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PROPAGANDA ANALYSIS. A 10-step plan of propaganda analysis. The warfare metaphor. The destruction of the enemy’s will to resist, and with a minimum annihilation of fighting capacity (H. Lasswell, 1951). Step 1: The Ideology and Purpose of the Propaganda Campaign.

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propaganda analysis


A 10-step plan of propaganda analysis

the warfare metaphor
The warfare metaphor
  • The destruction of the enemy’s will to resist, and with a minimum annihilation of fighting capacity

(H. Lasswell, 1951)

step 1 the ideology and purpose of the propaganda campaign
Step 1: The Ideology and Purpose of the Propaganda Campaign
  • Ideology: A value system or belief system accepted as fact or truth by some group.
  • It is composed of sets of attitudes toward the various institutions and processes of society.
  • An ideology provides the believer with a picture of the world both as it is and as it should be.
  • It organizes the complexity of the world into something fairly simple and understandable
the purpose of the propaganda campaign is
The Purpose of the Propaganda Campaign is:
  • to achieve acceptance of propagandist’s ideology by the people
  • to establish a set of values that provides the basis for determining what is good, bad, right or wrong
propaganda may incorporate such elements of ideology as references to
Propaganda may incorporate such elements of ideology as references to:
  • preexisting struggles and past situations
  • current frames of reference and value systems
  • future goals and objectives
step 2 the context in which propaganda occurs
Step 2: The Context in Which Propaganda Occurs
  • Considerations of historical background, existing beliefs and values, prevailing social myths, prevailing public mood, etc.
the use of myth
The use of myth
  • A story or event that illuminates the key values of some society or association: the original events can be real, but they serve unreal imaginary beliefs (e.g., that of national superiority)
national glory and national suffering
National glory and national suffering
  • “Suffering” of American Colonists in the late 1700s.
  • “Glorious victory” against the British
  • September 11, 2001
  • D-Day, Pearl Harbor, “Remember Alamo!”
reshaping myths images
Reshaping myths / images

Japan: from militaristic aggressor in the 1930s and 1940s to a victim of the atomic bomb

East Germany: from former center of Nazism to an anti-fascist peace loving

prejudice hate
Prejudice / Hate
  • The cult of hatred and xenophobia is the cheapest and surest method to persuade masses.
the use of myth national stereotypes once more
The use of myth: national stereotypes (once more)
  • Backward: Poor, Lazy, Ignorant, Indolent, Submissive, Inefficient (but: Proud, Polite, Traditional, Easygoing)
  • Advanced: Enterprising, Ambitious, Industrious, Intelligent, Progressive, Efficient, Successful (but: Ruthless, Aggressive, Money-hungry, Cunning)
step 3 identification of the propagandist
Step 3: Identification of thePropagandist

Usually an institution or organization

It could be open or concealed

the international council for democratic institutions
The International Council for Democratic Institutions
  • The Case for Independence of Transdniestria
america supports you pentagon http www americasupportsyou mil americasupportsyou index aspx
America Supports You (Pentagon)
  • First year cost to private PR firm about $3,000,000
  • Students at an Oklahoma schools collected $600 for ASY
step 4 structure of propagandist
Step 4: Structure of Propagandist
  • Usually strong, centralized, decision-making authorities produce consistent messages throughout their structure.
  • Leadership influential in setting general tone and approach.
  • Structure produces long term goals and short term objectives.
propaganda organization
Propaganda organization
  • What is the internal culture of the organization?
  • What is its ideology?
  • Who are the members of the organization and how do they get to be members?
  • To whom does the organization release information about itself?
source credibility
Source Credibility
  • What is the audience’s perceived image of the source? How does the propagandist establish identification with the audience?
  • How does the propagandist work through those who have credibility in a community? (opinion leaders).
  • How does the propagandist provide opportunities for face-to-face contact?
step 5 target audience
Step 5: Target Audience
  • The propaganda message is aimed at the audience most likely to be useful to the propagandist if it responds favorably.
  • How is the target audience identified and reached?
step 6 media utilization techniques
Step 6: Media Utilization Techniques
  • Which media? One dominant or a combination of many?
  • Flow of communication: from one medium to another; from media to groups and individuals.
  • Are there competing media? (opportunity for counterpropaganda)
  • How is the message presented?
  • Effectiveness? (how do we know this?)
step 7 types of techniques
Step 7: Types of Techniques
  • Predispositions of the Audience (Resonance)
  • Source Credibility
  • Reward and Punishment
  • Fear, Intimidation
  • Arousal of Emotions

Visual Symbols



predispositions of the audience creating resonance
Predispositions of the Audience: Creating Resonance
  • Messages that are supportive of, rather than discrepant from, commonly held views of the people are more likely to be effective.
  • The propagandist links audiences beliefs with the propagandistic ideology.
  • The propagandist uses knowledge of audience’s norms and values
reward and punishment
Reward and Punishment
  • For example, uses of aid to secure compliance with foreign policy.
weapons of intimidation
Weapons of intimidation
  • For example
  • Aztec’s terror of religious blood sacrifice and cannibalism (some orgies lasted days and killed thousands victims)
  • They sharply lowered Aztec’s enemies will to resist
weapons of intimidation1
Weapons of intimidation
  • Hernando Cortes’ use of horses against Aztecs.
  • The Aztecs thought the Spaniards on their horses at first a single, two-headed giant animals.
weapons of intimidation2
Weapons of intimidation
  • Terror of rape when the Red Army entered German territory in 1945 (officially prohibited)
  • Terror of rape in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s
weapons of intimidation3
Weapons of intimidation
  • Portsmouth Peace Treat 1905 between Russia and Japan
  • Organized by Roosevelt in Portsmouth to show the might of the U.S. Navy
arousal of emotions
Arousal of Emotions

