Propaganda and seven techniques

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muhammadmohsinali
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Propaganda and seven techniques

Post by muhammadmohsinali » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:47 pm

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself.As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda is often biased, with facts selectively presented (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political, or other type of agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of political warfare.While the term propaganda has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative and jingoistic examples, propaganda in its original sense was neutral, and could refer to uses that were generally benign or innocuous, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, or messages encouraging persons to report crimes to the police, among others. A Brief History of PropagandaReligious propagationThe term 'propaganda' first appeared in 1622 when Pope Gregory XV established the Sacred Congregation for Propagating the Faith. Propaganda was then as now about convincing large numbers of people about the veracity of a given set of ideas.Of course, propaganda is as old as people, politics and religion. People with ideas will always want to persuade others about them and, if they have the power, they will pull every string they have to persuade everyone. Propaganda and warWars have always been a good reason to use propaganda, as governments seek to persuade populaces of the justness of their cause as well as hide the horrors and failures of the front line. Misinformation and disinformation are widely used to distract people from the truth and create new realities.Entry into the First World War was apparently accompanied with many stories of atrocities that were false. Things have not changed and more recent wars have also had more than their fair share of propaganda and false excuses.Nazi propagandaIn 1933, Hitler realized the potential of propaganda and appointed Joseph Goebbels as Minister for Propaganda. Goebbels was remarkably effective and much of the propaganda literature discusses in detail the methods they used.The Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA)In 1936 Boston merchant Edward Filene helped establish the short-lived Institute for Propaganda Analysis which sought to educate Americans to recognize propaganda techniques. Although it did not last long, they did produce a list of seven propaganda methods that have become something of a standard.• Bandwagon: Pump up the value of 'joining the party'.• Card-stacking: Build a highly-biased case for your position.• Glittering Generalities: Use power words to evoke emotions.• Name-calling: Denigrating opponents.• Plain Folks: Making the leader seem ordinary increases trust and credibility.• Testimonial: The testimony of an independent person is seen as more trustworthy.• Transfer: Associate the leader with trusted others.The modern worldPropaganda and manipulation of reality continues to be used in large quantities in the modern world. Governments continue to tell their constituencies what they think they need to know. Advertisers use the whole gamut of propagandist techniques. And although some people can see the reality (and some theorize about improbable conspiracies), most people are taken in and see nothing of how they are manipulated.Classification of PropagandaPropaganda can be classified according to the source and nature of the message.• White propaganda• Black propaganda• Grey propagandaWhite propagandaWhite propaganda generally comes from an openly identified source, and is characterized by gentler methods of persuasion, such as standard public relations techniques and one-sided presentation of an argument. Black propagandaBlack propaganda is identified as being from one source, but is in fact 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. Grey propagandaGrey propaganda is propaganda without any identifiable source or author. A major application of grey propaganda is making enemies believe falsehoods using straw arguments: As phase one, to make someone believe "A", one releases as grey propaganda "B", the opposite of "A". In phase two, "B" is discredited using some straw man. The enemy will then assume "A" to be true.The 7 Propaganda Techniques1-Name-callingMethodCall them namesLaugh at what targeted others say. Criticize their lack of Values. Denounce their ideals. Turn around their words and actions, taking them out of context and amplifying them to drown out any denial (making denial seem like admission of guilt). Use other double-binds such that whatever they say or do only mires them more deeply.Find a name that trivializes them and use it at every opportunity, with a smirk on your face and the laughter of your supporters.Show up opponentsMake your opponents appear stupid, immoral or otherwise undesirable. Besmirch their untarnished reputation, holding it down in the mud, rubbing it in with the knowledge that much of the mud will stick. Be careful about the person retaliating. As necessary, ensure they are isolated and disempowered first. Make an example of someoneTake a random person and denigrate them. Show that you can and will do this any opponents. You can do it to an apparently strong person, to demonstrate that you are not afraid and will take on and defeat even the powerful. You can do it to a weak person, to show that nobody is safe from your ire. You can do it to an ordinary, guy-next-door person, to show that 'people like you' are not safe either.ExampleMy opponent is a flip-flop man who cannot make up his mind. He changes mind with the breeze! How could anyone follow such a weak-willed flip-flopper?DiscussionMud sticks, as we all known. Name-calling associates the other