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Propaganda

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Propaganda

  1. 1. 11 Techniques of Propaganda AP English Language & Composition
  2. 2. Table of Contents
  3. 3. What is Propaganda? Back to Contents
  4. 4. What is Propaganda? Have you ever had a dramatic change of heart or a strong emotional response after looking at something as simple as a billboard or a commercial? If so, you may have been looking at propaganda . Back to Contents
  5. 5. What is Propaganda? Back to Contents Propaganda is a kind of persuasive and widespread message designed to represent the interests of a particular group. It attempts to bypass logic through faulty reasoning and emotional appeals. It can be found anywhere from the newspaper to the Internet to your favorite TV sitcom.
  6. 6. What is Propaganda? Back to Contents Propaganda is intended to give someone else control over your thoughts and actions. That’s why it is crucial to be able to identify propaganda when you see it.
  7. 7. What is Propaganda? Propaganda comes in many forms, but it always has the following characteristics: Back to Contents persuasive function sizeable target audience representation of a specific group’s agenda use of faulty reasoning and/or emotional appeals
  8. 8. What is Propaganda? This poster appeals to feelings of pity and guilt. Back to Contents Propaganda often provokes instinctive emotional responses that lead people to draw hasty conclusions.
  9. 9. What is Propaganda? <ul><ul><li>Rather than suggesting a specific course of action, the poster simply describes a frightening scenario. </li></ul></ul>Back to Contents Similarly, this poster appeals not to logic, but to fear and anger.
  10. 10. What is Propaganda? <ul><li>The previous examples of propaganda were created during World War II. However, propaganda can still be found today, all over the world. </li></ul>The same approach that convinces us to buy a certain brand of toothpaste one day may be used the next day to incite nuclear war. That is why it is important to know how to recognize and analyze propaganda . Back to Contents
  11. 11. What is Propaganda? In the slides that follow, we’ll look at eleven of the most basic categories of propaganda : Back to Contents Assertion Bandwagon Card Stacking Glittering Generalities False Dilemma The Lesser of Two Evils Name-Calling Pinpointing the Enemy Plain Folk Transfer Testimonials
  12. 12. What is Propaganda? By the end of this presentation, you should be equipped to detect and analyze most of the propaganda you encounter in the real world. Back to Contents
  13. 13. Discussion Topics Discussion Topics 1. What are some potential sources of propaganda in the modern world? Sources include commercials, billboards, print ads (catalogues, magazines, direct mail, etc.), and political campaigns, among many others. Back to Contents
  14. 14. Discussion Topics 2. In order to qualify as propaganda, a message must meet the following criteria: Back to Contents Describe an example of a message that would meet all but one of the above criteria. Explain your answer. persuasive function sizeable target audience representation of a specific group’s agenda use of faulty reasoning and/or emotional appeals
  15. 15. Discussion Topics Back to Contents Describe an example of a message that would meet all but one of the above criteria. Explain your answer. (Discussion Topic #2 continued) <ul><ul><li>Example: A high school assembly called to discuss the dangers of drunk driving may meet the following criteria: 1) persuasive function (persuading students not to drive drunk), 2) sizeable target audience (the entire high school), 3) representation of a specific group’s agenda (the school board’s desire to protect the school’s image). Nevertheless, the argument against drunk driving may be based on sound reasoning and facts, rather than emotional appeals and logical fallacies. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Discussion Topics 3. Identify an example of propaganda you have recently been exposed to, and explain to the class why this message constitutes propaganda. Answer will vary. Back to Contents
  17. 17. Techniques Back to Contents
  18. 18. Part 1: Assertion Back to Contents
  19. 19. Part 1: Assertion Assertion is the simplest form of propaganda. It consists of simply stating a debatable idea as a fact, with no explanation or justification. Back to Contents The Middle East will never be at peace. A record number of hurricanes have been caused by global warming this year.
  20. 20. Part 1: Assertion Assertion relies on the premise that people are essentially gullible and like to believe what they are told. Back to Contents Women are bad drivers. Men never stop to ask for directions.
  21. 21. Part 1: Assertion <ul><li>Assertion is sometimes used in political or military propaganda, as in this illustration from World War I. </li></ul>Back to Contents
  22. 22. Part 1: Assertion Unfounded assertions are also common in commercial advertising. Back to Contents Fulmer’s Glue: making life better since 1926 Dogs that eat Nutri-Chow have more energy.
  23. 23. Part 1: Assertion Think about how many advertisements include phrases like the following, without any justification: Back to Contents the best product available the most popular brand with a taste that will never let you down
  24. 24. Part 1: Assertion Back to Contents Assertion is a quick and easy way to gain a foothold in people’s minds in political matters as well. This German World War II poster makes the assertion that “Europe’s victory is your prosperity” without explaining this claim.
  25. 25. Part 1: Assertion George Orwell’s fictional study of propaganda and mind control, 1984 , contains an example of the assertion technique . In the novel, the following three slogans of “the Party” are emblazoned on the walls of the Ministry of Truth building: Back to Contents WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
  26. 26. Part 1: Assertion Propaganda that uses assertions often suggests a course of action. This poster encourages readers to “sacrifice for freedom” based on the assertion that “This world cannot exist half slave and half free.” Back to Contents
  27. 27. Part 1: Assertion Often, an assertion will be supported by “facts” that are not necessarily true. Back to Contents This level of assertion is sometimes used to mislead people in a way that is potentially harmful. The scientific evidence, taken as a whole, is insufficient to establish that other people’s tobacco smoke is a cause of any disease. — Imperial Tobacco Group
  28. 28. Part 1: Assertion As you assess any given assertion, keep in mind the four qualifying characteristics of propaganda: Back to Contents persuasive function sizeable target audience representation of a specific group’s agenda use of faulty reasoning and/or emotional appeals
  29. 29. Discussion Topics 1. What makes a statement an example of “assertion” propaganda? In addition to meeting all the criteria of propaganda, a statement must present a debatable idea as a fact without explaining or justifying the claim in order to constitute assertion propaganda. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  30. 30. Discussion Topics 2. Describe an example of an assertion you have seen in politics or advertising. Do you think that this claim has affected your point of view? Explain your reaction. Answer will vary. Back to Contents
  31. 31. Discussion Topics 3. Identify which of the following assertions qualify as propaganda, and explain your answer. Modify those that are not propaganda to make them fit the four criteria. Back to Contents A. Parent to child: “If you eat your vegetables, you’ll grow up to be big and strong.” Must be modified to target a larger audience.
  32. 32. Discussion Topics Back to Contents (Discussion Topic #3 continued) B. Billboard: “Mario’s Pizza, Next Exit.” This is merely a statement of fact. Must be modified to make an unjustified claim about the restaurant (e.g., “Mario’s Pizza: The Best Pizza in the World”). C. Magazine ad for “age-defying” makeup: “True Beauty is Ageless.” Propaganda. This is an unjustified assertion, made to a large audience, that appeals to the viewers’ feelings in order to advance the advertiser’s agenda.
  33. 33. Discussion Topics Back to Contents (Discussion Topic #3 continued) D. Commercial: “According to a study by the National Heart Association, eating this cereal, as part of a balanced breakfast, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” This is merely a statement of facts, and must be modified to make an unjustified claim about the cereal (e.g., “eating this cereal will reduce your risk of heart disease”). E. Political commentator: “Richard Williams obviously doesn’t have the experience it takes to be President of the United States.” Propaganda—assuming this statement is not explained with a logical argument.
  34. 34. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of assertion propaganda. Back to Contents
  35. 35. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of assertion propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at an American audience (during World War II), this poster was intended to dissuade citizens from discussing military affairs. This slogan can be considered an example of assertion propaganda; however, the qualifier “might” opens this question to debate. If students emphasize the use of “might” in the poster, they can argue that this is a reasonable claim. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  36. 36. Part 2: Bandwagon Back to Contents
  37. 37. Part 2: Bandwagon People generally like to feel that they belong to a group, especially one that appears to be successful and popular. The bandwagon technique manipulates people by appealing to this desire. Back to Contents The term “ bandwagon ” has its origins in the 1800s, when politicians used wagons with music and entertainment to attract audiences. Once a sizeable crowd had gathered to listen to the band, a politician would speak. Other politicians would often try to get a seat on a popular bandwagon, hoping to take advantage of its success.
