Thursday, 16 February 2017

What are the propaganda techniques used by propagandists?

"How does the propagandist go about his task? There are certain simple rules and principles Of propaganda that the psychologist sees, although the majority of propagandists are probably unaware of the principles they use, but they find their methods work, and they are extremely clever in utilizing certain basic psychological principles.

The first of these propaganda principles is to connect the idea or object you are propagandizing with some attitude, symbol, or emotion that people already know and feel strongly about. The propagandist must, then, know people. Herr Goebbels has one rule of propaganda, which is to see with the eyes of the masses. 

Propagandists must use symbols that are rich in their emotional meaning, symbols that appeal to broad, general attitudes or sentiments which are so vague that people may be for or against them emotionally and yet not know precisely what such symbols mean. Take, for example, the often repeated symbols of justice, beauty, liberty, economy, patriotism. 

To these and other such attitudes, we find the propagandist connecting soaps, cigarettes, political campaigns, and appeals to join the army. Vague emotionally toned words such as "communist," "Red, Moscow, atheist, slacker," etc., are used to arouse us against individuals whom the propagandist labels uncritically.

These vague words that most people dislike, they also do not clearly understand. This simple rule of propaganda is so frequently used that the layman is by now more or less aware of the propagandist's trick. Hence the propagandist must resort to his second principle in order to conceal his purpose or to make it socially acceptable. 

The second principle is to build up a new attitude around your product or idea by using Subtle, Concealed suggestion. In using this technique, the propagandist frequently tries to get his propaganda into newspapers as news or as editorial opinion. 

In this he is highly successful, and a large proportion of the news in even the best news- papers of the country may be seen as propaganda by the student acquainted with the techniques and aims of the various interest groups now trying to influence public opinion. Another method for building up the public attitudes regarding someone's pet idea is to disguise propaganda as explanation. 

This is a device frequently employed by those already in power. Here we find, as perhaps the most glaring example, the efforts of the public utilities to enlist the co-operation of educators so that the educators will teach, without knowing it, the things that would preserve the interests of those who now control utilities. 

Textbook writers are influenced, college professors are hired to write and speak for the interests, technical journals are used to "explain" or rationalize the selfish interests of those behind the scenes. Another example Of Such ' 'explanation" is the propaganda of the New Deal in its early days. 

Since the use of this particular method is so dependent upon the situation in question and the tenor of the times, great companies and powerful individuals now hire experts in propaganda who call themselves public relations counsels, and whose business it is to feel the public's pulse in all classes and vocations and find out where the people are most gullible. 

The public relations counsel, then, once hired, Will work for his client through the newspapers, through the radio, through medical journals, through high-school textbooks, and through cutouts for the kiddies."

Reference: The English Journal page: 218