically. Rutherford is a well-known expert on
advertising and propaganda. This will help me explore the
question of how advertising techniques were employed.
Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing
Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New
York: Pantheon Press, 1988. Print
This book was cited in Rutherford’s book and is a classic
in the genre. Again, it does not look at both sides of the
issue. Rather it is a scathing denunciation of the
complicity of the mass media in selling government policy.
Both writers are academics specializing in language.
Chomsky is considered the father of modern linguistics.
Magazine aanndd JJoouurrnnaall
Wolff, Michael. “How to Sell a War”. Vanity
Fair. Jan. 2006: 45 – 49.
This article caused a lot of flap because it
was published in a main stream magazine,
a place that is harder to ignore than
the “liberal” and left-wing venues that
this debate had heretofore raged in.
Although it draws heavily on earlier
research, such as Weapons of Mass
Persuasion, it is well written and
Michael Wolff provides some choice
quotes that I would probably want to
use. Wolff is the editor of adweek.com
and an authority on and early pioneer of
Gaines,Brian J., and James H. Kuklinski, Paul J. Quirk, Buddy Peyton, Jay
Verkuilen “Same Facts, Different Interpretations: Partisan Motivation and
Opinion on Iraq” The Journal of Politics 69 (4), 957–974 (2007).
EBSCOhost. Web. 20 October. 2007.
Although this does not specifically address the use of advertising techniques,
it will be useful to me for background information and its insights into
the framing of facts to spin different interpretation of reality.
Furthermore, it is a scholarly journal, and although I may use only a few
quotes or definitions, it will spiff up my work and make it look more
academic. Hee hee.
Loeb, Harlan, Misconceptions Unfairly Tar PR Name, PR Weekly,
1/16/2006. Lexis Nexis. 19 October. 2007
This is an op ed from a PR trade publication that was written as a
response to Michael Wolff’s article in Vanity Fair. On the one
hand it presents an opposing point of view, one thing I am short
on at the moment. On the other, it convincingly shows the impact
that an piece in a main stream magazine can have. Note: Loeb,
while defending PR, never actually claims that these techniques
were not used.
Shuman, Miriam. “Can You Hear Me Now? Marketing the War With
Iran”. Southern Christian University. Web. 21 October.
I can use this in my conclusion: Is the same process
happening now vis-à-vis Iran? Shuman persuasively argues
that it is. While it is hardly a balanced view, such a
view is unlikely to be found.
Interview with George Tenet. NBC NEWS “MEET THE PRESS”.
msnbc.msn.com. Web. 22 October. 2007
In this interview, Tim Russet pointedly asked Tenet why the
head of a government agency was marketing war. Tenet
denied this and outlined his reasons why. This will be a
very useful rebuttal of the point of view of most of my
sources. One of very few I was able to find.
Cite all sources