  38. 38. Part 2: Bandwagon In modern usage, the term “ bandwagon effect ” refers to any situation in which people attempt to be part of a successful or popular endeavor merely for the sake of its popularity. Back to Contents The phrase “ jumping on the bandwagon ” was used to describe this phenomenon, and eventually the term was used outside the political realm. Five million members and growing! Thousands of satisfied customers can’t be wrong.
  39. 39. Part 2: Bandwagon You may have experienced this persuasive approach in the form of peer pressure. Back to Contents Propaganda often uses the same illogical appeal. “ Everybody’s doing it!”
  40. 40. Part 2: Bandwagon This German poster reads, “All the people say yes on April 10th!” The suggestion is that, since everyone else is supposedly voting “yes,” you should, too. Back to Contents
  41. 41. Part 2: Bandwagon The bandwagon technique can be seen in a number of different scenarios. It may be used casually, on a topic that’s not particularly controversial. Back to Contents Everyone knows that the Grand Canyon is the most beautiful place in North America.
  42. 42. Part 2: Bandwagon It can be used to validate a moral claim: Back to Contents Similarly, the bandwagon technique can be used to promote a candidate or a product: More and more couples are living together without being married, so it must be all right. The Jackson campaign has the popularity it takes to win the election. Choose the top-selling truck in its class.
  43. 43. Part 2: Bandwagon The bandwagon technique is especially visible in product marketing. Advertisers will try to convince you that by failing to do what “everyone else” is doing or use the product “everyone else” is using, you are missing out. Back to Contents Join the digital revolution.
  44. 44. Part 2: Bandwagon This World War I poster depicts sailors from Japan, France, the United States, Britain, Russia, and Italy as a happy band of brothers. It seems to suggest that everyone is enlisting in the navy, and those who don’t should feel left out. Back to Contents
  45. 45. Part 2: Bandwagon In the sciences, the bandwagon technique is often used as a way to gain mainstream acceptance of a given theory, since the general public may struggle to understand the science behind complex issues. Back to Contents Most scientists believe global warming is a result of human activity. Experts agree that obesity contributes to the development of cancer.
  46. 46. Part 2: Bandwagon Sometimes it does make sense to consider the majority opinion, but only if you have reason to believe that it is founded on solid logical evidence. Back to Contents Even the most reasonable opinions can be wrong, however, and even “scientific” bandwagon appeals should always be subjected to scrutiny. Scientists agree that the sun revolves around the earth. More and more doctors are recommending that their patients smoke cigarettes.
  47. 47. Part 2: Bandwagon The bandwagon technique is sometimes used in defense of claims that are true. However, regardless of the truth of the claims, any argument that relies on the bandwagon effect is based on flawed logic. Truth should be conveyed using logical arguments, not merely by appeals to an idea’s popularity. Back to Contents For example, take the following statement: Most people believe that gravity exists; therefore, gravity exists.
  48. 48. Part 2: Bandwagon Remember to look at the underlying logic of any argument, and judge that logic on its own merits, rather than depending on the opinions of the masses. If one individual can be wrong, a group of individuals can also be wrong—no matter what advertisers may tell you. Back to Contents The conclusion that gravity exists is true. Nevertheless, the logic that led to this conclusion was flawed. The law of gravity is not subject to popular approval; it exists independent of human beliefs.
  49. 49. Discussion Topics 1. What makes the bandwagon technique appealing to most people? Answers will vary. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  50. 50. Discussion Topics 2. Identify a decision you have made based primarily on popular opinion. Describe the situation, and explain whether following the majority made sense in that context. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  51. 51. Discussion Topics 3. Does the fact that numerous experts agree about a theory constitute logical grounds for accepting it? Why, or why not? Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  52. 52. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of bandwagon propaganda. Back to Contents
  53. 53. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of bandwagon propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the British public (during World War I), this poster was meant to encourage citizens to enlist in the armed services. The phrase “all answer the call” qualifies the poster as an example of bandwagon propaganda. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  54. 54. Part 3: Card Stacking Back to Contents
  55. 55. Part 3: Card Stacking Card stacking is a technique in which the propagandist gives an unfair advantage to one point of view, while presenting the counterpoint in its weakest form, if at all. While arguments that use the card stacking technique are usually honest in terms of the information shared, they may be misleading because they present information out of context or obscure important facts. Back to Contents
  56. 56. Part 3: Card Stacking This poster illustrates the card-stacking technique. It emphasizes the travel and adventure involved in serving in the Marine Corps, while de-emphasizing the considerable sacrifice required. Back to Contents
  57. 57. Part 3: Card Stacking Arguments that use card stacking can be convincing because they often rely on sound reasoning and facts. The problem is that in this technique, the opposing perspectives are unfairly downplayed; that is why card stacking is sometimes referred to as a “sin of omission.” Back to Contents Example: A pharmaceutical company wants to test a new drug and advertises its need for volunteers to participate in the study. The advertisements emphasize the benefits of participating in the study. The drug’s possible side effects are mentioned in passing in a speedy voiceover at the end of the commercial.
  58. 58. Part 3: Card Stacking Often, a propagandist will acknowledge alternative views, but in an oversimplified, dismissive way. Example: A group invites two experts on different sides of an issue to speak. The expert invited to support one side is a well-known, eloquent speaker, with extensive scientific credentials. The expert invited to represent the other side is a fringe scientist, known for a number of unconventional theories and for his loud, blustering demeanor. Back to Contents
  59. 59. Part 3: Card Stacking There is an underlying bias in this kind of debate. The person who represents one side of the argument was chosen for his strengths, while his opponent was chosen for his unappealing demeanor, his unfavorable reputation, and his unconventional views, all of which are likely to alienate some listeners. Back to Contents
  60. 60. Part 3: Card Stacking Back to Contents When signing contracts, people are often warned to read “the fine print.” That’s because often, the least attractive terms of a contract will appear in small, barely legible type. In written or visual propaganda, information that is not favorable to the propagandist’s case may be printed in a smaller typeface or in some way visually obscured .
  61. 61. Part 3: Card Stacking Back to Contents Card stacking is frequently used in “before and after” pictures that appear in advertisements for weight-loss programs. In many cases, advertisers “stack the deck” by manipulating factors in the “before and after” image that are not related to the individual’s weight loss.
  62. 62. Part 3: Card Stacking In this example, in addition to revealing the woman’s weight loss, the “after” photograph also reveals card-stacking efforts. In the second photo, the subject’s hair is styled differently, and she is wearing makeup and jewelry. Back to Contents
  63. 63. Part 3: Card Stacking When faced with possible instances of card stacking, ask yourself the following questions: If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” card stacking is probably taking place. Back to Contents Are opposing viewpoints misrepresented? Does one side seem to be presented more thoroughly than the other? Does it seem that important factors are being ignored?
  64. 64. Discussion Topics 1. Why is it often difficult to distinguish card-stacking propaganda from legitimate arguments? Card stacking is not always easy to recognize as propaganda because it often relies on facts and logic and makes mention of opposing viewpoints. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  65. 65. Discussion Topics 2. What clues can help you make the distinction between card- stacking propaganda and legitimate arguments? If opposing viewpoints are either omitted altogether or unfairly represented, you are probably looking at an example of card stacking. Back to Contents
  66. 66. Discussion Topics 3. Describe the different forms card stacking takes in print advertisements and television commercials. What kinds of products are often advertised with card-stacking propaganda? In print advertisements, details are often obscured in small print or in inconspicuous colors or fonts. In audiovisual media such as television commercials, these visual techniques of obscuring information are often present, sometimes accompanied by speedy voiceovers detailing drawbacks or disclaimers. Card stacking is often used in advertisements for vehicles, cigarettes, medications, and many other products. Back to Contents
  67. 67. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this advertisement, and discuss whether this is an example of card-stacking propaganda. Back to Contents
  68. 68. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this advertisement, and discuss whether this is an example of card-stacking propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the readers of a magazine or comic book, this advertisement is intended to promote a book and a portraiture course. This is not an example of card-stacking propaganda because the words in fine print are not meant to be obscured—they simply describe the less vital information. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  69. 69. Part 4: Glittering Generalities Back to Contents
  70. 70. Part 4: Glittering Generalities Glittering generalities is a colorful term for the appealing but vague words that often appear in propaganda. Back to Contents This World War I poster requests billions of dollars in the name of “Liberty.” Here, “liberty” is a glittering generality—a pleasant term that is used in an overly vague manner.
