Propaganda In Elections
Have you ever seen a TV commercial portraying a disastrous automobile
accident, and then you reminds you to wear your seatbealts?!?! Believe it or not,
that’s using a technique in propaganda called the fear appeal.
Propaganda is more widespread than people picture. Propaganda is being
used for everything from the baby food you feed your child to the TV commercial
you laughed at yesterday night.
There are many techniques that a propagandist can use to seduce you.
Some of the best known styles in propaganda are Plain Folk, Fear, Name Calling,
and Glittering Generality,
In this year’s elections, propaganda has played an important role in who
was elected. This year’s presidential candidates were all millionaires, but they
have gone to great lengths to present themselves as ordinary citizens. Bill
Clinton eats at Mc Donald’s and read a variety of spy novels. Bob Dole presents
himself as the “all American boy” from the Heartland. In this two examples the
plain folk device is at work.
When either presidential candidates agitates the public’s fear of
immigration, taxes, or crime and voting for him will reduce the threat he is
using the Fear Appeal. By playing on the public’s deep-seated fears,
practitioners of this technique hopes to redirect the merits of a proposal and
towards steps that can be taken to reduce the fear.
Propaganda has had a tremendously powerful role in the history of the
world and in our own development. It has stirred both men and women to
unprecedented feats and ruined reputations.
What comes to mind when you think of a racist person? I imagine an angry
white male with a Ku Kux Klan costume. I rarely think of the other racists, the
African-Americans, the Latino-Americans, the Asian-Americans and the rest of
whom believe they are the superior race. Why do people as myself picture this
image when we think of a racist person? I’ll tell you so, it’s because we have
been “trained” to make the presumption racist equals white male in kkk costume.
That’s the Name Calling device at work! It links a person to a negative idea or
Glittering Generality is in short Name Calling in reverse, while the
Name Calling device ties a person to a negative idea, the Glittering Generality
technique makes us approve and except something without careful examination.
Since war is especially distasteful, the military is of course full of
euphemisms. In the 1940’s the US changed the name of the War Department to the
Department of Defense. During the Reagon Administration, the MX-Missile, a
nuclear weapon, was re-named “The Peacekeeper”.
In conclusion, as Alfred Lee once said, ” Propaganda is opinion
expressed for the purpose of influencing actions of individuals or groups…
Propaganda thus differs fundamentally from scientific analysis. The propagandist
tries to “put something across,” good or bad. The scientist does not try to put
anything across; he devotes his life to the discovery of new facts and
principles. The propagandist seldom wants careful scrutiny and criticism; his
object is to bring about a specific action. The scientist, on the other hand, is
always prepared for and wants the most careful scrutiny and criticism of his
facts and ideas. Science flourishes on criticism. Dangerous propaganda crumbles
before it.” THE END