Propaganda is the art of public influence, the marketing of ideology, typically using indirect means. Propaganda describes the intention of the message, not the format of delivery. Any type of delivery medium humans communicate through can carry propaganda.

In most cases the goal is to sell an emotion or an idea (generally consent or dissent); the goal is generally not to provide pure information.

Semantically we can consider disinformation, misinformation, propaganda, and other tools of persuasion and influence as separate, but in a broad sense any tool used with the intention of influence is a type of propaganda.

Propaganda can be an image (like those WWII German or Russian posters), a saying, a speech, or even something less blatant. Any time one spreads ideology, through any form of communication, it is a form of propaganda.

Aristotle spoke of the oratory version of propaganda and called it rhetoric, Bernays called the many forms of rhetoric presented in any media propaganda and then PR, and sometimes today we call it advertising or “the Media”. It is the world of words and images that drives messaging in modern culture, just as it was the words and images that drove the cultures of the past.

Either way, propaganda isn’t good or bad on its own, it just is (think ad campaigns for shoes and messages of tolerance and love).

Propaganda is simply a communication tool that any human, or group of humans, can and will use to influence individuals, groups, and cultures.

Broadly speaking, one could argue that everything we do is bias and everything we do is broadly a type of propaganda. With this in mind, de-stigmatizing the word (at least in your own head) is well suggested.

Here in the age of internet and social media propaganda takes on a new meaning as we realize we ALL have power to influence culture in a positive way (via digital democracy and more).

In this way, propaganda is simply public relations on behalf on an ideology, where an ideology is simply an “idea”.

If you want to be technical, even facts can be seen a type of propaganda, as while the facts themselves are clearly stated, the choice of facts and their ordering can be a choice of ideology (something i’ve had to come to grips with as the writer of a facts site).

Since it is very difficult to remove ourselves from influencing, or being influenced, it is better then that we understand propaganda, the social psychology behind it, and how we can personally use it for the forces of good and guard ourselves against the malicious intentions of others. In ways, this subject is at the heart of the social sciences and thusly has been studied by many of the greats from Aristotle on.

TIP: If you want to present nearly-unbiased information: 1) start with a question. 2) look for honest information from .gov, .edu, and peer reviewed studies. 3) present unordered facts with only raw data and little to no descriptive words. If you want to learn more about the art of spreading positive propaganda, then the links below are a good start.


Factoids tagged with "Propaganda"

Hitler Was a Left-wing Socialist Liberal Myth

The idea that “Hitler was a left-wing socialist liberal” is a myth. Hitler was a Fascist. Fascism has some socialist roots, but it is a unique right-wing authoritarian and nationalist ideology separate from socialism or liberalism.

Fake News is Real Fact

“Fake news” is news meant to influence rather than provide pure information. It is real and as old as the printing press. However, only some of what is labeled as “fake news” is actually “fake.”

Marie Antoinette Said, “Let them Eat Cake.” Myth

Marie Antoinette never said “let them eat cake”. The idea of royalty suggesting peasants eat cake is an old myth that can be traced to Rousseau’s Confessions, a Spanish Princess, and even a Chinese emperor.

Lenin and Stalin are Real Names Myth

Neither Lenin or Stalin are real names. Vladimir Lenin was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, and Joseph Stalin was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili.

Saul Alinsky Was a Satanist Myth

Saul Alinsky wasn’t a satanist, nor did he dedicate Rules for Radicals to Lucifer. Alinsky simply used Lucifer as a literary device to teach community organizing.

The Printing Press Changed the World Fact

The printing press (invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440) changed the world during the Renaissance, and ushered in the Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment, and Modern Age.

Carrots Improve Your Vision Fact

Carrots can improve your vision if your body is deficient in vitamin A, but the popularity of carrots has more to do with a food shortage during WWII than beta-carotene.

On Average, People Naturally Obey Authority Fact

The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures (and related studies) show that, on average and under the right conditions, people will obey authority figures despite moral objections.

Ada Lovelace Wrote the First Computer Program Myth

British mathematician Ada Lovelace can be considered the mother of computer programing, as she wrote the first complex algorithm meant to be carried out by a machine. However, it is a myth that Ada Lovelace wrote “the first computer program” or was “the first computer programmer”, that title belongs to Charles Babbage.

Blog Posts tagged with "Propaganda"

What is Criminal Virtue?

Criminal virtue is a concept eluded to in Machiavelli’s the Prince. It describes calculated “criminal acts” that can help one get ahead in politics.

National Populism and Deconstruction

Steve Bannon eluded to a “National Populist” “Deconstruction” agenda in a recent speech. We take a look at the historic meaning of those terms.

What is an Alternative Fact?

Alternative facts describe inconsistent sets of information submitted as plausible evidence for competing sides of a case/debate/argument.

Racial Codes and Dog-Whistle Politics

We discuss racial code words and “dog-whistle politics,” terms that describe the code words politicians use to imply politically incorrect ideas to their base.

Civil Religion

“Civil Religion” is “the religion” of the state. It doesn’t describe the theology of the state, but rather the shared identity built around national symbolism and customs.

Political Duopolies

We explain political duopolies by looking at the political duopoly in the United States of America and other historic duopolies.

The Origin of Politically Correct

The exact origin of the term politically correct isn’t known, but its first modern usage is from 1793 and the related political argument over tolerance is as old as politics itself.

The Bed of Nails Principle

The bed of nails principle states that while laying on one nail is enough to puncture a person’s skin, laying on many distributed nails isn’t.

Federalists and Anti-Federalists Explained

The Federalists and Anti-Federalists were America’s first political factions. They arose out of a debate over the ratification of the 1787 Constitution and went on to form the basis of our current two-party system.

Tolerance Paradoxes Explained

We explain paradoxes related to tolerance and Politically Correctness (PC), including “the paradox of tolerance” and “tolerance as a form of intolerance.”

What Does “Politically Correct” Mean?

Political Correctness (politically correct or PC), describes how much tolerance, sensitivity, censorship, and freedom of expression “is correct” in a given setting.

What is a Useful Idiot?

“Useful Idiot” is a political insult that describes a person who is, through manipulation or not, useful to a political cause that is not their own without fully realizing their role.

Conspiracy Theories Explained

Conspiracy theories are sets of one more speculative hypotheses, backed by fallacious reasoning, that suppose a conspiracy.