  71. 71. Part 4: Glittering Generalities Glittering generalities are frequently used in advertising. They’re also a prominent part of political discourse. In the modern age of ten-second sound bites, glittering generalities can make or break a product’s reputation or a candidate’s campaign. Example: I stand for freedom—for a strong nation, unrivaled in the world. My opponent believes we must compromise on these ideals, but I believe they are our birthright. Back to Contents
  72. 72. Part 4: Glittering Generalities The propagandist will intentionally use words that carry strong positive connotations and offer no real explanation. This 1943 Nazi poster makes the vague, unexplained claim that “Adolf Hitler is victory!” Back to Contents
  73. 73. Part 4: Glittering Generalities Popular glittering generalities include: Back to Contents freedom/liberty strength security prosperity choice equality change
  74. 74. Part 4: Glittering Generalities This poster asserts that “Americans will always fight for liberty,” without explaining what this pleasant-sounding phrase means. Back to Contents
  75. 75. Part 4: Glittering Generalities Most advertising slogans use glittering generalities. Since slogans must be short and to the point, advertisers frequently use vague, positive words. Spotting glittering generalities is simply a matter of looking for vague, positive words that are not explained. A reasonable argument, by contrast, will justify the words being used, explaining exactly what they mean in context and how they will be achieved. Back to Contents Orange Cola: made from the best ingredients on earth
  76. 76. Discussion Topics 1. Glittering generalities are a common part of political campaigns. Compose a list of glittering generalities you have heard in campaign slogans, in debates, or in the news media. Answers will vary. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  77. 77. Discussion Topics 2. Like politicians and journalists, advertisers often use glittering generalities to promote their products. Create a list of glittering generalities that are commonly used in advertising. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  78. 78. Discussion Topics 3. Under what conditions are words like “freedom” and “choice” not glittering generalities? Use each word in a sentence that does not qualify as a glittering generality. Words like “freedom” and “choice” often qualify as glittering generalities when they are left to stand alone, with no explanation. However, they are not glittering generalities when they are assigned specific meanings. For example, “freedom” is not a glittering generality when used to describe emancipation from slavery (e.g., “The former slave had earned his freedom through years of hard labor”) Likewise, “choice” is not a glittering generality when it is used to refer to a specific kind of choice (e.g., “She was given the choice to rewrite the paper, but she chose, instead, to accept a failing grade”). Back to Contents
  79. 79. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether, in the context of this poster, Lincoln’s words are being used as glittering generalities. If so, which words stand out as glittering generalities? If not, why not? Back to Contents
  80. 80. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether, in the context of this poster, Lincoln’s words are being used as glittering generalities. If so, which words stand out as glittering generalities? If not, why not? Back to Contents Aimed at the American public (during World War I), this poster was meant to inspire its audience to save food. Lincoln’s words are used as glittering generalities in the context of this poster. Words like “charity,” “just,” and “peace” may sound admirable, but they are given no specific definition within this passage. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  81. 81. Part 5: False Dilemma Back to Contents
  82. 82. Part 5: False Dilemma The false dilemma is a popular technique used in propaganda. This fallacy is known by many names, including “black-and-white thinking,” “false dichotomy,” and “false choice.” Most commonly, it consists of reducing a complex argument to a small number of alternatives and concluding that only one option is appropriate. Back to Contents
  83. 83. Part 5: False Dilemma In this kind of propaganda: Back to Contents One product always works, and the other never works. One group intends to save the country, and the other is trying to ruin it.
  84. 84. Part 5: False Dilemma The view or product that the propagandist is promoting is depicted positively, and all competition or opposing views are depicted in a negative light. In reality, however, there are usually many possibilities that go unmentioned. Back to Contents
  85. 85. Part 5: False Dilemma The false-dilemma technique is used most often in political and ethical discourse. One option is described as being good, and the other is made to seem bad, or even evil. The propagandist oversimplifies the situation and denies the existence of any neutral ground. Back to Contents You are either an ally or an enemy.
  86. 86. Part 5: False Dilemma The message of this poster from World War II is that if you don’t join a car-sharing club, you are directly supporting Hitler. Back to Contents
  87. 87. Part 5: False Dilemma Advertising often makes use of the false-dilemma technique as well. Back to Contents If you aren’t using White Bright Detergent, your clothes are not clean. You can subscribe to Propaganda Weekly , or you can stay uninformed.
  88. 88. Part 5: False Dilemma The false dilemma reduces all choices to a simple matter of “either/or.” Back to Contents Either you conserve gasoline, or you’re helping Hitler. Either you agree with us, or you are a fool. Either you purchase a security system, or you do not love your family. Either you use a specific brand of detergent, or you wear filthy clothes.
  89. 89. Part 5: False Dilemma In the real world, of course, most issues are not so simple. There is a spectrum of gray between black and white, and life often requires us to make difficult decisions in a world of infinite possibilities. Back to Contents
  90. 90. Discussion Topics 1. List some examples of false-dilemma arguments you have heard in real life. Answers will vary. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  91. 91. Discussion Topics 2. What are some of the clues that can help you distinguish a false dilemma from a legitimate presentation of facts? In a false-dilemma argument, a limited number of possibilities are presented, one of which is depicted in a far more favorable light than the others. In a legitimate presentation of facts, by contrast, a wider variety of options will be introduced, and each will be evaluated in an unbiased manner. Back to Contents
  92. 92. Discussion Topics 3. Following the examples provided in this section, create a false- dilemma argument to fit each of the following scenarios. (Hint: False dilemmas often take the form of “either/or” assertions.) • encourage recycling • endorse a political candidate • support a tax increase Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  93. 93. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of false-dilemma propaganda. Back to Contents
  94. 94. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of false-dilemma propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the American public (during World War I), this poster was meant to encourage people to buy Liberty Bonds. This is an example of a false dilemma because it suggests that if people fail to buy bonds, there will be no liberty left on earth. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  95. 95. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils Back to Contents
  96. 96. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils This technique is often used when the propagandist is trying to convince people to adopt a perspective they will be hesitant to accept. While most false dilemmas offer a “good” and a “bad” alternative, the lesser of two evils technique is a specific type of false dilemma that offers two “bad” alternatives. Back to Contents
  97. 97. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils In order to make the choice more appealing, an even worse alternative is presented as the only other option. It is argued that an imperfect option is, at any rate, better than the horrendous alternative. Back to Contents You don’t want to drive a fuel-efficient automobile? Try living under a terrorist regime!
  98. 98. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils In nations like the United States, which has a de facto two-party political system, the lesser-of-two-evils argument is often used as a selling point for politicians. A candidate who is unpopular within his or her party may suddenly appear more attractive when pitted against a member of the opposing party. Back to Contents Senator Williams may have lied under oath, but at least he never embezzled money from his campaign, as his opponent did.
  99. 99. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils In presidential elections, this tactic is frequently used to lure people away from third-party candidates; Democrats and Republicans point out that voting for the lesser of two evils is better than simply “wasting” a vote on someone who will never win. Back to Contents The message was that a vote for the Green Party (Nader) would be the equivalent of a vote for the Republican (Bush)—whom, it was presumed, Green Party voters would not wish to support at all. In the 2000 United States presidential election, for example, the Democratic Party tried to use this technique with their “Nader = Bush” bumper sticker.