person with something that is despised or is inferior in some way. Now, if anyone associates with that person, the mud will also stick to them. The more the other person is socially isolated, the more that others will avoid the person. The results are a spiral of isolation that neutralizes opponents and sends a chilling warning to those who might follow in that person's path.Note how, especially in wartime, the other side gets given a whole slew of derogatory names. In the Second World War, the Germans were called Huns, Krauts, the Boche, etc. The Japanese were called Nips, Japs, Slant-eyes, and so on.Name-calling happens also in activism. Calling the police 'pigs', for example, is not just a derogatory term; it also frames the whole structure of state authority as dirty and unprincipled, hence making them unworthy and legitimizing attacks on them. Note also political elections, and how easily debates can descend into name-calling from which there is no recovery.2-Glittering GeneralitiesMethodUse attractive, but vague words that make speeches and other communications sound good, but in practice say nothing in particular.Use linguistic patterns such as alliteration, metaphor and reversals that turn your words into poetry that flows and rhymes in hypnotic patterns.Use words that appeal to values, which often themselves are related to triggering of powerful emotions.A common element of glittering generalities is intangible nouns that embody ideals, such as dignity, freedom, fame, integrity, justice, love and respect.ExampleLadies and Gentlemen, it is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome you to this most auspicious of occasions. We are gathered here on the brink of a challenge to which we must all rise in concert, for not to do so would be to accept despair, which I will never do and I know you will never accept.DiscussionGeneralization is a common process whereby we take one thing and apply it to others. Glittering generalities use this principle in seeking to evoke emotions without making any commitments or putting the speaker in a position where they may be challenged or criticized. If people are taken to a place where they accept vague statements, then suggestion can be used to replace rational argument and clear evidence.Hypnotic talk puts people into a light trance, where they become carried away by the situation and are more suggestible. When accompanied by comfortable surroundings, darkened rooms and flashing lights, the effect is accentuated further.Nouns give the sense of substance, but when they are intangible, they lack actual substance. This allows the speaker to credibly apply then to broad domains.3-Transfer MethodAssociate with other people or groups that already have high trust and credibility. Show that you aspire to similar ideals. Become a member of auspicious organizations. Be seen with trustworthy people. Name-drop and quote them. Show that you have friends in high places. Show how you are like them.Also show your differences and how you are unique. How you are perhaps better in some ways than those high credibility people. How perhaps they are like you more than you are like them. How you have helped them and how they now admire you. Be careful with this that, in standing on the other person, you do not push them down too far.ExampleAs I was saying to the President, it is so important that we bring our forces together. He agreed, of course and we will be taking it forward next week.Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce my good friend Brad Pitt. Brad and I go way back and he's kindly come here today to tell you what I'm really like. DiscussionWhen you show yourself to be like a known and respected person, then you are encouraging the other person to categorize you in the same way, such that they will then attribute all of the characteristics of the other person onto you (including trust).Showing yourself to be better then uses the other person's values and abilities as a base on which you have built. There are dangers in this, as it may seem that you are criticizing someone that the other person has idealized.4-TestimonialMethodIf your words might lack credibility in some way, borrow the credibility of others by getting the testimony of trusted others.Use celebrities and public personalities who have well established and trusted public brands. Use experts, clerics, police, scientists and others whose title is respected, even if the people themselves are unknown. Use people who are like the people whose support you need. Get them to stand up and support your case with vigour. Get them on stage with you. Get them on TV shows and into political debates. Help with words, if you can (but do not alienate them by being too pushy).ExampleIn my last movie, I saved my family from terrorists and I'm supporting this party because they will save you from terrorists!I am a doctor and I say this man would have died had he not got the right medicine in time. And I ask you, where did that medicine come from?DiscussionPolitical parties know that a celebrity testimonial is worth many votes. They also make great use of testimonials from ordinary people to show that people like your and me. Advertisers, too, make great use of celebrities and credibly ordinary folks.Celebrity testimonial works when people associate with the celebrity, connecting identities together. With 'experts', listeners often do not know of their real credentials, yet still accept the expert's authority. They will seldom question this matter, particularly when the content distracts them from this questioning. Claims of expertise are thus often used to boost credibility of statements.Actors, perhaps unsurprisingly, often do testimonials particularly well. It is hence common to see actors supporting political parties and others who are using this method.Testimonials