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Osgood The United States has utilized propaganda techniques repeatedly through its history, particularly during periods of war and international crisis. As early as the revolutionary period, Americans evinced a shrewd grasp of the utility of propaganda as an instrument of foreign policy.
The total wars of the early twentieth century led the U. The governmental use of propaganda continued to expand in the twenty-first century, largely due to the harnessing of the revolution in communications.
But for most Americans, propaganda has a negative connotation as a treacherous, deceitful, and manipulative practice. Americans have generally thought of propaganda as something "other" people and nations do, while they themselves merely persuade, inform, or educate. Americans have employed numerous euphemisms for their propaganda in order to distinguish it from its totalitarian applications and wicked connotations.
The most common of these has been "information," a designation that has adorned all of the official propaganda agencies of the government—from the Committee on Public Information — and the Office of War Information — to the U. For a brief period during the s and early s, the terms "psychological warfare" and "political warfare" were openly espoused by propaganda specialists and politicians alike.
Increasingly, they turned to euphemisms like "international communication" and "public communication" to make the idea of propaganda more palatable to domestic audiences. During the Cold War, common phrases also included "the war of ideas," "battle for hearts and minds," "struggle for the minds and wills of men," "thought war," "ideological warfare," "nerve warfare," "campaign of truth," "war of words," and others.
Even the term "Cold War" was used to refer to propaganda techniques and strategy as in "Cold War tactics". Later, the terms "communication," "public diplomacy," A life in the age of propaganda operations" or "psyops""special operations," and "information warfare" became fashionable.
Political propaganda and measures to influence media coverage were likewise labeled "spin," and political propagandists were "spin doctors" or, more imaginatively, "media consultants" and "image advisers. Harold Lass well, a pioneer of propaganda studies in the United Statesdefined it as "the management of collective attitudes by the manipulation of significant symbols.
Subsequent analysts stressed that propaganda was a planned and deliberate act of opinion management. A study prepared for the U.
Army, for example, defined propaganda as "the planned dissemination of news, information, special arguments, and appeals designed to influence the beliefs, thoughts, and actions of a specific group.
Some social scientists have abandoned the term altogether because it cannot be defined with any degree of precision; and others, like the influential French philosopher Jacques Ellul, have used the term but refused to define it because any definition would inevitably leave something out.
As these examples indicate, propaganda is notoriously difficult to define. Does one identify propaganda by the intentions of the sponsor, by the effect on the recipients, or by the techniques used?
Is something propaganda because it is deliberate and planned? How does propaganda differ from advertising, public relationseducation, information, or, for that matter, politics? At its core, propaganda refers to any technique or action that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, or behavior of a group, in order to benefit the sponsor.
Propaganda is usually, but not exclusively, concerned with public opinion and mass attitudes. The purpose of propaganda is to persuade—either to change or reinforce existing attitudes and opinions.
Yet propaganda is also a manipulative activity. It often disguises the secret intentions and goals of the sponsor; it seeks to inculcate ideas rather than to explain them; and it aspires to modify or control opinions and actions primarily to benefit the sponsor rather than the recipient.
Although manipulative, propaganda is not necessarily untruthful, as is commonly believed. In fact, many specialists believe that the most effective propaganda operates with different layers of truth—from half-truths and the truth torn out of context to the just plain truth.
Propagandists have on many occasions employed lies, misrepresentations, or deceptions, but propaganda that is based on fact and that rings true to the intended audience is bound to be more persuasive than bald-faced lies.
Another common misconception identifies propaganda narrowly by its most obvious manifestations—radio broadcasts, posters, leaflets, and so on. But propaganda experts employ a range of symbols, ideas, and activities to influence the thoughts, attitudes, opinions, and actions of various audiences—including such disparate modes of communication and human interaction as educational and cultural exchanges, books and scholarly publications, the adoption of slogans and buzzwords, monuments and museums, spectacles and media events, press releases, speeches, policy initiatives, and person-to-person contacts.
Diplomacy, too, has been connected to the practice of propaganda. Communication techniques have been employed by government agents to cultivate public opinion so as to put pressure on governments to pursue certain policies, while traditional diplomatic activities—negotiations, treaties—have been planned, implemented, and presented in whole or in part for the effects they would have on public opinion, both international and domestic.
One such categorization classifies propaganda as white, gray, or black according to the degree to which the sponsor conceals or acknowledges its involvement. White propaganda is correctly attributed to the sponsor and the source is truthfully identified. Gray propaganda, on the other hand, is unattributed to the sponsor and conceals the real source of the propaganda.
The objective of gray propaganda is to advance viewpoints that are in the interest of the originator but that would be more acceptable to target audiences than official statements.
The reasoning is that avowedly propagandistic materials from a foreign government or identified propaganda agency might convince few, but the same ideas presented by seemingly neutral outlets would be more persuasive.
Unattributed publications, such as articles in newspapers written by a disguised source, are staples of gray propaganda.
Other tactics involve wide dissemination of ideas put forth by others—by foreign governments, by national and international media outlets, or by private groups, individuals, and institutions.
Gray propaganda also includes material assistance provided to groups that put forth views deemed useful to the propagandist.The propaganda film was funded entirely by the NSDAP.
Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, Riefenstahl adamantly denied any deliberate attempt to create Nazi propaganda and said she was disgusted that Triumph des . This Is What Iran War Propaganda Looks Like In The Age Of Social Media by Caitlin Johnstone 2 months ago no comment I ’ve been noticing videos going viral the last few days, some with millions of views, about Muslim women bravely fighting to free themselves from oppression in the Middle East.
The movie has an important place in American history—and the history of LIF. Why Our Age Is Defined by Propaganda. k Daniel Lattier | December 16, | 1, k Social Share. Twitter Facebook Reddit LinkedIn. Printer-friendly version Send by email. Abortion—One side argues from the principle of “life.
[The] American business community was also very impressed with the propaganda effort. They had a problem at that time. The country was becoming formally more democratic. Fascist propaganda looked back to the golden age of ancient Rome. The fascists used propaganda to make their members feel as though they were a part of a great movement.
Uniforms, banners, and songs all played a part, with the image of the leader at the fore.