• meaghanharvey

Closing Contemporary Propaganda

1. What is propaganda? Forming a definition with endless opinions.

From the 1920's all the way until today, people have been trying to define propaganda. It almost seems that the definition of propaganda is propaganda itself, as the definition you choose is to help support you're reason. From the plethora of definitions provided, I have come up with this: People are becoming less and less likely to weigh and from independent opinion. The task of propaganda is to attract these lost followers and maintain collective attitudes. the power of propaganda depends on when it's used and its form of social control.

2. How propaganda and it's definition has changed over time.

I don't feel that the intent of propaganda has changed, but how we use it has. The human mind and society has developed since the start of propaganda and the propaganda had to adjust to new ideas and theories. Also the channel used to promote the propaganda has transformed. Before, there were posters made, for example, to promote propaganda. Then, we advance to television, where propaganda could reach a broader audience. Now, we have the internet, and the internet right at our finger tips reaching literally everyone in the world who has access to the web. from bots to memes, propaganda is so easily produced and spread it's a little scary.

3. Rubber stamps on the masses: Bernays

Bernays asserts that the masses possess "rubber stamps". Basically indicating that no individual has a unique mind, opinion, or view because one way or a another, all of us have been exposed to some kind of propaganda to influence our experience and opinions. The masses tend to think in duplicates- in an unoriginal way, with opinions most likely formed by literacy and culture. This blows my mind and really gets me thinking. I think Bernays is right: there are no original, authentic ideas because all of our ideas have been formed by previous experience and exposures!

4. The American ability to point out fake news.

The information in the report we read about Americans ability to critically analyze and recognize fake news left me with absolute no confidence that the American public has the knowledge and skills needed to critically analyze the kind of propaganda. In the article, it was said that fake news has many definitions, and is basically subjective. If we can't agree on what fake news is then we can't objectively analyze and determine what fake news is as a whole.

5. Propaganda VS. Journalism

I propaganda replacing journalism because journalist are kind of morphing into propagandist? This topic really interested me because I am a communications and public relations major. Propaganda is a mix of advocacy and journalism, but in a catchy way to sway its audience, therefore displacing traditional journalism. In order for journalist to keep up, they now need to produce more catchy headlines and stories to grasp and keep their audiences attention. But this just turns a journalist into a propagandist.

6. The Chilling Stories of Ryan Holiday: Cyberbullying

Ryan Holiday had a lot of jaw dropping stories in his book, Trust Me, I'm Lying. A story that hit home from part 2 of his book was the cyberbullying story. I feel that most students in the course felt this, with our generation, everyone has experienced cyberbullying one way or another. Ryan reminded me how easy it is to speak so negatively, so mean, over the internet. It reminds me to always be kind.

7. Networked Partisan Propaganda: Paranoia

Partisan propaganda holds the characteristics of propaganda through paranoid logic, and consistent political orientation within a mutually-reinforcing network of like-minded sites. I'm learning that even if you agree with the message of the propaganda, its still biased. When we had the assignment to post an example of current partisan propaganda on the wall, I couldn't believe how easy it was to find. Most political, and most effective due to paranoia.

8. Chomsky: Propaganda's Target Audience

Chomsky describes the two targeted groups for propaganda as the political class and the followers. The political class, who makes up about 20% of the population, are educated and informed and even articulate decision makers. The other 80% are uninformed and follow whatever news or propaganda that is presented to them. It is mind blowing to think that 80% of society can be easily swayed and fall into the trap of propaganda. I used to think I wouldn't fall into the trap, but I've learned that it is ultimately inevitable.

9. The Affect on Emotional Propaganda: Texting and Driving

I hate to admit it, but I look at my phone more that I should when driving. Sometimes it takes a video like this one to remind you of how dangerous it can be, and how many people it can affect. Right from the beginning, when X's sister talked about how he was swiped right from her hands, I had an emotional grasp to the video. While this is a PSA, it's not much different, even the same as propaganda. The class also discussed if big corporations should be expected to put our material such as this one. I don't think they should HAVE to, but as a PR minor, I think it would be good for the companies image to show they care.

10. As We Come to an End: Contemporary Propaganda

I can honestly say the only thing I knew about propaganda were the WWII posters, and Uncle Sam pointing his finger. I never knew the extent and the impact propaganda has on our everyday lives. I also never knew that I have fallen victim to it's traps more times than not. My favorite topic covered this semester was Bernays and the invisible government. But, ever topic was relevant and I will take the information with me in hopes to be more aware of the information being spread around me. Even in pop-culture, or as I previously explained in an assignment, the show Handmaids Tale is filled with propaganda. We are all a product of our exposures and experiences, we need to make sure these exposures are accurate.



Nielsen, R. K., & Graves, L. (2017). ‘News You Don’t Believe’: Audience Perspectives on Fake News. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Noam Chomsky: The Five Filters of the Mass Media Machine. Director: Al Jazeera English, 2017.


Video: https://spark.adobe.com/video/U7cCV82RDXGZ5

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