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Propaganda Techniques

A summary of the ways individuals and


organisations attempt to manipulate
public opinion

Based on ideas from Standler (2005) and liberally sprinkled


with pictures pulled of the internet with gay abandon
Name Calling
As this example shows,
both linguistic and visual
techniques can be used
to denigrate an
opponent.
Pejorative Labels
While general insults can be effective, it is
particularly effective to using labels that carry
particular stigma. Examples are “extremist”,
“radical”, “liberal”, “communist”.
Glittering Generality
This refers to a technique where
positive concepts are asserted in
a vague and general way about
the side for which the writer is
trying to gain support. Typical
examples include:

good, Christian, decent folk,
common Americans

hero, brave, courageous

honesty, honour, justice, liberty
Transfer: the victim
Victims can be
effectively used to
transfer natural
human empathy for
the victim to a cause
that (s)he is identified
with.
Transfer: the institution
Certain groups or institutions carry authority.
Associating a scientific or academic group with a
cause can add validity in the eyes of many.
Transfer: the authority
A similar technique is to transfer the prestige of an
individual to a cause. One example of this is how
both atheists and Christians have attempted to
enlist Einstein's support.
Just Plain folks

An attempt to
identify with
common people,
thereby
establishing a
feeling of
solidarity
Cherry Picking

Presenting
information
selectively in order
to omit facts that
are not desirable
Us and Them: Community

Belonging to a community is a powerful human


moral motivator.
Us and Them: the Bandwagon

Encouraging people to side with the majority


preys on our fear of exclusion
Us and Them: The False Dichotomy
More fundamentally, the whole concept of “us and
them” is underlined by the fallacious assumption
of a binary choice.

“Either you are


with us, or you
are with the
terrorists.”
George W. Bush,
20/11/2001
The Fear Factor

Emotive
manipulation is
a mainstay of
propaganda:
appealing to
patriotic pride
and evoking
fear are both
very common
References

Standler, Ronald B. (2005) Propaganda and How to Recognize it.


http://www.rbs0.com/propaganda.pdf