  100. 100. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils The lesser of two evils technique is most effective when one of the possible choices is truly awful, as in this poster, which pits frugality against fascism. Back to Contents
  101. 101. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils Often, adopting a lesser-of-two-evils stance discourages innovative thinking by needlessly reducing the possible options. While there are many flaws in the lesser-of-two-evils approach, the main problem is that, like the false dilemma, it usually ignores many alternative possibilities. Back to Contents
  102. 102. Part 6: The Lesser of Two Evils When you’re faced with such a choice, consider each option on its own merits, and keep in mind that there are probably other, undisclosed alternatives. It is always best to be suspicious of any message that purports to show you the only two options available. Back to Contents
  103. 103. Discussion Topics 1. How is the lesser-of-two-evils technique similar to the false- dilemma approach? What sets these techniques apart from one another? Like the lesser-of-two-evils approach, the false dilemma reduces a complex situation to a limited number of possibilities. Unlike the former technique, however, propaganda that uses the lesser-of-two-evils tactic offers two unpleasant alternatives. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  104. 104. Discussion Topics 2. What are the keys to identifying the lesser-of-two-evils fallacy? In the lesser-of-two-evils fallacy, a limited number of possibilities are presented (usually two). This propaganda technique also encourages you to make a decision based on the fear of one outcome, rather than the merits of the other. Back to Contents
  105. 105. Discussion Topics 3. The lesser-of-two-evils fallacy is often used to defend the status quo, as exemplified in the familiar idiom, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” Generate a list of real-life scenarios in which this technique of propaganda is used to preserve the status quo. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  106. 106. Discussion Topics 4. Create a caption to go with this image that would make the poster an example of lesser-of-two-evils propaganda. Back to Contents
  107. 107. Discussion Topics 4. Create a caption to go with this image that would make the poster an example of lesser-of-two-evils propaganda. Back to Contents <ul><ul><li>Examples: 1) You may not want to spend your summer building a fallout shelter, but it’s better than dying of radiation poisoning. 2) Maybe you won’t be able to afford a vacation this year, but that’s a small price to pay for protecting your family against nuclear attacks. 3) It may not be pretty, but it’s better than living in a nuclear wasteland. </li></ul></ul>(Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  108. 108. Part 7: Name-Calling Back to Contents
  109. 109. Part 7: Name-Calling <ul><ul><li>Consider the words above, each of which is used as a derogatory term for a certain type of person. Do any of the words evoke an emotional response? </li></ul></ul>Back to Contents PIG! EGGHEAD! REDNECK!
  110. 110. Part 7: Name-Calling Name-calling is the use of negative words to disparage an enemy or an opposing view. Insulting words are used in place of logical arguments, appealing to emotions, rather than reason. In many ways, name-calling is the opposite of the glittering generalities technique, which uses positive words in a similar way. Back to Contents
  111. 111. Part 7: Name-Calling Using the name-calling technique, a propagandist will attack the opposition on a personal level, often appealing to the audience’s preconceptions and prejudices rather than appealing to logic. Back to Contents John is just your average right-wing gun nut. Susan is one of the looniest commies on the left.
  112. 112. Part 7: Name-Calling Direct name-calling is usually used if the target audience is already leaning in favor of the propagandist. For example, if a politician wanted to further discredit an already unpopular opponent, he or she might say: Back to Contents Clearly, my opponent’s bleeding-heart liberalism will not help to solve the current crisis.
  113. 113. Part 7: Name-Calling Rather than directly calling the opponent a derogatory name, the propagandist may, instead, make the same negative suggestions in a more jovial, less confrontational manner. In indirect name-calling, the propagandist takes a subtler approach, perhaps making sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek remarks about an opponent. Back to Contents
  114. 114. Part 7: Name-Calling An example of indirect name-calling: Back to Contents In this instance, rather than openly attacking his or her opponent, the propagandist couches critical remarks with polite language and a claim of “respect.” Nevertheless, calling the man a “confirmed bachelor” to invalidate his views on marriage is an example of a subtle approach to name-calling. Although we all have a great deal of respect for Senator Parker, I’m not certain we need to accept his views on marriage without careful scrutiny. After all, he is a confirmed bachelor.
  115. 115. Part 7: Name-Calling Name-calling is a popular technique in politics; in fact, two of the most famous political symbols in the United States had their origins in name-calling cartoons. Jackson decided to embrace this comment, which was intended as an insult, and view the donkey as a symbol of determination. In the 1828 presidential campaign, opponents of the Democratic-Republican Party candidate, Andrew Jackson, called him a “jackass.” Back to Contents
  116. 116. Part 7: Name-Calling From there, the strong-willed jackass eventually came to be associated with the Democratic Party in general, especially after political cartoonist Thomas Nast used the image in newspaper cartoons in the late nineteenth century. Back to Contents
  117. 117. Part 7: Name-Calling Similarly, Nast popularized the symbol of the Republican elephant. In a cartoon that appeared in Harper’s Weekly, in 1874, Nast drew a donkey (representing the Democratic Party) clothed in a lion’s skin, scaring away all the animals in the jungle. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” Back to Contents
  118. 118. Part 7: Name-Calling While Nast’s intention was probably to suggest that Republicans were slow, plodding, and not open to innovation or change, the Republican Party quickly adopted the elephant as a symbol of strength and dignity. Back to Contents
  119. 119. Part 7: Name-Calling It is always best to disregard insulting language and evaluate an individual or an argument on the basis of facts. Any time a label is attached to a person in order to discredit that person’s argument, name-calling is being employed. Back to Contents
  120. 120. Discussion Topics 1. What are some examples of name-calling you have seen in advertising, politics, or popular culture? Answers will vary. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  121. 121. Discussion Topics Answers will vary. Back to Contents 2. In indirect name-calling, words that are not necessarily negative, in and of themselves, are used to subtly disparage an opponent. List some examples of words that can be used in this way, and describe a possible context in which they would be considered name-calling.
  122. 122. Discussion Topics 3. What makes name-calling a logical fallacy? Name-calling is a logical fallacy because it is used to attack not the argument, but the individual delivering it. Back to Contents
  123. 123. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of name-calling propaganda. Note: President Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “muckrakers” to describe journalists and politicians who were known for exposing social injustices. Back to Contents
  124. 124. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of name-calling propaganda. Note: President Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “muckrakers” to describe journalists and politicians who were known for exposing social injustices. Back to Contents Aimed at the American public, this editorial cartoon is intended to poke fun at Teddy Roosevelt and the “muckraking” senators with whom he sometimes clashed. By referring to these senators as a “muck heap,” the cartoonist plays on the term “muckrakers.” This is a dismissive treatment of the senators, but the degree to which this qualifies as an instance of name-calling propaganda is open to debate.
  125. 125. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy Back to Contents
  126. 126. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy For everything from unemployment to natural disasters, identifying a supposed source of the problem can help the propagandist achieve his or her agenda. Propagandists often oversimplify complex problems by pointing out a single cause or a single enemy who can be blamed. Back to Contents
  127. 127. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy People tend to like clear-cut explanations, and politicians take advantage of this fact by pointing to a single enemy and placing all the blame at his or her feet. Problems rarely stem from a single cause, but propagandists often benefit from oversimplifying situations. Back to Contents
  128. 128. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy This World War II poster identifies “the enemy” of the United States, giving a human face to the threat of facism. Back to Contents
  129. 129. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy Blaming a scapegoat alleviates the guilt of those who are truly at fault, while providing a convenient explanation for the problem at hand. When the enemy in question is blamed for problems that are actually someone else’s fault, this is a particular category of pinpointing the enemy known as scapegoating . Back to Contents
  130. 130. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy This 1854 painting by William Holman Hunt, “The Scapegoat,” illustrates the origins of the term—the ancient Hebrew tradition of driving a goat into the wilderness on Yom Kippur to carry away the people’s sins. Back to Contents
  131. 131. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy People who are easy to recognize by appearance or culture make perfect scapegoats; if they are easy to identify, they are easy to blame. Pinpointing the enemy works particularly well when the targeted group is already thought of as “the other.” An example of this phenomenon is the Nazi portrayal of the Jewish people as the source of economic problems in Germany. Back to Contents
  132. 132. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy It’s important to remember that cruel dictators are not the only propagandists who make use of this technique. For example, social and environmental activists often use the same technique to garner support for their causes. Back to Contents The big oil companies have stifled all talk of alternative energy sources for decades.
  133. 133. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy Listening to the full story, in all its detail, can be overwhelming, leading people to become apathetic. Effective propaganda, therefore, will often define a complicated issue as having a single cause—and, often, a single enemy. Example: Uncontrolled fishing by greedy commercial fishers has reduced the numbers of some fish to one-tenth of their original population. Back to Contents
  134. 134. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy When presented in their entirety, our obstacles may seem insurmountable. Often, all we really want to know is, “Who’s to blame?” Of course, the propagandist is only too willing to provide an answer to this question. Back to Contents McDougal’s Burgers are responsible for the obesity epidemic in America.
