propaganda PowerPoint

Eight Faces of Propaganda
A video survey informed by
What is propaganda?
• Propaganda, simply put, is persistent
persuasive messaging. It includes:
– Ads ads ads.
• It resists:
– The give and take of argument: i.e., critical
• It does this by manipulating:
– Symbols
– Emotions
Propaganda connotes malevolence,
but it is a neutral tool.
Not necessarily good.
Not necessarily evil.
Word Games
Types of Propaganda.
Many types of propaganda,
but we will focus on 8 key
types identified by the
Institute for Propaganda
Analysis. The concepts in this
PowerPoint come from The
example locations are
indicated throughout.
– Name-calling
– Glittering generalities
– Euphemisms
False Connections
– Transfer
– Testimonial
Special Appeals
– Plain folks
– Bandwagon
– Fear
Name calling.
• Definition: a device that “links a person, or
idea to a negative symbol.”
• Effective how? The intended audience may
reject the person or idea on the basis of the
negative symbol.
• Examples: the words “hobo,” “queer,”
“terrorist,” etc., have negative connotations
added through the years.
Name calling antidotes: ask yourself…
• What does the name mean?
• Does the idea in question have a legitimate
connection with the real meaning of the
• Is an idea that serves my best interests being
dismissed through giving it a name I don't
• Leaving the name out of consideration, what
are the merits of the idea itself?
Name calling example.
• “Boys Beware,” a 1950’s anti-gay propaganda
Glittering generalities.
• Definition: a device that uses “virtue words” in
association with the person or idea being
promoted: e.g., “democracy,” “good,”
“motherhood,” “fatherhood,” etc.
• Effective how? Audience supplies its own
definitions for the “glittering” quality and
applies it to the object of promotion, making
it seem virtuous.
Glittering generalities antidote: ask
• What does the “virtue word” really mean?
• Does the idea in question have a legitimate
connection with the real meaning of the word:
• Is an idea that does not serve my best
interests being "sold" to me merely through
its being given a name that I like?
• Leaving the “virtue word” out of
consideration, what are the merits of the idea
Glittering generalities example.
• “Army strong” commercial, 2009.
• Definition: a device that attempts to make a
potentially unpleasant reality more palatable.
• Effective how? Audience is shielded from
factual perception of the person or idea for
which euphemism is being employed.
• Example: “collateral damage” is the term the
military uses for civilian casualties – civilians
who are killed in a war zone.
Euphemism example.
• “High Fructose Corn Syrup” ad, 2008.
• Definition: a device by which the authority or
prestige of something we respect is carried
over to the person or idea being promoted.
Symbols are used heavily to achieve this: the
cross, American flag, etc.
• Effective how? The symbols deployed act as a
sort of short-hand.
• Example: “doctors” in white lab coats to
suggest that a cold medicine is effective.
Transfer antidotes: ask yourself…
• In the most simple and concrete terms, what is
the proposal of the speaker?
• What is the meaning of the thing from which the
propagandist is seeking to transfer authority,
sanction, and prestige?
• Is there any legitimate connection between the
proposal of the propagandist and the revered
thing, person or institution?
• Leaving the propagandistic trick out of the
picture, what are the merits of the proposal
viewed alone?
Transfer example.
• “Volkswagen Commercial: the Force,” 2011.
• “Firework,” Katy Perry, 2011.
• Definition: a device that uses an outside
source (like a celebrity) to confer legitimacy
for a person, product or idea.
• Effective how: audience is manipulated by the
appeal to an illegitimate authority.
• Example: Oprah Winfrey supported Barak
Obama for his presidential campaign, but for
what reason should we believe she knows
what is best for the country?
Testimonial antidotes: ask yourself…
• Who or what is quoted in the testimonial?
• Why should we regard this person (or
organization or publication) as having expert
knowledge or trustworthy information on the
subject in question?
• What does the idea amount to on its own
merits, without the benefit of the
Testimonial example.
• “The Official Justin Bieber Proactiv
Commercial,” 2010.
Plain folks.
• Definition: a device that uses “ordinary people” to offer
testimony on behalf of a person, idea or thing.
• Effective how? The device helps to convince audience
that the object of promotion is “of the people.”
• Example: “America's recent presidents have all been
millionaires, but they have gone to great lengths to
present themselves as ordinary citizens. Bill Clinton ate
at McDonald's and confessed a fondness for trashy spy
novels. George Bush Sr. hated broccoli, and loved to
fish. Ronald Reagan was often photographed chopping
wood, and Jimmy Carter presented himself as a
humble peanut farmer from Georgia.”
Plain folks antidotes.
• What are the propagandist's ideas worth
when divorced from his or her personality?
• What could he or she be trying to cover up
with the plain-folks approach?
• What are the facts?
Plain folks example.
• “Yes on Proposition 8 Commercial,” 2009.
• Definition: a device that suggests “everyone
else is doing it, and so should you.”
• Effective how? People adore a crowd and do
not want to be left out of groups.
• Example: “Big Bang Hite Beer,” 2009.
Bandwagon antidotes.
• What is this propagandist's program?
• What is the evidence for and against the
• Regardless of the fact that others are
supporting this program, should I support it?
• Does the program serve or undermine my
individual and collective interests?
Bandwagon example.
• “Prop 8, the Musical,” 2009.

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