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The Rise of Media Theory in the Age of Propaganda

  1. Subject: Theory of Communication By: Hamid Bahraam, MA JMC EFL University, HYD
  2. • Definition: Propaganda is a mode of communication used to manipulate or influence the opinion of groups to support a particular cause or belief, over the centuries, propaganda has taken the form of artwork, films, speeches, and music, though it’s not limited to these forms of communication. • Purpose: The purpose of propaganda is to influence people and try to get them to hold a certain belief or set of beliefs. Usually, when we use the word “Propaganda” we use it in a negative way, the purpose of Propaganda is to influence people to believe something that is bad.
  3. • 1 White Propaganda: Concept was developed still has been using today in PRA. This is a technique use to promote positive information or ideas to distract attention from problematic events. • 2 Black Propaganda: Is deliberate transmission of lies. • 3 Gray Propaganda: Is transmission of information or ideas that might be or might not be false. No effort is made to determine their validity.
  4. • 1 Bandwagon: Aims at persuading people to do a certain thing, because many other people are doing it. • 2 Testimonial: Uses words of an expert or a famous person to promote a particular idea. Ex: A sportsperson is shown, recommending a brand shoes. • 3 Transfer: Qualities of a well-known person are associated with a product to promote or demote it. It is also used during war time. • 4 Repetition: When the product name is repeated many times during and ad. • 5 Emotional: This means to generate positive feeling in the minds of the masses. Words like “ luxury” or a “Paradise” are used to evoke certain feelings in the minds of people which they associate with the product.
  5. • The purpose of Propaganda changes as it is used in different contexts. When used by the government, its objective is to gain the support of the citizens and to shape their opinions, emotions attitude and behaviors to benefit the nation.
  6. • Wartime Propaganda is so important that it can often be used as a weapon because of the power that comes with public support. The ability to win public support can be just as Important as the ability to win fight or the war. Wartime Propaganda has been a major influence in many, if not all, of the major wars.
  7. • “Propaganda” is used at different times for different reasons, and it comes in a wide variety of forms. The most easily identifiable and understandable use of propaganda is during the war, in which victory or defeat can depend a great deal on public support. • Nazi party’s propaganda during WW2! ( Economic depression of German) and Jews hoarding money. • During WW2, the US also frequently relied on Propaganda for public Support, uncle Sam image, “ I want You”. Inviting people to join military.
  8. • Claims media provide external stimuli that triggered immediate response. • Stimulus response psychology • Human action is conditioned to external stimuli • Consciousness rationalized behaviors, after they are triggered by external stimuli • By studying association between stimuli and behaviors, these theorists hope to discover the unknown causes for actin. • Human behavior is product of the conflict between id, ego, and superego • Self has fragmented parts like, id, ego, and superego. Ego (the rational mind) is in control, but sometimes human behavior is under the control of darker part of the human mind which is id(egocentric, pleasure seeking part of self) • Ego relies on internalized set of cultural rules (the superego) for guidance • If propaganda appeals to the id and stimulate it to overwhelm the ego.
  9. • “Propaganda” messages were like Magic bullets that could easily penetrate even the strongest defenses’ Media could operate as external agents and be used as tools to manipulate essentially passive mass audiences. • Media stimuli operates like Magic bullet penetrating human minds and creating strong emotions and transform how they think and feel. • This theory hope that people can be conditioned to generate good emotion with their country and bad emotions with enemies. • People are powerless before media messages. • The rational mind is incapable of resisting powerful messages.
  10. • Lipmann sharing the skepticism of Lasswell focused on the discrepancies between the world outside and the pictures in our heads. • People couldn’t learn enough from media to help them understand . • Psychological and social barriers that prevented average people from developing useful pictures in their heads.( a steel worker doesn’t understand physics, so, why should he be expected to understand politics?) • Public was vulnerable to propaganda. Media control is necessary. • Self censorship wouldn’t enough. • Control of information gathering and distribution in the hands of technocracy who are using scientific method. • Lipmann suggests the establishment of quasi governmental intelligence bureau to evaluate information.
  11. • Comes from critical theory and political left. The subject of this theory is political ads and discourse. Their argument is that powerful elites control the media and their content to impose their truth. • Herman’s five filter for bridging media business and other formal or informal agencies like government collectives and lobbies to create confusion. • Ownership • Advertising • Sourcing • Flack • Belief in the miracle of the market.
  12. • The half of 20th century was a highly traumatic period which the basic principles of democracy were tested. • The power of mass media was demonstrated by totalitarian propagandists who used media to convert millions to their ideas. • Early theorists combined Freudianism & Behaviorism to argue that propaganda messages were like magic bullet that could easily and instantly penetrate even the strongest defenses, no one is safe from their power to convert. • Harlod Lasswell held that propaganda typically influenced people in slow & subtle ways. • Both Magic bullet and Lasswell’s theories assumed that media could operate as external agents and be used as tools to manipulate essentially passive mass audience.