  135. 135. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy Frequently, a single company will also be targeted, while others that may have similar or even worse practices go untouched. Companies such as Wal-Mart and Starbucks have served as scapegoats for many economic problems over the years. Back to Contents Megamart is responsible for the destruction of small businesses throughout the country.
  136. 136. Part 8: Pinpointing the Enemy The technique of pinpointing an enemy can make overwhelming problems seem quite simple and easy to solve. Most issues that confront us are complex, from the environment to the economy to international relations. Nevertheless, people are often eager to accept a simple answer to a complicated question. Back to Contents Remember that the propagandist’s message is always based on faulty logic. Arguments that pinpoint a single enemy are often faulty because “the enemy” they identify is really only part of the problem.
  137. 137. Discussion Topics 1. How is pinpointing the enemy similar to name-calling? How are the two techniques different? Both techniques are frequently used to attack an individual. However, pinpointing the enemy is often used to assign blame, while name-calling is usually used to discredit an opponent. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  138. 138. Discussion Topics 2. Identify an instance of pinpointing the enemy that you have witnessed in the media. What companies, groups, or individuals have been blamed for many of the world’s problems? Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  139. 139. Discussion Topics 3. How is pinpointing the enemy related to “scapegoating,” and the ancient Hebrew practice of driving a goat into the wilderness to take away the people’s sins? Scapegoating is a particular kind of pinpointing, in which the scapegoat is blamed for the propagandist’s own failings. As in the Hebrew tradition, the scapegoat is forced to bear the moral failures of others. Back to Contents
  140. 140. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of pinpointing the enemy. Note: The term “Hun” was used to refer to the Germans during World War I. Back to Contents
  141. 141. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of pinpointing the enemy. Note: The term “Hun” was used to refer to the Germans during World War I. Back to Contents Aimed at an American audience during World War I, this cartoon is meant to disparage the German government and the practice of producing and drinking alcohol. This can be considered an example of name-calling propaganda because of the use of the term “Hun” and because it depicts the German public as wasteful, poor, alcohol-loving criminals, rather than arguing against the nation’s government.
  142. 142. Part 9: Plain Folk Back to Contents
  143. 143. Back to Contents Part 9: Plain Folk In this approach, the propagandist makes him or herself appear more like an “insider” in order to gain the public’s confidence. People tend to distrust those they perceive as outsiders, and the plain-folk technique takes advantage of this instinct.
  144. 144. Back to Contents Part 9: Plain Folk In this poster from George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign, the senator’s face blends in among the smiles of “plain folk” of various ages, ethnicities, and professions.
  145. 145. Back to Contents Part 9: Plain Folk The plain-folk technique can perhaps be seen most strikingly in political candidates. Politicians often compete to be seen as more “normal” than their opponents. Politicians often attempt to appear more like the average citizen by manipulating the way they dress or the way they speak.
  146. 146. Back to Contents Part 9: Plain Folk Common techniques include: using colloquial phrases or dialects expressing emotion or sentimentality using words such as “home,” “children,” or “dinner table” that evoke the idea of the average family taking on an appearance of shyness, or a seeming reluctance to take the spotlight or a position of leadership
  147. 147. Back to Contents Part 9: Plain Folk Examples from real life: 1. Former President Bill Clinton ate at McDonald’s, played the saxophone on a late-night talk show, and admitted he enjoyed “trashy spy novels.” 2. Former President Ronald Reagan was often photographed chopping wood. 3. Former President James Carter insisted on being sworn into office as “Jimmy.” Using the same logic, candidates will often attack the credibility of their opponents by labeling them “Washington insiders” or “elitists.”
  148. 148. Discussion Topics 1. What are some examples of plain-folk propaganda that you have seen in advertising? What product lines have used this technique, and how? Answers will vary. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  149. 149. Discussion Topics 2. What kinds of advertisements and/or political campaigns would not benefit from using the plain-folk approach? Under what circumstances would this technique be counterproductive? Products or politicians who appeal to an elite audience would not benefit from using the plain-folks technique. Likewise, an individual or product that could not make a realistic claim to being ordinary and common should not use this approach. Back to Contents
  150. 150. Discussion Topics 3. Read the following quote. Then, describe one situation in which this quote would constitute plain-folk propaganda and another scenario in which it would not. Back to Contents This quote would constitute plain-folk propaganda if delivered by a public figure, such as a politician, in an attempt at self-promotion. However, if spoken by a grandfather to his grandchildren, for example, this would not be an instance of propaganda. I grew up on a farm in rural Mississippi, so I know the meaning of struggle. I learned the value of hard work and determination at an early age, and it’s a lesson I won’t soon forget.
  151. 151. Discussion Topics 4. Imagine that you are running for office, and create a speech in which you promote yourself using plain-folk propaganda. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  152. 152. Part 10: Testimonials Back to Contents
  153. 153. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Testimonials are a form of propaganda that is familiar to nearly everyone. Almost everything that is advertised comes with some sort of testimonial, from music to hair gel to politicians. Testimonials take advantage of the fact that there are certain people we tend to trust—even if that trust is based on mere recognition, rather than true credibility. An Olympic gold medalist claims that she eats Golden Flakes every morning.
  154. 154. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Most testimonials—both in politics and in advertising—are made by famous people. You may read that an actor you admire supports a certain political candidate. You may hear that a singer you like uses a certain cell phone. You may watch a commercial in which a popular athlete advises you to buy a certain pair of shoes. Every day, we are flooded with endorsements from famous people, encouraging us to buy, use, and vote for the same things they do.
  155. 155. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Movie stars and models are often paid to give testimonials in which they attribute their beauty or success to a given product.
  156. 156. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials The propagandist hopes to make you commit a serious error of judgment, placing trust in a person who has not proved his or her credibility and who has probably been paid for the endorsement. Propagandists use testimonials because they expect that your feelings toward the famous person will transfer to the product or cause he or she is endorsing.
  157. 157. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Likewise, a basketball player might be able to dunk the ball with ease, but that doesn’t mean he has extraordinary knowledge about batteries—the brand he uses has nothing to do with his success. For instance, a person may love Sean Penn’s movies and even agree with some of his political views, but that does not qualify him to pick out the ideal presidential candidate.
  158. 158. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials In this World War II poster, the familiar face of heavyweight champion boxer Joe Louis encourages Americans to contribute to the war effort.
  159. 159. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Then, determine whether these traits qualify the individual to advise people on the subject at hand. To avoid being deceived in by this form of manipulation, it is best to first examine why the celebrity in question is admired. Is it because of his or her physical appearance? acting ability? musical talent? athletic skill?
  160. 160. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials In this commercial, the advertisers attempted to capitalize on the audience’s mental association between the actor and the medical profession. Example: A famous 1980s television commercial featured an actor who played a doctor on a long-running television show. In the commercial, wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope, he would say to the audience, “I’m not really a doctor, but I play one on TV.” He would then extol the benefits of a certain over-the-counter medication.
  161. 161. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials In ordinary life, there are many situations in which we can place some level of trust in testimonials. Most likely, neither of these people has anything to gain by misleading you. You should be able to trust your accountant to give you good advice about your taxes. Likewise, it should be safe to believe your neighbor’s testimony about the camera she bought last year.
  162. 162. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Remember, in order to constitute propaganda, a testimonial must have the following traits: persuasive function sizeable target audience representation of a specific group’s agenda use of faulty reasoning and/or emotional appeals
  163. 163. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials The key to recognizing testimonial-based propaganda is to investigate the possible ulterior motives of the person giving the testimonial. As a rule, the celebrity or “expert” witness will be compensated for his or her testimony. While you may be able to trust your own doctor’s testimonial, there may be doctors who recommend certain medications simply because they are paid by the pharmaceutical company.
  164. 164. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials In fact, if an actual medical doctor appears in a television or print ad or in a late-night “infomercial,” you can be certain that he or she is receiving some form of compensation for the testimonial.
  165. 165. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Many people are aware of the dishonesty of this approach and are leery of paid celebrity or “expert” endorsements. As a result, many advertisers and political campaign managers take a different approach—the “plain-folk testimonial.” In this type of endorsement, the testimony comes not from a famous actor, athlete, or scientist, who is obviously being compensated, but from an average-looking person, who may claim to be a student, homemaker, or taxi driver.
