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On Propaganda - Research Paper Example

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Propaganda The subject of propaganda is interesting because it illustrates how messages can convey different things to different people. The modern world is full of information of all kinds. It is natural that different groups in society will see things from different perspectives and this is a good thing…
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Research Paper on Propaganda
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On Propaganda

Download file to see previous pages... This paper defines what propaganda is, illustrates this definition with some examples from the modern world, and explains how it works on different audiences. A typical reference book definition of propaganda is this: “Propaganda: Media that have the sole purpose to persuade people to support a particular religious or political cause.” (Mills: 2010, p. 134) This shows that propaganda can be in different forms, since media includes written and spoken messages, and also books, newspapers, radio, television and internet. It can take the form of factual reporting or fictional works. The important thing about propaganda is that it has a very clear and single purpose, which is to persuade people to think or act in a certain predetermined way. Persuasive texts are very common but not all of them are propaganda. The difference between propaganda and persuasion is that the propaganda text presents only one side, and assumes that this is the only acceptable point of view. Opposing ideas may be mentioned, but only in order to mock them or argue against them. Any information provided is selected to favor the main message. Other information is ignored or twisted to suit the purpose of the speaker or writer. Very often propaganda distorts facts, or deliberately cites erroneous material in order to distract the audience from forming a balanced opinion. A lawyer or a politician who argues a case will point out both sides of an argument and try to persuade the audience that one side is more believable and supportable than the other. This is not propaganda because it tries to be fair and uses reasonable argumentation. Propaganda is often used in political contexts. This is because politicians depend on the votes of an audience, and in election periods they work very hard to change people’s minds so that they become politically active, and choose one candidate over another. Slogans and posters serve to pinpoint key beliefs. Politicians sometimes resort to unfair tactics such as inventing negative stories about their opponents or twisting facts to make themselves look good and other people look bad. A classic example of this kind of propaganda is the way that Nazi German politicians categorized Jewish citizens as “barbaric and subhuman” and blamed them falsely for all the bad things that were happening in Germany at the time. (Welch, 1995, p. 47) The propaganda was so powerful that it ultimately sanctioned the persecution of Jewish people, resulting in the ultimate horror of concentration as the example of Nazi racism, but nevertheless many of the same techniques are used. Insurance firms describe accidents and make people worry about their safety in order to make people invest in insurance policies. This is a negative type of propaganda, but many companies use propaganda in a positive way, in order to make the audience feel that they need and want something. This can be seen, for example, in television advertisements for Panasonic Blu Ray equipment. These show an idyllic family living room, and a cinematic style voiceover makes soothing recommendations to “Free Your HD” and uses the justifying argument “Because HD Freedom matters.”(Panasonic, 2011) The use of the abstract word “freedom” in the context of storage of video content is an exaggeration of the importance of such a device. The advertisement mimics political rhetoric and depicts a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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