Completed assignment Use of Stereotypes in Propaganda How do stereotypes function in Propaganda How well do they work in Propagandatactics To answer these questions satisfactorily, one needs to know what Propaganda is, as also what is meant by stereotypes.
Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist. (Garth S. Jowett amp. Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion. 1999)
And what are stereotypes The propagandist frequently tries to influence his audience by substituting favorable or unfavorable terms with an emotional connotation for neutral ones. (J.A.C. Brown, Techniques of Persuasion, Propaganda and Communications).
How does the substitution take place Red for Communist. Huns or Boches for Germans. Yids for Jews convey the propagandist’s animus against these groups. From the atrocity stories against the Saracens during the Crusades and ridiculous tales of Belgian priests used as human bell-clappers, falsehood has always been part of the propagandist’s stock-in-trade. (J. A. C. Brown. Techniques of Persuasion, Propaganda and Communications)
But how does this falsehood influence people Oliver Cromwell conjured up at pleasure terrible apparitions of agitators and levelers to frighten the respectable into supporting him. Napoleon Bonaparte used the Jacobin menace to stay in the saddle. President Bush exploited the Baghdad bogey to bolster up his position.
Indeed, James Thurber’s The Day the Dam Broke seems to offer a salutary paradigm of Bush administration’s policies on Iraq. In the short story, three men break into a preoccupied canter in downtown Columbus, Ohio, thereby spreading panic among fellow citizens. Within 10 minutes everybody else on the High Street is running. The townspeople are convinced that the dam has broken and is about to engulf them.
But what was the truth that was withheld from American people lest they should refuse to fall into the administration’s trap The truth, Bertrand Russell once said, is what the police require you to prove! That definition helps, has indeed helped, governments almost everywhere burn any heretic, real or imaginary, with that kind of rubric.
Between George Washington who could not tell a lie and Franklin D. Roosevelt who could not tell the truth stands Richard Nixon who cannot tell the difference (Harper magazine. March 1983). Bush could easily replace Nixon in this quote. Was he speaking the truth when he claimed that he wanted Saddam to go because he was allegedly harboring in his country Al Qaeda members, and that Iraq was making nuclear weapons In normal times, Americans would have asked him to tell that to the marines, but times were not normal when the President told them these untruths that, therefore, sounded credible. After all, America was still reeling under the tragic impact of 9/11. If a little more time had elapsed between that bestiality and the mendacity, an overwhelming majority of Americans would have turned round and told their President that Israel had more than 200 nuclear bombs, according to objective and credible international sources. and that nothing could be more risible than the charge that a secular (though a dictatorship) Iraq was a haven of refuge for religious terrorists.
Focusing on leaders’ thoughts is often a kind of propaganda. It involves repeating the government line without comment, thereby allowing journalists to claim neutrality as simple conduits supplying information. But it is not neutral to repeat the government line while ignoring critics of that line, as often happens. It is also not neutral to include milder criticism simply because it is voiced by a different section of the establishment, while ignoring more radical, but perhaps equally rational, critiques from beyond the State-corporate pale. A big lesson of history is that it is wrong to assume that power, or ‘respectability’, confers rationality. (David Edwards. Turning Towards Iraq. Media Lens)
Given all the revelations discrediting President Bush’s reasons for war with Iraq, one may wonder why many Americans still linked Saddam to 9/11. The reason for such a belief is that the American people were repeatedly told by the President and his inner circle that Saddam’s evil alone was enough to be linked to 9/11, and that, given time, he would have used his weapons against us. With propaganda you don’t need facts per se, just the best facts put forward. If these make sense to people, then they don’t need proof like one might need in a courtroom. (Nancy Snow, a self-confessed erstwhile propagandist for the US Information Agency, and author of Propaganda Inc. Selling America’s Culture to the World, in The ‘Prop-Agenda’ at War. Inter Press Service. June 27, 2004). The Bush administration succeeded in driving the agenda and milking the story (maximizing media coverage of a particular issue by careful media management).When a country goes off to war, so does its media with it. The news media were caught up in the rally-round-the-flag syndrome. They were forced to choose a side and, given the choices, whose side did they logically choose but the US (Nancy Snow. The ‘Prop-Agenda’ at War).