need not be true or honest. You can pay people to say pretty much anything, and some will be happy to say whatever you like for a suitable sum. Be careful about paying, even for genuine support, as if it is found out then it will devalue the testimonial and possibly be seen in a very negative way.5-Plain Folks MethodMake the leaders look just like mom'n'pop-style 'plain folks'. Things you can do to achieve this include:DressWear ordinary clothes. Especially avoid designer gear. When you must be formal, be plain, so you clothes do not send 'flashy' messages. When you are seen in 'informal' settings, wear jeans and other 'relaxed' clothing (but do make sure they are always clean).When visiting particular groups, you can dress to show you are like them. When 'down on the farm', wear bibbed denims. When visiting the troops, wear simple fatigues (careful not to show rank here). SpeechUse simple words, simple grammar and short sentences. Pause, as if you have to think hard about words before speaking.When talking with a particular group of people, use their language, but with care not to appear that you are aping them (be careful with local dialects and professional jargon). Perhaps use just a few of their words, or use parallel words that say 'I may not be you, but I'm so like you it is the same thing, anyway'.A subtly is to use minor speech errors and incorrect grammar. If you are a linguist, this can be painful. But it sends the basic message: 'I'm an ordinary person, jus' like you.' Do this carefully: you want to appear ordinary, not foolish.ActionWhen you are shown doing things, do normal things. Be seen doing chores around the house. Go out running. Walk the dog. Play with your kids. Appear interested in things and people. Be surprised. Be normal.Just as with dress and speech, you can copy body language, sending 'I'm like you' signals.Like speech errors, you can make simple action mistakes. Drop things. Knock things over. Slip up a bit. Again, be careful to look ordinary, not a fool.ExampleVisiting a church, the President dresses in a dark suit and blue shirt. He walks slowly and with hands together in front of him. He talks gravely with people. He sings with joy and prays with fervour. Later that day, he has changed into denims and fleece top to take the dog for a walk. Along the way, he meets another dog owner and exchanges cheery pleasantries.DiscussionWhen you dress, speak and act like other people, you say 'I am like you'. When they see you as like them, they are more likely to like and trust you in return. Once they have decided that you are trustworthy, they will accept what you say without question.Appearing ordinary also makes you appear uncomplicated and very unlikely to tell lies. As a result, people are more likely to trust you further and believe more of what you say.This is a method that is often used by people aspiring to (and working in) high office. It is easy for such people to lose track with the ordinary person -- or at least appear to do so. Using the 'Plain Folks' method helps mitigate this risk.6-Card-stacking MethodIn 'card-stacking', deliberate action is taken to bias an argument, with opposing evidence being buried or discredited, whilst the case for one's own position is exaggerated at every opportunity. Thus the testimonial of supporters is used, but not that of opponents. Coincidences and serendipity may be artificially created, making deliberate action seem like random occurrence. Things 'just seem to happen' whilst you are 'in town'.ExampleA politician just happens to be in town when a new school is opening - so they just drop in, hi-jacking the press for their own means.During election periods, political parties will often gag their loose cannons, who might open their mouths and say the wrong things.A minister of a new church sect sets up in a poor area, feeds people who will listen, tells them of how the poor will be saved, and so on.DiscussionCard-stacking makes significant use of the evidence principle, whereby we find evidence to be particularly persuasive.Card stacking, particularly with testimonials, works when we confuse real statistics with availability, leading us to assume that just because there appears to be overwhelming support from other people, then this is a representative sample of the whole population. Advertising makes great use card-stacking, including repeated adverts that seek to batter their audiences into submission.The term 'card-stacking' comes from the world of gambling, where accomplished players will stack the deck in their favour, even as they are shuffling the card!7-BandwagonMethodMake it appear that many people have joined the cause already, and that they are having lots of fun or getting significant advantage.Show that those who join early will get the better prizes, such as positions of authority or other advantages.Link it to morality and values, showing that those who join sooner are more moral and pretty much better people all around.Make a loud noise. Use bright colours. Play a fanfare. Become impossible to miss. Be in-your-face until they join up.ExampleA political party holds a rally with much flag-waving and razz-a-ma-tazz.A new religious group ensures all of its members attend services and become active participants in recruiting new members.DiscussionThe Bandwagon uses social evidence to legitimize itself and become attractive. It plays heavily on the need for belonging, making the group a desirable place to be. It may also use the scarcity principle, showing that it is better to join sooner or later. The term 'bandwagon' came from the Temperance movement, where an open wagon would literally have a band on it and drive around town picking up drunks who would symbolically 'get on the wagon' of alcohol-free (and religious) living.


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