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Early propaganda study: 

Early propaganda study The first propaganda studies followed the First World War Development of mass media Creel Committee Allied propaganda Exorbitant claims by PR/ad people after the war was over

Goals of early propaganda study: 

Goals of early propaganda study Arm citizens against insidious communication Learn rules of effective rhetoric Develop methods for successful use of propaganda by business and government

Between the wars: 

Between the wars The Institute for Propaganda Analysis set up Developed a list of “seven common propaganda devices” Appeal to emotion rather than reason “They make us believe and do something we would not believe or do if we thought about it calmly, dispassionately . . .”

Seven devices: 

Seven devices The name calling device The glittering generalities device The transfer device The testimonial device The plain folks device The card stacking device The band wagon device

Name calling: 

Name calling “a device to make us form a judgment without examining the evidence on which it should be based” Propagandist attempts to attach negative labels to those she wants us to condemn “terrorist” “extremist” “dictator” Very common form of propaganda

Glittering generalities: 

Glittering generalities “propagandist identifies his program with virtue by the use of ‘virtue words’” “truth” “freedom” “honor” Meant to make us accept and approve of the propagandist’s position, group, etc. without an analysis of the facts.


Transfer “the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept” Have church or nation approve of action Flags, crosses in background


Testimonial An individual professes support or opposition “I think President Bush is doing a wonderful job.”

Plain Folks: 

Plain Folks Related to testimonial Propagandists “win our confidence by appearing to be people like ourselves—‘just plain folks among the neighbors’” Candidates kiss babies, government officials hang out on the front porch for photo ops, eat local cuisine

Card stacking: 

Card stacking Propagandist “uses underemphasis and overemphasis to dodge issues and evade facts. He resorts to lies, censorship, and distortion. He omits facts. Raises “red herring” issues to draw attention away from embarrassing issues

Band Wagon: 

Band Wagon “a device to make us follow the crowd . . . His theme is ‘everybody’s doing it’”

More recent work on propaganda : 

More recent work on propaganda Though the seven devices are a good start, they have several problems Some are vague (card stacking) They are limited mainly to specific word usage What is not said Context Societal myths Visuals Framing


Bias Much of recent study of propaganda, news and other forms of political propaganda look at bias Bias is the uneven treatment of sides to an issue Often looked at as unfair treatment of one side of a bipolar conflict—Democrat/Republican, conservative/liberal


Bias Indications of bias One side gets more time/better placement Tougher questioning of one side than the other One side is treated more kindly Adjectives/adverbs Rolling the eyes, etc. Softball questions Other demonstrations of support


Context Recent events Social mood Wider discussion that the individual issue, etc. is placed within Explicit allusions


Framing/ideology More sophisticated, and more difficult is the attempt to determine the larger story being told, and how it may distort a fair analysis of an issue, action, etc. Assumptions inherent in the culture Master narratives that have great impact Socially agreed-upon biases

Assumptions inherent in the culture: 

Assumptions inherent in the culture U.S. is Secularized Democratic Capitalist Conservative economically Liberal socially Racist Sexist (though not too bad by comparison with other societies) Individualist

Master narratives: 

Master narratives Societal myths provide significant source for the discussion of topics, powerful support for varied positions: Horatio Alger myth Cold War scenario Cowboy/wild west myth

Socially agreed-upon biases: 

Socially agreed-upon biases Progress Technology Christian religions Sexual liberalism


Framing Telling the larger story within which the individual incident, policy, or action is placed Powerful, relatively invisible form of propaganda Uses all the earlier techniques to “frame” discussion of policy


Framing Certain arguments, possibilities, actions, beliefs, groups, positions are “framed in.” Others are “framed out” Certain facts/beliefs are considered relevant or irrelevant Arguments are more or less appropriate Narratives are said to be good explanations or not Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

Tactical vs. strategic critique: 

Tactical vs. strategic critique Chomsky discussed the difference between ‘tactical’ and ‘strategic’ critique Tactical critique accepts the goals and overall justification for the action, but questions whether the costs are too high, the solution effective, etc. Strategic critique questions the justification for the action, the basic assumptions underlying the position, the moral implications

Chomsky on Vietnam: 

Chomsky on Vietnam Chomsky argued that the press and the administration engaged in tactical debate over Vietnam but never did the debate expand to the realm of strategic debate Johnson and Nixon were challenged as the the costs of the war, whether or not it could be won, whether we really wanted to pay the price, etc. They were not significantly challenged as to the morality of the war, whether this was really a case of the “domino effect” or whether we were supporting a dictatorship, etc.


Personalization Though a conflict is between nations, groups, etc. try to define the enemy as a single person Hussein Bin Laden


Demonization Once you have defined the conflict as an opposition to a single individual, define that individual in absolute, negative terms


Nationalism Call upon love of country as a reason for support of policy Define being “American” as more important than anything else in the conflict Say that the opposition has attacked America as a whole, rather than an individual or group within the country

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