Welcome to the Propaganda Professor, where our mission is the delightful study of propaganda, spin, lies, distortion, smears, loaded language, brainwashing, deception, duplicity, myths and general all-purpose bullshit.
The word propaganda, as you may know, didn’t always wear the shabby suit it does now. Originally, it meant just the dissemination of any kind of information, from the importance of flossing your teeth to the arguments for and against the metric system. But about a century ago (roughly coinciding with the development of mass media) people began realizing to a greater extent than ever before, that it was possible not only to inform people with propaganda, but to misinform and mislead. Some realized, in fact, that it was possible to make people believe absolutely anything – and to act on those beliefs against their own best interests. And it is this more contemporary meaning of propaganda that we’ll be concerned with here.
Those who have studied the art form at length have identified dozens of techniques that propagandists employ, and we have added a few more that we’ve observed. In future posts, we’ll be identifying these so you can recognize them and shoo them away – or embrace them if you happen to be an aspiring propagandist yourself. We’ll also be providing numerous examples of each, and brother, are there plenty of examples to choose from.
These tools of the trade were sharpened and polished in communist Russia and Nazi Germany, but now they find their most useful applications in the U.S.A. So it is American propaganda that we’ll be most concerned with, though certainly propagandists live and work in a global village, even though they may rail against that expression.
We welcome intelligent, mature, informed feedback, and hope it will provide material for future posts – although we’re probably more likely to find it in unintelligent, juvenile, uninformed comments!
Hang on – it’s gonna be a helluva ride.
(Professor Of Propaganda)