  166. 166. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Example #1: A commercial for a particular brand of mattresses features not only its famous spokesperson, but also a number of “real people” who claim to sleep better since purchasing this product. Example #2: The promoters of a popular over-the-counter weight loss product feature “before and after” photographs of ordinary people, in addition to a few famous spokespeople who have successfully lost weight using this product.
  167. 167. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials Testimonial propaganda is also found frequently in politics. Doctors, sports figures, people in the entertainment business, and other famous people are frequently quoted as supporting a wide range of medications, products, and services, some of which are good for you and some of which are not. Politicians often expect voters to join them in supporting legislation that the public knows very little about. Politicians line up to support a bill and ask us to take their word for it, rather than having us investigate the issue ourselves.
  168. 168. Back to Contents Part 10: Testimonials However, testimonials are dangerous only when you are being asked to trust someone who has a vested interest in a certain outcome, or someone who has no expertise in the subject at hand. We are surrounded by “experts,” all with their own opinions and recommendations.
  169. 169. Discussion Topics 1. What qualifies a person to give a trustworthy, legitimate testimonial? A person with some degree of true expertise who is unbiased and uncompensated may be considered a trustworthy source for a testimonial. Back to Contents Discussion Topics
  170. 170. Discussion Topics 2. What are some of the warning signs that cast suspicion on a testimonial? Scripted, paid testimonials delivered by celebrities, experts, or even “plain folk” should be viewed with suspicion. Back to Contents
  171. 171. Discussion Topics 3. Imagine that you are an advertiser, attempting to market a product. How would you go about using the testimonial technique in a way that appears trustworthy? Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  172. 172. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of testimonial-based propaganda. Back to Contents
  173. 173. Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of testimonial-based propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the American public (during World War II), this poster uses President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech as a testimonial encouraging Americans to save food. Americans were expected to trust Roosevelt enough to believe his assertion that “Hunger does not breed reform…” and save food, based on his suggestion.
  174. 174. Part 11: Transfer Back to Contents
  175. 175. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer In this method, the propagandist encourages the transfer of feelings and associations from one idea, symbol, or person to another. Also known as “association” and “false connection,” transfer is closely related to the testimonial technique.
  176. 176. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer Example: A candidate for office addresses allegations of wrongdoing in front of a house of worship while wearing a religious symbol on his lapel pin. Example: An automobile manufacturer that wants to be known as environmentally friendly films its car being driven through a pristine forest. Friendly forest animals eagerly look on—and do not run away—as the car passes.
  177. 177. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer Some symbols are fairly straightforward. The Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant represent the ideologies of their respective parties. A dove signals peace. The symbol of the skull and crossbones warns the viewer of danger or calls to mind the violent pillaging of a pirate raid.
  178. 178. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer Example: The American flag is meant to evoke positive feelings and ideas; it stands for freedom, courage, and equality. However, in a nation at war with the United States, citizens might attach resentment to the stars and stripes. Some symbols will mean one thing to one person and quite the opposite to another person. The propagandist’s challenge is to use symbols that are appropriate to his or her audience.
  179. 179. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer In this image, directed at the American public, President Franklin Roosevelt attempts to transfer the trust and respect associated with the American flag to himself and his administration.
  180. 180. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer In much of the world, this symbol of prosperity has become a symbol of evil. The history of the swastika illustrates just how controversial and ambiguous a symbol can be. Although it is best known in the West as the symbol of Hitler’s Nazi party, the swastika originated in the region of modern-day India as a symbol of well-being and good fortune.
  181. 181. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer In this image, the once-benign swastika represents evil itself. The feelings of fear and anger associated with the Nazi Party are evoked by this simple symbol.
  182. 182. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer So far, we have discussed the American flag and the swastika. However, there are many different kinds of symbols. For example, a symbol often seen in advertising is the white lab coat, commonly associated with knowledge and science.
  183. 183. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer Advertisers or public relations directors who are trying to gain your trust may have their spokesperson wear a white lab coat. The spokesperson need not be a scientist, but the positive associations we have with science will likely transfer and bolster our opinion of the product.
  184. 184. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer Transfer may also be used in ways that are more obvious. The image of a Ku Klux Klan member in a white, peak-hooded robe, blazing torch in hand, has come to instill a sense of fear and disgust in most Americans. Example: A campaign trying to undermine a particular politician might run a negative ad campaign in which images of KKK gatherings are superimposed over images of one of his speeches.
  185. 185. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer This is another obvious use of the transfer technique. In this World War II poster, the symbols for Japan (left) and Germany (right) appear on clawed hands, grasping at a mother and child. The fear and outrage inspired by these hands is meant to transfer to a sense of outrage against these enemy nations.
  186. 186. Back to Contents Part 11: Transfer Likewise, it is appropriate for a state’s district attorney to hold a press conference on the steps of the state courthouse. There is nothing wrong, of course, with the President of the United States delivering a speech while sitting in the Oval Office, in front of an American flag. The presence of symbols becomes propaganda only when the symbols are intended to send an unspoken message that appeals to the emotions.
  187. 187. Back to Contents Discussion Topics Discussion Topics 1. What is a symbol that most people in your community would view as positive, and what specific associations would this symbol transfer? Answers will vary.
  188. 188. Back to Contents Discussion Topics 2. What is a symbol that would evoke a negative response from your community? What negative associations are attached to this symbol? Answers will vary.
  189. 189. Back to Contents Discussion Topics 3. Describe an instance of transfer that you have witnessed in advertising, politics, or some other public arena, and explain to the class why this qualifies as transfer. Answers will vary.
  190. 190. Back to Contents Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of transfer propaganda.
  191. 191. Back to Contents Discussion Topics 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of transfer propaganda. Aimed at the American public (during World War I), this poster is intended to encourage Americans to enlist in the Army. Depicting the familiar figure of “Uncle Sam,” clad in patriotic garb, the poster is meant to transfer the esteem and loyalty inspired by this figure to the Army’s cause.
  192. 192. Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda Back to Contents
  193. 193. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda For each of the slides that follow, identify which propaganda technique is represented by the image and description.
  194. 194. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda relies on the influence of a spokesperson, usually one who is either a celebrity, a supposed expert, or an “Average Joe” Testimonial
  195. 195. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda gives the audience only two options and encourages people to make a decision based on the fear of one outcome, rather than the merits of the other. Lesser of Two Evils “ This way? Or This way? The new year—crossroads of the future”
  196. 196. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda appeals to peer pressure, recommending a given course of action simply because “everyone is doing it” Bandwagon “ Greater Germany [Vote] Yes! On April 10”
  197. 197. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda attempts to create a mental and emotional association between objects or ideas using images, words, or symbols Transfer
  198. 198. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda attempts to rally the audience against a single, distinct enemy who embodies all the world’s problems Pinpointing the Enemy
  199. 199. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda declares an idea as fact, without explaining or defending it Assertion
  200. 200. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda relies on vague, positive words to generate enthusiasm Glittering Generalities
  201. 201. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda encourages an audience to identify an individual or cause with common people and ordinary tasks Plain Folks
  202. 202. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda creates a false sense that there are only two possibilities False Dilemma “ Victory or Bolshevism”
  203. 203. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda uses strong language to excite anger and vilify an individual or group of people Name-Calling
  204. 204. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda a message that presents only one side of the situation or unfairly downplays other possibilities Card-Stacking “ The nation’s dreams have come true!”
  205. 205. Back to Contents Conclusion: Identifying Propaganda In the preceding slides, we’ve looked at eleven of the most popular techniques of propaganda, with examples that ranged from advertising slogans to wartime recruitment posters. Now that you are able to identify these eleven approaches to propaganda, you should be able to recognize uses of these techniques in many of the messages that are presented to you on a daily basis. As you read the newspaper, drive by a billboard, or surf the Internet, remember to think critically about who is producing the messages you’re exposed to, what their motives may be, and what logic their messages employ.
