“REALITY IS ONE THING,
PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING.”
I. WHAT IS PROPAGANDA?
Most people become easy prey for propaganda because of the common misconception that it only consists of lies. Thus, when subjected to propaganda, people unconsciously believe that propaganda is all lies. And because the information they are being exposed to seems to be “true,” they never figure it to be propaganda. As a result, instead of becoming suspicious, or critical, they fully embrace the mediated information and fall victim to its consequences. Effective propaganda is based in TRUTH. If propaganda was all lies, it would have no base of legitimacy and people would be able to discredit it rather easily.
II. GOALS OF PROPAGANDA.
. To change people’s attitudes.(preclude to action)
. Lead people to action. (action based on newly acquired attitudes)
III. CHARACTERISTICS OF PROPAGANDA.
1. The Masses And The Individual: Inseparable.
2. Propaganda Targets The Average Person. (through television)
3. Propaganda Inspires A Collective. (so we all think alike)
4. Propaganda Must Be “TOTAL.” (every media type saying the same thing)
5. Propaganda Must Be CONTINUOUS. (no looking back; no reflecting)
1. The Masses And The Individual: Inseparable.
Propaganda must appeal to the masses. Yet at the same time, it must seem to be made for the individual. Propaganda must also have some appeal on a personal level. This is done through the media. For example, when Oprah is presented during a commercial break for ABC, she says something like, “Be sure to watch 9 News tonight with Mike Landis and Ed Sardella” (Denver anchors). This makes the average person feel as though a “big” news personality is on a common footing with the local news anchors; adding to both of their easy identification and thus macro-credibility. This technique is repeated in New York, Los Angeles, and other metropolises throughout the nation.
TV has become a staple of American leisure. In fact, television sets have become larger and larger and come in High Definition (HD) that projects the images in larger-than-life size.
An interesting thing happened to me when I was watching one of the first broadcasts on the large cable television satellite dishes. We were viewing the Final Four college basketball tournament at a time when there were no commercials shown to those who were watching via the dish. When conventional TV was showing commercials, the cable feed was identical to those seen by the TV station. When normal TV-watchers were shown a commercial, we were able to see “behind the scenes” as did the TV station monitors. For example, we would watch as the make-up artist came and fixed the makeup on the commentators. We would also see video that was being up-linked and down-linked while the commercials were being shown. These types of broadcasts are no longer available to the viewing public. In other words, we could see the wizard behind the curtains.
Up-link & down-link diagram
During those broadcasts, we were able to see the TV spots with Oprah and other celebrities as their ads were downloaded from New York and Los Angeles. These “spots” were downloaded specifically for the Denver market. They would be downloaded during the same time the station was showing commercials to the regular viewers.
2. Propaganda Targets The Average Person.
If a person is too educated in a certain area, it is hard for propaganda to lead them astray in any matter related to that subject. On the other hand, if the person is illiterate or poor (i.e. can’t read or afford a TV), the propaganda will have no affect on them; because it will never reach these types of people. Think about this, How much of your information do you get via television? Think about how pervasive television is? TV is so widespread, that it’s even designed to be in bars WITHOUT SOUND!!! Sports and news channels have information that is visible and readable without sound. TV has been around for a very long time and is here for the foreseeable future. And at the dawn of the 21st-Century, they are getting larger and clearer (HD).
TV has become a main staple of American culture.
Color TV emerges.
RED REPRESENTS 400-820 television sets per 1000 people!!! And this is 1990s data.
Imagine what this is today with cell phones and iPod phones etc.
3. Propaganda Inspires A Collective.
A population which is subjected to effective propaganda behaves as a collective. The propaganda is weaved into the social and cultural fabric, the very heart of society itself. Each member of the society possesses a similar consciousness because of similar upbringings and socialization. Hence, their attitudes are similar, and thus, so are their actions.
4. Propaganda Must Be “TOTAL”.
In order for propaganda to be effective, it must not allow any outside points of reference; it must be TOTAL. The television must be conveying the same message as the radio, the movies, the newspaper, and any other important print media (i.e. stamps, coins, dollars, books etc.). If all of the mediums are saying the same thing, IT MUST BE REALITY. This particular technique is called ORCHESTRATION. It is similar to a symphony.
The conductor must manage a variety of “parts” (instruments) simultaneously.
The government doesn’t necessarily appreciate that they are not able to control much of the content that is published to the Internet. The FCC can control the TV, the radio and even the newspapers. However, they cannot control the Internet. In fact, in the beginning years of the Internet, universities would not allow students to cite information from the Internet as valid research sources. In some colleges, this trend is only now receding since the Internet has become a staple of American social interaction.
5. Propaganda Must Be CONTINUOUS (In Order To Be Lasting)
Have you ever tried to swim upstream? If you have tried, you are aware of the insurmountable difficulty of the task. Propaganda is like a stream, it catches people in its current. The swiftness of the current further reduces outside references: no time to reflect in a barrage of information and color. When there is less reflecting on controversial issues, there is also less resistance to them.
Put another way, in order for propaganda to be “lasting,” it has to be able to resist self-reflection. Thus, media hits you with NEW stories every few days. New BAM! New BAM! New BAM! This makes it difficult for a person to go back and reflect on any PAST issue or story. Thus, we stay in the stream and think the past is already reconciled/ finished.
One that features another way to conceptualize this phenomenon is to think of a special issue of LIFE magazine; one which features all the covers in chronological order. The thumbnail reproductions of the covers all have a theme. One can thus easily view the theme changes when the covers are viewed in such a manner; side-by-side. The eye can visually notice the change in themes, even with a quick glance and assessment.
Another trick used by the talking heads is to use “historical memories.” These are moments in time when there is a lull in the stream and by bringing up the past (as in post-modernism’s pastiche), the continuous stream is maintained and the consciousness is maintained by filling in the lull with a re-hash of an historical event. The JFK assassination is a popular one. D-Day is a popular one. It can be anything really. As long as it’s famous/ infamous and historical, it can act as an historical marker.
“Untold” stories of a known past event.
Past issues like the assassination of JFK make it appear as though we do in fact look back at issues, but how do these types of programs normally end? As a confirmation of the “official” story.
EXAMPLES OF MEDIA AND PROPAGANDA
How Propaganda Helped Topple Salvador Allende’s Socialist Government in Chile: 1973
pete padilla real world sociology