Language Usage

Music as Propaganda

Visuals Symbols

language used
Language Used
  • Propaganda uses language that tends to deify a cause and ‘satanize’ opponents. Exaggeration is often associated with propaganda. Likewise, innuendo
the use of language
The Use of Language
  • The way an object is described directs our thoughts and channel our cognitive responses (positive or negative)
  • Example of “Name Calling”: The condemning of an idea on its face by giving it a bad label regardless of the evidence.
the use of language1
The Use of Language
  • “voodoo-economics” Bush Sr.
  • “Death tax” (inheritance tax)
  • Boston Massacre March 5, 1770
  • “Red Menace and the Jewish Problem”
  • “A kindlier, gentler America” (Bush Sr.)
  • “Honorable peace” (Nixon)
  • “The Man from Hope” (Clinton)
the use of language2
The Use of Language
  • The War or the Defense Department
  • Collateral damage
  • The war against drugs, terrorism…
  • The war on poverty
  • Big business, Big oil, Tax on the Rich
  • 75% lean or 25% fat?
  • “New and Improved”
language self fulfilling prophecy
Language: Self-fulfilling prophecy
  • The tendency for a definition of a situation to evoke behavior that makes that definition come true
asymmetrical definition
Asymmetrical definition
  • The deliberate use of audience-familiar words that evoke shared meanings but are not shared by the source of the message for the purpose of deception.
  • “Peace” used by the Nazis. Hitler always portrayed himself as “peace-loving”
  • “Democracy” used by the communists.
hitler s speech 1941
Hitler’s speech 1941
  • What offers did I make them! How I begged them to be reasonable! I begged them to see reason. My speeches were all governed by the one idea:it must be possible to find a method for a peaceful solution. What we are doing is making a sacrifice in the interest of peace. We make this sacrifice, but we, at least, want to have peace in exchange for it.
hitler s speech 19411
Hitler’s speech 1941
  • I held out my hand, again and again. We have not asked them for anything, not demanded anything, again and again I offered my hand for negotiations. It was in vain. I held out my hand to England. I was received with derision. They practically spat at me. They were indignant.
hitler s speech 19412
Hitler’s speech 1941
  • We are involved in a war which we did not want. Otherwise one could not stretch out one's hand to the other side. However, if those financial hyenas want war, if they want to exterminate Germany, they will get the surprise of their lives.
hitler s speech 19413
Hitler’s speech 1941
  • The year which lies behind us has been a year of great successes, but also, it is true, one of many sacrifices. Our whole sympathy, our love and care belongs to those who had to make these sacrifices. That the Lord should not abandon us in this struggle of the coming year—Let that be our prayer.
hitler s speech
Hitler’s speech
hitler s messianic rhetoric
Hitler’s messianic rhetoric

“Lord, you see, we have changed.

The German people is no longer the people without honour, of disgrace, tearing itself apart, faint-hearted, and weak in faith.

No, Lord, the German people is strong again in its will…”

hitler s messianic rhetoric1
Hitler’s messianic rhetoric

“How can we not once again feel in this hour the miracle which has brought us together.

You have once heard the voice of a man, and it has struck your hearts, it has awakened you, and you have followed this voice...

Now we are together, we are with him and he is with us, and we are now Germany.”

goebbels on hitler
Goebbels on Hitler

Hitler’s election is a religion in the deepest and most mysterious sense of the word

in which a nation professed its belief in God,

through its spokesman and put its fate and life trustingly in his hands

music as propaganda
Music as Propaganda
  • Music combines sound and language and is repeated until it becomes familiar. It touches the emotions easily, suggestions associations and past experiences, invites us to sing along and embraces ideology in the lyrics.
national anthems
National Anthems
  • Casablanca French National Anthem
  • Soviet Union
  • Apocalypse Now
visual symbols
Visual Symbols
  • Symbols of power, nationalism, patriotism, unity, etc.
  • For example:
  • flags, monuments, historical figures, battle scenes,
  • the use of colors
  • V.I.Lenin 5/5/1920
  • The original picture (right) with Trotsky
  • O.J. Simpson 1994
  • Sept. 2006 Beirut.
  • Photographer Adnan Hajj from Reuters
  • Diego Rivera historical murals
  • Acropolis
step 8 audience reaction
Step 8: Audience Reaction

Indicated/measured by opinion polls, public behavior, voting, media reports, etc.

Other evidence might include rate of recruitment to the propaganda organization, contributions, audience adoption of slogans, language, attire, etc.

step 9 counterpropaganda
Step 9: Counterpropaganda
  • This may be above ground or below ground.
  • Direct counter-propaganda
  • In metaphorical forms in literature and theatre.
step 10 effects
Step 10: Effects
  • Effects and Evaluation
  • Has the propagandist achieved his goals?