  206. 206. Repeat Exercises Back to Contents The following exercises are repeated from the previous sections
  207. 207. Repeat Exercises What is Propaganda? 1. What are some potential sources of propaganda in the modern world? Sources include commercials, billboards, print ads (catalogues, magazines, direct mail, etc.), and political campaigns, among many others. Back to Contents
  208. 208. Repeat Exercises 2. In order to qualify as propaganda, a message must meet the following criteria: Back to Contents Describe an example of a message that would meet all but one of the above criteria. Explain your answer. persuasive function sizeable target audience representation of a specific group’s agenda use of faulty reasoning and/or emotional appeals
  209. 209. Repeat Exercises Back to Contents Describe an example of a message that would meet all but one of the above criteria. Explain your answer. (Question #2 continued) <ul><ul><li>Example: A high school assembly called to discuss the dangers of drunk driving may meet the following criteria: 1) persuasive function (persuading students not to drive drunk), 2) sizeable target audience (the entire high school), 3) representation of a specific group’s agenda (the school board’s desire to protect the school’s image). Nevertheless, the argument against drunk driving may be based on sound reasoning and facts, rather than emotional appeals and logical fallacies. </li></ul></ul>
  210. 210. Repeat Exercises 3. Identify an example of propaganda you have recently been exposed to, and explain to the class why this message constitutes propaganda. Answer will vary. Back to Contents
  211. 211. Repeat Exercises 1. What makes a statement an example of “assertion” propaganda? In addition to meeting all the criteria of propaganda, a statement must present a debatable idea as a fact without explaining or justifying the claim in order to constitute assertion propaganda. Back to Contents Part #1: Assertion
  212. 212. Repeat Exercises 2. Describe an example of an assertion you have seen in politics or advertising. Do you think that this claim has affected your point of view? Explain your reaction. Answer will vary. Back to Contents
  213. 213. Repeat Exercises 3. Identify which of the following assertions qualify as propaganda, and explain your answer. Modify those that are not propaganda to make them fit the four criteria. Back to Contents A. Parent to child: “If you eat your vegetables, you’ll grow up to be big and strong.” Must be modified to target a larger audience.
  214. 214. Repeat Exercises Back to Contents (Discussion Topic #3 continued) B. Billboard: “Mario’s Pizza, Next Exit.” This is merely a statement of fact. Must be modified to make an unjustified claim about the restaurant (e.g., “Mario’s Pizza: The Best Pizza in the World”). C. Magazine ad for “age-defying” makeup: “True Beauty is Ageless.” Propaganda. This is an unjustified assertion, made to a large audience, that appeals to the viewers’ feelings in order to advance the advertiser’s agenda.
  215. 215. Repeat Exercises Back to Contents (Discussion Topic #3 continued) D. Commercial: “According to a study by the National Heart Association, eating this cereal, as part of a balanced breakfast, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” This is merely a statement of facts, and must be modified to make an unjustified claim about the cereal (e.g., “eating this cereal will reduce your risk of heart disease”). E. Political commentator: “Richard Williams obviously doesn’t have the experience it takes to be President of the United States.” Propaganda—assuming this statement is not explained with a logical argument.
  216. 216. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of assertion propaganda. Back to Contents
  217. 217. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of assertion propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at an American audience (during World War II), this poster was intended to dissuade citizens from discussing military affairs. This slogan can be considered an example of assertion propaganda; however, the qualifier “might” opens this question to debate. If students emphasize the use of “might” in the poster, they can argue that this is a reasonable claim. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  218. 218. Repeat Exercises 1. What makes the bandwagon technique appealing to most people? Answers will vary. Back to Contents Part #2: Bandwagon
  219. 219. Repeat Exercises 2. Identify a decision you have made based primarily on popular opinion. Describe the situation, and explain whether following the majority made sense in that context. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  220. 220. Repeat Exercises 3. Does the fact that numerous experts agree about a theory constitute logical grounds for accepting it? Why, or why not? Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  221. 221. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of bandwagon propaganda. Back to Contents
  222. 222. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of bandwagon propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the British public (during World War I), this poster was meant to encourage citizens to enlist in the armed services. The phrase “all answer the call” qualifies the poster as an example of bandwagon propaganda. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  223. 223. Repeat Exercises 1. Why is it often difficult to distinguish card-stacking propaganda from legitimate arguments? Card stacking is not always easy to recognize as propaganda because it often relies on facts and logic and makes mention of opposing viewpoints. Back to Contents Part #3: Card Stacking
  224. 224. Repeat Exercises 2. What clues can help you make the distinction between card- stacking propaganda and legitimate arguments? If opposing viewpoints are either omitted altogether or unfairly represented, you are probably looking at an example of card stacking. Back to Contents
  225. 225. Repeat Exercises 3. Describe the different forms card stacking takes in print advertisements and television commercials. What kinds of products are often advertised with card-stacking propaganda? In print advertisements, details are often obscured in small print or in inconspicuous colors or fonts. In audiovisual media such as television commercials, these visual techniques of obscuring information are often present, sometimes accompanied by speedy voiceovers detailing drawbacks or disclaimers. Card stacking is often used in advertisements for vehicles, cigarettes, medications, and many other products. Back to Contents
  226. 226. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this advertisement, and discuss whether this is an example of card-stacking propaganda. Back to Contents
  227. 227. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this advertisement, and discuss whether this is an example of card-stacking propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the readers of a magazine or comic book, this advertisement is intended to promote a book and a portraiture course. This is not an example of card-stacking propaganda because the words in fine print are not meant to be obscured—they simply describe the less vital information. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  228. 228. Repeat Exercises 1. Glittering generalities are a common part of political campaigns. Compose a list of glittering generalities you have heard in campaign slogans, in debates, or in the news media. Answers will vary. Back to Contents Part #4: Glittering Generalities
  229. 229. Repeat Exercises 2. Like politicians and journalists, advertisers often use glittering generalities to promote their products. Create a list of glittering generalities that are commonly used in advertising. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  230. 230. Repeat Exercises 3. Under what conditions are words like “freedom” and “choice” not glittering generalities? Use each word in a sentence that does not qualify as a glittering generality. Words like “freedom” and “choice” often qualify as glittering generalities when they are left to stand alone, with no explanation. However, they are not glittering generalities when they are assigned specific meanings. For example, “freedom” is not a glittering generality when used to describe emancipation from slavery (e.g., “The former slave had earned his freedom through years of hard labor”) Likewise, “choice” is not a glittering generality when it is used to refer to a specific kind of choice (e.g., “She was given the choice to rewrite the paper, but she chose, instead, to accept a failing grade”). Back to Contents
  231. 231. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether, in the context of this poster, Lincoln’s words are being used as glittering generalities. If so, which words stand out as glittering generalities? If not, why not? Back to Contents
  232. 232. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether, in the context of this poster, Lincoln’s words are being used as glittering generalities. If so, which words stand out as glittering generalities? If not, why not? Back to Contents Aimed at the American public (during World War I), this poster was meant to inspire its audience to save food. Lincoln’s words are used as glittering generalities in the context of this poster. Words like “charity,” “just,” and “peace” may sound admirable, but they are given no specific definition within this passage. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  233. 233. Repeat Exercises 1. List some examples of false-dilemma arguments you have heard in real life. Answers will vary. Back to Contents Part #5: False Dilemma
  234. 234. Repeat Exercises 2. What are some of the clues that can help you distinguish a false dilemma from a legitimate presentation of facts? In a false-dilemma argument, a limited number of possibilities are presented, one of which is depicted in a far more favorable light than the others. In a legitimate presentation of facts, by contrast, a wider variety of options will be introduced, and each will be evaluated in an unbiased manner. Back to Contents
  235. 235. Repeat Exercises 3. Following the examples provided in this section, create a false- dilemma argument to fit each of the following scenarios. (Hint: False dilemmas often take the form of “either/or” assertions.) • encourage recycling • endorse a political candidate • support a tax increase Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  236. 236. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of false-dilemma propaganda. Back to Contents
  237. 237. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of false-dilemma propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the American public (during World War I), this poster was meant to encourage people to buy Liberty Bonds. This is an example of a false dilemma because it suggests that if people fail to buy bonds, there will be no liberty left on earth. (Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  238. 238. Repeat Exercises 1. How is the lesser-of-two-evils technique similar to the false- dilemma approach? What sets these techniques apart from one another? Like the lesser-of-two-evils approach, the false dilemma reduces a complex situation to a limited number of possibilities. Unlike the former technique, however, propaganda that uses the lesser-of-two-evils tactic offers two unpleasant alternatives. Back to Contents Part #6: The Lesser of Two Evils
  239. 239. Repeat Exercises 2. What are the keys to identifying the lesser-of-two-evils fallacy? In the lesser-of-two-evils fallacy, a limited number of possibilities are presented (usually two). This propaganda technique also encourages you to make a decision based on the fear of one outcome, rather than the merits of the other. Back to Contents
  240. 240. Repeat Exercises 3. The lesser-of-two-evils fallacy is often used to defend the status quo, as exemplified in the familiar idiom, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” Generate a list of real-life scenarios in which this technique of propaganda is used to preserve the status quo. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  241. 241. Repeat Exercises 4. Create a caption to go with this image that would make the poster an example of lesser-of-two-evils propaganda. Back to Contents
  242. 242. Repeat Exercises 4. Create a caption to go with this image that would make the poster an example of lesser-of-two-evils propaganda. Back to Contents <ul><ul><li>Examples: 1) You may not want to spend your summer building a fallout shelter, but it’s better than dying of radiation poisoning. 2) Maybe you won’t be able to afford a vacation this year, but that’s a small price to pay for protecting your family against nuclear attacks. 3) It may not be pretty, but it’s better than living in a nuclear wasteland. </li></ul></ul>(Discussion Topic #4 continued)
  243. 243. Repeat Exercises 1. What are some examples of name-calling you have seen in advertising, politics, or popular culture? Answers will vary. Back to Contents Part #7: Name-Calling
  244. 244. Repeat Exercises Answers will vary. Back to Contents 2. In indirect name-calling, words that are not necessarily negative, in and of themselves, are used to subtly disparage an opponent. List some examples of words that can be used in this way, and describe a possible context in which they would be considered name-calling.
  245. 245. Repeat Exercises 3. What makes name-calling a logical fallacy? Name-calling is a logical fallacy because it is used to attack not the argument, but the individual delivering it. Back to Contents
  246. 246. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of name-calling propaganda. Note: President Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “muckrakers” to describe journalists and politicians who were known for exposing social injustices. Back to Contents
  247. 247. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of name-calling propaganda. Note: President Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “muckrakers” to describe journalists and politicians who were known for exposing social injustices. Back to Contents Aimed at the American public, this editorial cartoon is intended to poke fun at Teddy Roosevelt and the “muckraking” senators with whom he sometimes clashed. By referring to these senators as a “muck heap,” the cartoonist plays on the term “muckrakers.” This is a dismissive treatment of the senators, but the degree to which this qualifies as an instance of name-calling propaganda is open to debate.
  248. 248. Repeat Exercises 1. How is pinpointing the enemy similar to name-calling? How are the two techniques different? Both techniques are frequently used to attack an individual. However, pinpointing the enemy is often used to assign blame, while name-calling is usually used to discredit an opponent. Back to Contents Part #8: Pinpointing the Enemy
  249. 249. Repeat Exercises 2. Identify an instance of pinpointing the enemy that you have witnessed in the media. What companies, groups, or individuals have been blamed for many of the world’s problems? Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  250. 250. Repeat Exercises 3. How is pinpointing the enemy related to “scapegoating,” and the ancient Hebrew practice of driving a goat into the wilderness to take away the people’s sins? Scapegoating is a particular kind of pinpointing, in which the scapegoat is blamed for the propagandist’s own failings. As in the Hebrew tradition, the scapegoat is forced to bear the moral failures of others. Back to Contents
  251. 251. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of pinpointing the enemy. Note: The term “Hun” was used to refer to the Germans during World War I. Back to Contents
  252. 252. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of pinpointing the enemy. Note: The term “Hun” was used to refer to the Germans during World War I. Back to Contents Aimed at an American audience during World War I, this cartoon is meant to disparage the German government and the practice of producing and drinking alcohol. This can be considered an example of name-calling propaganda because of the use of the term “Hun” and because it depicts the German public as wasteful, poor, alcohol-loving criminals, rather than arguing against the nation’s government.
  253. 253. Repeat Exercises 1. What are some examples of plain-folk propaganda that you have seen in advertising? What product lines have used this technique, and how? Answers will vary. Back to Contents Part #9: Plain Folk
  254. 254. Repeat Exercises 2. What kinds of advertisements and/or political campaigns would not benefit from using the plain-folk approach? Under what circumstances would this technique be counterproductive? Products or politicians who appeal to an elite audience would not benefit from using the plain-folks technique. Likewise, an individual or product that could not make a realistic claim to being ordinary and common should not use this approach. Back to Contents
  255. 255. Repeat Exercises 3. Read the following quote. Then, describe one situation in which this quote would constitute plain-folk propaganda and another scenario in which it would not. Back to Contents This quote would constitute plain-folk propaganda if delivered by a public figure, such as a politician, in an attempt at self-promotion. However, if spoken by a grandfather to his grandchildren, for example, this would not be an instance of propaganda. I grew up on a farm in rural Mississippi, so I know the meaning of struggle. I learned the value of hard work and determination at an early age, and it’s a lesson I won’t soon forget.
  256. 256. Repeat Exercises 4. Imagine that you are running for office, and create a speech in which you promote yourself using plain-folk propaganda. Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  257. 257. Repeat Exercises 1. What qualifies a person to give a trustworthy, legitimate testimonial? A person with some degree of true expertise who is unbiased and uncompensated may be considered a trustworthy source for a testimonial. Back to Contents Part #10: Testimonials
  258. 258. Repeat Exercises 2. What are some of the warning signs that cast suspicion on a testimonial? Scripted, paid testimonials delivered by celebrities, experts, or even “plain folk” should be viewed with suspicion. Back to Contents
  259. 259. Repeat Exercises 3. Imagine that you are an advertiser, attempting to market a product. How would you go about using the testimonial technique in a way that appears trustworthy? Answers will vary. Back to Contents
  260. 260. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of testimonial-based propaganda. Back to Contents
  261. 261. Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of testimonial-based propaganda. Back to Contents Aimed at the American public (during World War II), this poster uses President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech as a testimonial encouraging Americans to save food. Americans were expected to trust Roosevelt enough to believe his assertion that “Hunger does not breed reform…” and save food, based on his suggestion.
  262. 262. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises Part #11: Transfer 1. What is a symbol that most people in your community would view as positive, and what specific associations would this symbol transfer? Answers will vary.
  263. 263. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises 2. What is a symbol that would evoke a negative response from your community? What negative associations are attached to this symbol? Answers will vary.
  264. 264. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises 3. Describe an instance of transfer that you have witnessed in advertising, politics, or some other public arena, and explain to the class why this qualifies as transfer. Answers will vary.
  265. 265. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of transfer propaganda.
  266. 266. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises 4. Identify the audience and purpose for this poster, and discuss whether this is an example of transfer propaganda. Aimed at the American public (during World War I), this poster is intended to encourage Americans to enlist in the Army. Depicting the familiar figure of “Uncle Sam,” clad in patriotic garb, the poster is meant to transfer the esteem and loyalty inspired by this figure to the Army’s cause.
  267. 267. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises relies on the influence of a spokesperson, usually one who is either a celebrity, a supposed expert, or an “Average Joe” Testimonial
  268. 268. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises gives the audience only two options and encourages people to make a decision based on the fear of one outcome, rather than the merits of the other. Lesser of Two Evils This way? Or This way? The new year—crossroads of the future
  269. 269. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises appeals to peer pressure, recommending a given course of action simply because “everyone is doing it” Bandwagon Greater Germany [Vote] Yes! On April 10
  270. 270. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises attempts to create a mental and emotional association between objects or ideas using images, words, or symbols Transfer
  271. 271. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises attempts to rally the audience against a single, distinct enemy who embodies all the world’s problems Pinpointing the Enemy
  272. 272. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises declares an idea as fact, without explaining or defending it Assertion
  273. 273. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises relies on vague, positive words to generate enthusiasm Glittering Generalities
  274. 274. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises encourages an audience to identify an individual or cause with common people and ordinary tasks Plain Folks
  275. 275. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises creates a false sense that there are only two possibilities False Dilemma Victory or Bolshevism
  276. 276. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises uses strong language to excite anger and vilify an individual or group of people Name-Calling
  277. 277. Back to Contents Repeat Exercises a message that presents only one side of the situation or unfairly downplays other possibilities Card-Stacking The nation’s dreams have come true!

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