What is Propaganda? And why do we care?
Propaganda designers have been putting messages into television commercials, news programs, magazine ads, and other things we read and see for years. These messages have been carefully designed to influence our opinions, emotions, attitudes and behavior. Their purpose is to persuade us to believe in something or to do something that we would not normally believe or do. These messages have been designed to benefit someone, and that someone may not be you!
It's not as easy as you might think to spot hidden messages. Propaganda designers know you are on your guard. To get around your guard, they don't put one message into a piece of propaganda - they put lots of messages into each piece! The more you know about propaganda techniques and how they work, the less likely it is that someone will sneak something by you!
Nothing says that you can't appreciate a good piece of propaganda, and still agree with the messages hidden within it. But, you don't want to be persuaded into doing something you do not wish to do or into believing something that is not true simply because you've been the target of an effective propaganda campaign. That's why it's important to understand what propaganda is and how it works.
Is everything we see and hear propaganda? No, it is not. The word propaganda refers to any technique that attempts to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of a group in order to benefit the sponsor. The techniques of propaganda are used every day, in the military, in the media, in advertising, in politics, and in all sorts of human relationships.
To protect yourself against the techniques of propaganda, three good questions to ask yourself are: