Propaganda in the Real World

From capitalistManifesto
"In the ethical sense, Propaganda bears the same relation to education as to business or politics. It may be abused. It may be used to over-advertise an institution and to create in the public mind artificial values. There can be no absolute guarantee against its misuse." - Edward Louis Bernays (Propaganda, 1928)

The authoritative voice of Edward Bernays, one of the fathers of the concept of public relations and author of the 1928 publication “Propaganda”. A short illustration of the content of the importance of this work for the definition of the current understanding of the concept of propaganda might be useful.

In order to understand how propaganda operates and which techniques are concretely put into practice, we will look closer into some examples taken from three different fields of public communication:

  • journalism
  • public policy domain
  • information campaign of an NGO

While propaganda is most evident in times of war as in the “I want you for US Army” poster, it is constantly being used as a political and social means in even less obvious ways to influence people's attitudes. This is currently evident with all the election commercials on TV, where the candidates are using propaganda techniques to elevate themselves above their competitors. Another place propaganda is being exploited is by the use of the media in its portrayal of countries that have nuclear technology.

“The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits - a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.” - Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas