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Have you ever seen a TV commercial portraying a disastrous automobile accident,

and then you reminds you to wear your seatbealts?!?! Believe it or not, that's using a

technique in propaganda called the fear appeal.

Propaganda is more widespread than people picture. Propaganda is being used for

everything from the baby food you feed your child to the TV commercial you laughed at

yesterday night.

There are many techniques that a propagandist can use to seduce you. Some of the

best known styles in propaganda are Plain Folk, Fear, Name Calling, and Glittering


In this year's elections, propaganda has played an important role in who was

elected. This year's presidential candidates were all millionaires, but they have gone to

great lengths to present themselves as ordinary citizens. Bill Clinton eats at Mc Donald's

and read a variety of spy novels. Bob Dole presents himself as the "all American boy"

from the Heartland. In this two examples the plain folk device is at work.

When either presidential candidates agitates the public's fear of immigration, taxes,

or crime and voting for him will reduce the threat he is using the Fear Appeal. By playing

on the public's deep-seated fears, practitioners of this technique hopes to redirect the

merits of a proposal and towards steps that can be taken to reduce the fear.

Propaganda has had a tremendously powerful role in the history of the world and in

our own development. It has stirred both men and women to unprecedented feats and

ruined reputations.

What comes to mind when you think of a racist person? I imagine an angry white

male with a Ku Kux Klan costume. I rarely think of the other racists, the

African-Americans, the Latino-Americans, the Asian-Americans and the rest of whom

believe they are the superior race. Why do people as myself picture this image when we

think of a racist person? I'll tell you so, it's because we have been "trained" to make the

presumption racist equals white male in kkk costume. That's the Name Calling device at

work! It links a person to a negative idea or symbol.

Glittering Generality is in short Name Calling in reverse, while the Name Calling

device ties a person to a negative idea, the Glittering Generality technique makes us

approve and except something without careful examination.

Since war is especially distasteful, the military is of course full of euphemisms. In

the 1940's the US changed the name of the War Department to the Department of Defense.

During the Reagon Administration, the MX-Missile, a nuclear weapon, was re-named "The


In conclusion, as Alfred Lee once said, " Propaganda is opinion expressed for the

purpose of influencing actions of individuals or groups... Propaganda thus differs

fundamentally from scientific analysis. The propagandist tries to "put something across,"

good or bad. The scientist does not try to put anything across; he devotes his life to the

discovery of new facts and principles. The propagandist seldom wants careful scrutiny and

criticism; his object is to bring about a specific action. The scientist, on the other hand, is

always prepared for and wants the most careful scrutiny and criticism of his facts and

ideas. Science flourishes on criticism. Dangerous propaganda crumbles before it."


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