Friday, March 11, 2005

The Propaganda Machine: Basic Principles

Propaganda is designed to actively spread a philosophy or a point of view. What separates propaganda from “normal” communication is the way the message attempts to shape opinion. As opposed to “normal” communication, propaganda is designed to induce an emotional response. This emotional response becomes attached to the message. These emotionally charged messages are designed to suggest non-logical or non-intuitive relationships between concepts. Most adults have learned through life experiences, education, cultural norms, and spiritual insight an intuitive sense of right and wrong. As we grow older this intuitive sense grows in us. It enables us (if we listen), to have an inner guide to decision making and coping with the world around us. As we get older, this intuitive sense can manifest itself to become wisdom. The emotionally charged messages of propaganda challenge and then replace the logic of our intuition. It is illogical or non-intuitive that a particular racial group would be considered so inferior they would deserve extermination. No large group of free thinking adults would on their own come to the conclusion that it is logical to exterminate an entire race of humans. But under the right conditions and with the skillful use of emotionally charged messages (propaganda), a large group of people can be conditioned to believe that killing on a mass scale is a logical and justified act. There is a tendency to blame the flawed ideology in cases where there are extreme outcomes like genocide. We lose sight of the fact that these aberrant ideologies owe their mass acceptance to well executed propaganda campaigns. Without mass acceptance, these aberrant ideologies would most likely become mere footnotes in history.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Hope said...

Could you give specific examples of what you would consider propaganda versus conventional spin in today’s USA?

Hope

12:39 AM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

I don't think I could quickly do justice to the subject. I will try to examine the spin in a later posting. For now I would just say that if a spinner uses or makes reference to highly propagandized "words" or "talking points", the spin would turn into propaganda. You could conceivably have a spin that just stretches the truth while ignoring the facts but does not use emotionally charged messages.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous scroff said...

I'm not any expert, but would think that "immediate threat" would fall nicely into propaganda rather than spin.

Also I would say that 'spin' takes the same facts and information and looks at it differently, tries to clean it up to look better for whoever is presenting it. A famous example could be Rumsfeld saying "Democracy is messy" and the propaganda would be Cheney saying he is the "best SoD we ever had" and Bush saying he is "Superb", both blatant lies used when his resignation was being called for.
I don't know, just my .02

12:38 PM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

The words "immediate threat" is working on one of the most powerful motivators: Fear. A well designed propoganda program creates what could almost be called a belief system. A skillful spinner can create what appears to be logical arguments or reinforcements for their non-logical belief system. What appears to us as "lies and deceit" will be seen by those in the belief system as perfectly normal pronouncements.

5:54 PM  

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