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What is Propaganda?

Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O ’ Donnell provide a pass and concise propaganda definition in their book Propaganda & Persuasion ( 2014 ). They write, “ Propaganda is the careful, taxonomic undertake to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct demeanor to achieve a reply that furthers the desire captive of the propagandist ” ( 7 ). In other words, propaganda is a systematic method acting of handling, and it ’ s quite a successful one. Propaganda has been employed extensively in the political sphere since the nineteenth hundred to further assorted agendas by politicians, opposing candidates, and special interest groups. Propaganda is used to highlight the negatives or positives of an mind, a person, or legislation. Hitler used propaganda extensively to promote his anti-semitic ideas and his vision for Germany in a post-World War I era. In the United States, propaganda was harnessed to boost esprit de corps for the general populace during war clock and for recruitment purposes .

Propaganda Examples

Propaganda relies heavily on ethos and pathos, and will only use logos if it accesses the other two. It international relations and security network ’ thyroxine terribly concerned with facts, figures, or truth ; alternatively, propaganda relies by and large on the emotional responses of its hearing to generate agreement and action. While students may recognize that there are similar techniques used in both propaganda and advertising, propaganda is generally considered to be a negative term, even though it can be applied to achieve convinced goals. ad is broadly not a damaging concept, although it does aim to psychologically prompt its target consultation into buying a merchandise. ad is primarily concerned with increasing sales ; propaganda, on the other hand, is more concerned with changing populace attitudes and policy .
Propaganda is defined by particular characteristics, which set it apart from aboveboard information, and normally reveal hidden or underhand motives. These characteristics include :

  • Appeals to the emotions ( pathos ) rather than intellect
  • information is value-laden and accesses audiences ’ judgments, prejudices, and feel of ethics ( ethos )
  • Uses selective information ; not balanced
  • Intentions or motives matter ; there is a specific goal for the information

Propaganda uses respective mediums to gain attention and aim audiences. These mediums include :

Visual and Audio Media
  • TV
  • radio
  • cinema
  • documentaries
  • commercials
  • songs
  • news
  • talk shows
  • websites
  • blogs
  • social media
  • social networking
Arts and Literature
  • paintings
  • posters
  • pamphlets
  • plays
  • performance art
  • comics
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • rallies
  • political events
  • concerts
  • sports events
  • public squares and town halls

There are very obvious uses of propaganda that many students will be familiar with, such as the anti-semitic propaganda of Nazi Germany, or the pro-war posters in the United States during World Wars I and II. Check out The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck, which was written as a pro-democracy novelette for the occupied countries of World War II. Steinbeck ’ s book was considered a huge success, and was covertly translated and passed out by underground rebels across Europe .
In reception to the rise of propaganda and concern that the general public did not know how to critically analyze information, the Institute of Propaganda Analysis was established in 1937 by Edward Filene, Kirtley Mather, and Clyde R. Miller. The function of the Institute was to provide the general public information about the types of propaganda, the tactics used in propaganda, and strategies to analyze it in rate to combat the psychological effects and success of such information. It operated until 1942, and it classified propaganda into seven samara categories .

Institute of Propaganda Analysis: Types of Propaganda


Creates a common sense of isolation for consultation members who have not so far joined the cause. It appeals powerfully to our sense of conformity and longing to belong to a part of a group .


endorsement by a well-known, well-liked celebrity, political figure, or other entity. This creates a sense of trust and likeability for the induce because of the person promoting it .

Plain Folks

endorsement by regular, ordinary people, to show how the policy or idea has helped them. This creates a smell of normality about the idea that ’ randomness being promoted, and shows how its achiever will fit into everyday life .


Employs techniques that access the audience ’ s preconceived positive feelings about something, and transfer them to the mind being promoted. It relies heavily on symbolism to connect the consultation ’ south emotions to the idea .


Uses names that evoke a negative emotional response, such as fear, anger, or aggravator. By comparing the person or estimate with something else that is hated, the audience creates an association between the two in their minds .

Card Stacking

Uses selective data to present only one side of an argument or story. This focus portrays the issue at bridge player unfairly, and many people may be swayed in one guidance or the other because of incomplete data.

Glittering Generalities

Uses powerfully loaded words that access the plus emotions of the prey audience. typically, glittering generalities employ the use of slogans, and carefully selected words in the slogans much appeal to the virtues the consultation holds beloved .

Books and plays that have been classified as propaganda :

Common Core State Standards

Although this activeness can be used for multiple rate levels, below are Common Core State Standards for Grades 9-10. Please see your Common Core State Standards for the right grade-appropriate strands .

  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the textbook, including figurative and connotative meanings ; analyze the accumulative shock of specific parole choices on intend and tone ( e.g., how the speech evokes a sense of time and place ; how it sets a courtly or informal spirit )
  • ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4: Produce clear and coherent spell in which the exploitation, organization, and stylus are allow to task, purpose, and hearing. ( Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above. )
  • ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology ’ sulfur capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically

A great direction to have students gain an understand of propaganda is to have them create propaganda of their own. On their own or in a group, have students select a rule or expression of school they dislike : detention, school lunches, homework, final examination, etc. then, have them spin it into something positive to promote it to their classmates. As they craft their plan, they should use one of the types of propaganda, and be able to explain how their scheme accesses the emotions of the audience. If they incorporate logos and ethos equally well, they should include that in their explanations. Have students create a storyboard they can present to the class that promotes their topic in a positive light .

Propaganda Class Assignment Choose an expression from school that is typically negative, and spin it into a incontrovertible promotional ad for your classmates. Utilize at least 5 kinds of propaganda in your storyboard, and label it below each scene you depict. Be prepared to present your storyboard to the class, and be able to explain each cell. Let ‘s see if you can change your classmates ‘ attitudes !

33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Propaganda Content and Techniques scholar depicts a minimum of 5 types of propaganda for their chosen school topic. Their finish product is creative, interesting, and makes good use of the propaganda techniques. The techniques used are used correctly, and the storyboard achieves its propaganda goals of being persuasive. scholar depicts a minimum of 5 types of propaganda for their chosen school topic. Their finished product is creative and coherent. Some techniques may be used incorrectly, or may be confused. The storyboard makes a good attempt at being a persuasive slice of propaganda. scholar depicts less than 5 types of propaganda for their chosen school subject. Their complete product lacks campaign. Some techniques may be used incorrectly, or may be confused or combined. The storyboard makes some undertake at being a persuasive objet d’art of propaganda, but it is limited.
artistic Depictions The art chosen to depict the scenes is allow and neat. time and worry is taken to ensure that scenes are attention-getting and creative. The art choose to depict the scenes is appropriate but may seem rushed. Some art may be randomly placed and miss of attention to detail is noticeable. The artwork choose to depict the scenes is inappropriate or excessively limited. Some scenes may have been left lacuna.
english Conventions

Ideas are organized. There are few or no grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors. Ideas are largely organized. There are some grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors. Ideas may be disorganized or misplaced. Lack of see over grammar, mechanics, and spelling reflect a lack of proofread.

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