Meanwhile, one day Americans woke up to the sensational revelation that there had been plenty of fake and prepackaged news created by US government departments, such as the Pentagon and the State Department, and disseminated through the mainstream media. The Bush administration has aggressively used public relations to prepackage news. A number of these news segments are made to look like local news (either by the government department or by the receiving broadcaster). sometimes these reports have fake reporters, such as when a ‘reporter’ covering air safety was actually a public relations professional working under a false name for the Transportation Security Administration. other times there is no mention that a video segment is produced by the government. where there is some attribution, news stations simply rebroadcast them, but sometimes without attributing the source. these segments have reached millions. this benefits both the government and the broadcaster. this could amount to propaganda within the US and internationally. (The New York Times. May 20, 2005)
In 1921, the famous American journalist Walter Lippmann said that the art of democracy requires what he called the manufacture of consent. This phrase is an Orwellian euphemism for thought control. The idea is that in a state, such as the US, where the government cannot control the people by force, it had better control what they think. The Soviet Union is at the other end of the spectrum from us in its domestic freedoms. (Noam Chomsky. Propaganda, American-style) The then Soviet Union is essentially a country run by the bludgeon. It’s very easy to determine what propaganda is in the USSR. what the State produces is propaganda.Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to totalitarianism.For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in totalitarian societies, much less so in the propaganda system to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments. (Noam Chomsky. Propaganda, American-style. 1986)
Why does propaganda, though patently based on lies, work There are several reasons. For one thing, people wish to believe the best about themselves and their country. For another, fear-mongering, especially about threat to cherished values, such as freedom and justice, lulls them into belief. For yet another, presentation of fears and claims that appear logical and factual does the trick. Media management and public relations are very professional. Finally, thoughts are managed by narrowing down ranges of debate, thus minimizing widely discussed thoughts that deviate from the main agendas. (Anup Shah. War, Propaganda and the Media)
But propaganda is a peacetime plague too. Common tactics in propaganda often used by either side include use of selective stories that come over as wide-ranging and objective, partial facts or historical context, reinforcing reasons and motivations to act due to threats to security of the individual, narrow sources of ‘experts’ to provide insights into the situation (for example, the mainstream media typically interview retired military personnel for conflict-related issues, or treat government sources as factual rather than as one perspective that needs to be verified and researched), ‘demonizing’ the ‘enemy’ who does not fit into the picture of what is ‘right’, use of a narrow range of discourse whereby judgments are often made while the boundary of discourse itself, or the framework within which the opinions are formed, is often not discussed. The narrow focus then helps to serve the interests of the propagandist. (Anup Shah. War, Propaganda and the Media)
Balance, for most journalists, means ensuring that statements made by those challenging the establishment are balanced with statements by those whom they are criticizing, though not necessarily the other way round. (David Edwards. Turning Towards Iraq. Media Lens). Talk of leaders’ hopes teaches us to empathize with their wishes by personalizing issues. For instance, that ‘(Tony) Blair desperately hopes to build bridges in Middle East’ is also a kind of propaganda based on false assumptions. It assumes that the reality of politicians’ ‘hopes’ —their intentions, motivations and goals—is identical to the appearance. Machiavelli was kind enough to explain what every politician knows, and what almost all corporate media journalists feign not to know: ‘It is not essential , then, that a Prince should have all the good qualities which I have enumerated above (mercy, good faith, integrity, humanity, and religion), but it is most essential that he should seem to have them. I will even venture to affirm that if he has and invariably practices them all, they are hurtful.’ (David Edwards: Turning Towards Iraq. Media Lens) (1,570 words)
List of References Cited:
Garth S. Jowett amp. Victoria O’Donnell. Propaganda and Persuasion. 1999
J. A. C. Brown: Techniques of Persuasion, Propaganda, and Communications. 1964. http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/pg/propaganda/JACBrown.htm
James Thurber: The Day the Dam Broke
Harper magazine. March 1983
Anup Shah: War, Propaganda and the Media. March 31, 2005.
http://www.globalissues.org/HumanRights/ Media/Military. asp.
David Edwards: Turning Towards Iraq. Media Lens. Nov.27, 2001
Noam Chomsky: Propaganda, American-style. interview conducted
by David Barsamian of KGNU-Radio in Boulder, Colorado. June 20, 1986
Nancy Snow: The ‘Prop-Agenda’ at War. interview with Mirren Guiterraz. Inter Press Service. June 27, 2004
The New York Times. May 20, 2005