Types of propaganda
Propaganda shares techniques with advertising and public relations. In fact advertising and public relations can be thought of as propaganda that promotes a commercial product or shapes the perception of an organization, person or brand, though in post-WWII usage the word „propaganda“ more typically refers to political or uses of these techniques or to nationalist the promotion of a set of ideas.
Propaganda also has much in common with public information campaigns by governments, which are intended to encourage or discourage certain forms of behavior (such as wearing seat belts, not smoking, not littering and so forth).
Again, the emphasis is more political in propaganda. Propaganda can take the form of , posters, leaflets, TV and radio broadcasts and can also extend to any other medium. In the case of the United States, there is also an important legal distinction between advertising (a type of covert propaganda) and what the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an arm of the United States Congress, refers to as „covert propaganda.“
Journalistic theory generally holds that news items should be objective, giving the reader an accurate background and analysis of the subject at hand. On the other hand, advertisements generally present an issue in a very subjective and often misleading light, primarily meant to persuade rather than to inform.
If the reader believes that a paid advertisement is in fact a news item, the message the
advertiser is trying to communicate will be more easily „believed“ or „internalized.“
Such advertisements are considered obvious examples of „covert“ propaganda because they take on the appearance of objective information rather than the appearance of propaganda, which is misleading.
Federal law specifically mandates that any advertisement appearing in the format of a news item must state that the item is in fact a paid advertisement. The Bush Administration has come under fire for allegedly producing and disseminating covert propaganda in the form of television programs, aired in the United States, which appeared to be legitimate news broadcasts and did not include any information signifying that the programs were not generated by a private-sector news source.
Propaganda, in a narrower use of the term, connotates deliberately false or misleading
information that supports or furthers a political cause or the interests of those in power.
The propagandist seeks to change the way people understand an issue or situation for the purpose of changing their actions and expectations in ways that are desirable to the interest group.
Propaganda, in this sense, serves as a corollary to in which the same purpose is censorship achieved, not by filling people’s minds with approved information, but by preventing people from being confronted with opposing points of view. What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people’s understanding through deception and confusion rather than persuasion and understanding.
The leaders of an organization know the information to be one sided or untrue, but this may not be true for the rank and file members who help to disseminate the propaganda.
More in line with the roots of the term, it is also used widely in the debates aboutreligious new (NRMs), both by people who defend them and by people who oppose religious movements them. The latter pejoratively call these NRMs cults .
Anti-cult activists countercult activists accuse the leaders of what they consider cults of using propaganda extensively to recruit followers and keep them. Some social scientists, such as the late Jeffrey Hadden, and affiliated scholars accuse ex-members of „cults“ who became vocal critics and the CESNUR of making these unusual religious movements look bad without sufficientanti-cult movement reasons.
Propaganda is a mighty weapon in . In this case its aim is usually to dehumanize and createwar hatred toward a supposed enemy, either internal or external. The technique is to create a false image in the mind. This can be done by using special words, special avoidance of words or by saying that the enemy is responsible for certain things he never did. Most propaganda wars require the home population to feel the enemy has inflicted an injustice, which may be fictitious or may be based on facts. The home population must also decide that the cause of their nation is just.
Propaganda is also one of the methods used in psychological warfare, which may also include false flag operations.
The term propaganda may also refer to false information meant to reinforce the mindsets of people who already believe as the propagandist wishes. The assumption is that, if people believe something false, they will constantly be assailed by doubts. Since these doubts are unpleasant (see ), people will be eager to have them extinguished, andcognitive dissonance are therefore receptive to the reassura nces of those in power. For this reason propaganda is often addressed to people who are already sympathetic to the agenda. This process of reinforcement uses an individual’s predisposition to self-select „agreeable“ information sources as a mechanism for maintaining control.
Propaganda can be classified according to the source and nature of the message. White generally comes from an openly identified source, and is characterized by gentlerpropaganda methods of persuasion, such as standard public relations techniques and one-sided presentation of an argument. is identified as being from one source, but isBlack propaganda infact from another. This is most commonly to disguise the true origins of the propaganda, be it from an enemy country or from an organization with a negative public image. Gray propaganda Is propaganda without any identifiable souce or author. In scale, these different types of propaganda can also be defined by the potential of true and correct information to compete with the propaganda. For example, opposition to white propaganda is often readily found and may slightly discredit the propaganda source. Opposition to gray propaganda, when revealed (often by an inside source), may create some level of public outcry. Opposition to black propaganda is often unavailable and may be dangerous to reveal, because public cognizance of black propaganda tactics and sources would undermine or backfire the very campaign the black propagandist supported.
Propaganda may be administered in very insidious ways. For instance, disparaging about history, certain groups or foreign countries may be encouraged ordisinformation tolerated in the educational system. Since few people actually double-check what they learn at school, such disinformation will be repeated by journalists as well as parents, thus reinforcing the idea that the disinformation item is really a „well-known fact,“ even though no one repeating the myth is able to point to an authoritative source. The disinformation is then recycled in the media and in the educational system, without the need for direct governmental intervention on the media.