When performing research for articles and editorials I try my best to follow a method of precise data analysis. Propaganda is used in news mediums to persuade you to believe, do, or buy. Proper research is difficult and time consuming but it beats the alternative of conforming to what others would have you think.
Merriam-Webster’s relevant definitions of pro•pa•gan•da are:
2: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
3: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect
By these definitions, propaganda is used to produce a positive or negative result using facts or fiction. My main concern is to inform people how propaganda is used to deceive and exploit because that is where it does much damage. So, in the interests of producing an informed society of critical thinkers, I urge all to familiarize themselves with common techniques of propaganda. Please understand, I am not an authority on the subject and this list is just a collection of popular techniques. I will list more resources, techniques and methods as I learn them.
My current resources for this information include the 1950’s film by Coronet Instructional Films called “Propaganda Techniques” and a more recent video by Schell Productions titled “10 Propaganda Techniques”.
Common techniques of propaganda include:
1. Pinpointing the Enemy
(Attempt to simplify a complex situation by presenting a specific group as the enemy.)
2. The Assertion
(Present a statement without explanation or evidence to support.)
3. Lesser of Two Evils
(Present something as the least offensive option.)
4. Glittering Generalities
(Use words that are linked to highly valued concepts such as Freedom, Justice, etc…)
(Transfer the prestige of a pos/neg symbol to a person or idea. For example, using the US flag.)
(Use of ordinary words, sarcasm, etc… when describing a person.)
(Present only the pos/neg side of something, while omitting other information.)
(Using the opinions or experiences of plain folks that dealt with the matter to inform you.)
9. Plain Folks
(Present somebody as reflecting the public, the common ordinary person.)
10. Band Wagon
(An invitation to “join in” because others have. Follow the crowd. Polling.)
11. Appeal to Fear
(Redirect attention toward steps that can be taken to reduce the fear.)
Steps for deciphering propaganda to obtain real information are:
Step 1: Recognize the technique.
Step 2: Know the purpose of the Propaganda. (to believe, to do, to buy)
Step 3: Get the facts. (Compare against their sources, official sources, and others.)
Step 4: Weigh the facts against the purpose and the technique. (Get as many different points of view as you can.)
I hope this information helps people to become critical thinkers because it’s required for a free and rational society to exist.
-Jeremy Edward Dion