Analyzing Words and Pictures
Analysing propaganda (e.g. media messages) is a process of asking questions and exploring ideas that may have multiple responses and interpretations. At first it'll be necessary to go through a set of standard questions, interrogate the propaganda, and reveal the truth behind the message. In time this interrogation becomes second nature and it'll be something you can do unconsciously, much in the way a martial artist practices to train the body until the physical responses become second nature.
Discussion points on the left image and five key questions of media literacy on the right.
- Reality Check: Consider what is accurate and inaccurate about the content of a media message.
- Private Gain or Public Good: Consider who is benefitting financially (or in other ways) from the distribution of this media message.
- What’s Left Out? Noticing omitted information helps to identify the point of view of a media message.
- Values Check: How does this media message align with or contradict your own values?
- Read Between the Lines: What ideas are implied but not stated directly in the media message?
- Stereotype Alert: Consider the ways that stereotypes are used to influence your emotions.
- Solutions Too Easy: Consider how the media message attracts your attention by simplifying ideas.
- Record/Save for Later: Decide upon the overall worth and value of the message.
Propaganda is meant to evoke emotions that bypass critical thinking. When propaganda is critically analysed, insights are revealed that enable people to make more rational judgments and evaluation of the ideas and information presented.
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