TODAY’S WORD ON JOURNALISM–Friday, Dec. 2, 2005
Courtesy of Ted Pease, WORDmeister & Professor of Interesting Stuff at Utah State University, Logan, Utah:
News Flash: U.S. military, CIA plant positive stories about U.S. occupation in Iraqi press.
“It may seem strange to suggest that the study of propaganda has relevance to contemporary politics. After all, when most people think about propaganda, they think of the enormous campaigns that were waged by Hitler and Stalin in the 1930s. . . . But propaganda can be as blatant as a swastika or as subtle as a joke. Its persuasive techniques are regularly applied by politicians, advertisers, journalists, radio personalities, and others who are interested in influencing human behavior. Propagandistic messages can be used to accomplish positive social ends, as in campaigns to reduce drunk driving, but they are also used to win elections and to sell malt liquor. As Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson (1991) point out, ‘[E]very day we are bombarded with one persuasive communication after another. These appeals persuade not through the give-and-take of argument and debate, but through the manipulation of symbols and of our most basic human emotions. For better or worse, ours is an age of propaganda.'”