Propaganda is a form of communication that attempts to influence public opinion and achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist through falsifying facts or presenting facts selectively. Unlike propaganda, method of persuasion is more interactive and attempts to satisfy the interests of both persuader and target group.
Initially, Latin word ‘Propaganda’ was a neutral term implying the dissemination and promotion of a certain idea. Origins of this word are related to the missionary organization Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Evangelization of People) established by Vatican in 1622, main purpose of which was to spread Catholicism. Starting from the 18th century, this term was also used in relation to secular activities, but later it gradually gained a negative connotation in the field of politics.
There are two types of propaganda – black and white:
- White propaganda comes from an identified source and the content of the message is true or close to truth.
- Black propaganda covers its sources or indicates other, incorrect sources and the content of the message is based on a lie, fabrication and conspiracies.
Propaganda has following features:
- Mislead and influence cognition;
- intent to do harm;
- purposeful and intentional;
Methods and Techniques of Propaganda
In order to identify propaganda and measure its influence, It is important to learn propaganda methods and techniques.
Three stage model
3-stage model of propaganda simultaneously aimed at 1) creating threats artificially; 2) sowing distrust and hopelessness towards democratic institutions and partners; and 3) offering alternatives for overcoming threats and hopelessness.
Weaponization of religion/Information
propaganda utilizes religion and information as a weapon, when intentionally manipulating with the human feelings and individual identity, while appealing to common values and the threat of losing one’s identity.
Deflective Source Model
deflective source model attempts to create a deflective source (hiding the original source) for the purpose of legitimizing a message or false information. In this case, the receiver perceives the information as coming directly from the medium (deflective source), which published it, and does not associate it with the original source.
Social media as a source of misinformation
Social media is often used as a source for disseminating fake news. In such a case, social media offers information provided by one party and not double-checked with independent sources. Tabloid online or print news media uses this method to disseminate fake news, thus legitimizing unverified news released via social media.
technique implies continuously repeating one and the same idea. This may be an idea, or a simple motto which is repeated so often that people come to believe it.
The false dilemma
The false dilemma i.e. an “either/or” reasoning means claiming that there are only two options of a situation, and giving preference to either of the two, ignoring any additional option.
Whataboutism is a technique which, instead of responding to accusations or complex issues, either makes counter-accusations or move the focus to a different issue, thus trying to shift the attention from the object of criticism and/or justify this object by using inaccurate comparisons and manipulative moral discourse.
facts or statements are partially true. This occurs when information is correct, but it is offered selectively, or key facts are omitted.
Creation of Simulation Evidence
use of such authentic documents/facts, which create an illusion of the existence of evidence but are actually irrelevant to the accusations for illustration of which this evidence had been used.
Changing Quotes, Sources and Context
misinterpretation of facts, statements and sources, aimed at sowing doubts and creating false perceptions among the audience.
Conspiracy Theories & Pseudo-Science – promote sowing fear and doubts among the population. Scientific and expert opinions, as well as authentic scientific papers are totally neglected. It is difficult to break through the circle of conspiracies, because the propagandists depict the facts debunking conspiracies as yet another “proof” of conspiracy.
this method dehumanizes one’s opponent using accusations and improper generalization.
Exaggeration and Over-Generalization
this method raises false alarms or uses a particular premise to shape a conclusion and dramatize situation.
this occurs when real facts are denied or wrongly undermined aimed at establishing doubt among an audience over the validity of a story or narrative.