What is propaganda?

A image with the word propaganda revolution market poster patriotism

Propaganda is something that is intentionally propagated to change or control the viewpoints/opinions of the general public. Dr. Cantril, associate professor of psychology at Princeton University, defines it as the "expression of opinion or action by individuals or groups deliberately designed to influence opinions or actions of other individuals or groups with reference to predetermined ends."

Propaganda's are generally spread in the form of news articles, images, videos, songs, posters, graphs, statistics etc. According to American historical association:

Propaganda isn’t an easy thing to define, but most students agree that it has to do with any ideas or beliefs that are intentionally propagated.

It uses words and word substitutes in trying to reach a goal—pictures, drawings, graphs, exhibits, parades, songs, and other devices.

Of course propaganda is used in controversial matters, but it is also used to promote things that are generally acceptable and non-controversial.

So there are different kinds of propaganda. They run all the way from selfish, deceitful, and subversive effort to honest and aboveboard promotion of things that are good.

All propaganda's aren't false or deceitful. In fact, the very best propaganda's are generally based on facts. Propaganda's are generally classified to three types:

1. White Propaganda

This is the kind of propaganda that truthfully states its source. According to the Wikipedia entry, white propaganda: "it is the most common type of propaganda. It generally comes from an openly identified source, and is characterized by gentler methods of persuasion than black propaganda." Biased one sided articles written in reputable news websites are this type of propaganda.

A poster about CNN's bias in support of the regime of Bahrain

2. Black propaganda

Black propaganda is false information and material that purports to be from a source on one side of a conflict, but is actually from the opposing side. It is typically used to vilify, embarrass, or misrepresent the enemy.[1] In simple words, doing something distasteful and then accusing the opponent of doing it.

Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty quote by Nazi propaganda minister

Example: After the Syria chemical attack of April 2017, the Syrian and Russian government accused the rebels of perpetrating the attack. But all the circumstantial evidence indicate that it was perpetrated by the Syrian Regime. And evidence observed by Human Rights Watch show that a soviet or Russian bomb was used in the attack. So, the Russian government and the Assad regime is accusing the other side of which they are guilty.

3. Grey propaganda

Grey propaganda is propaganda that has no identifiable source or author. Claims made with no evidence by politicians, governments, TV News broadcasters are this type of propaganda.

Malcolm X said that Malcolm X quote: If you are not careful, the newspaper will have you hating the people who are oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing

Aldous Huxlay - the propagandists purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5