BERLIN - “Propaganda is the expression of opinions or actions carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to influencing the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for predetermined ends and through psychological manipulations,” according to the now-defunct Institute for Propaganda Analysis.1
This means a methodology of controlling the minds of people - and since most people do not appreciate being controlled, propaganda works best when it goes unnoticed.
Propaganda can be organically woven into writing in a multitude of ways,2 such as:
Name calling/labeling, the labeling of the object of propaganda as something the target audience either hates/fears or loves/praises:
‘Republican Congress Weasels,’ ‘Bush the Lesser’
Loaded language, the use of words or phrases with strong emotional implications that can easily influence the audience: “How stupid and petty things have become in Washington.”
Whataboutism: discrediting opponents’ positions by accusing them of hypocrisy without directly disproving their arguments:
‘Qatar spending profusely on Neymar, not fighting terrorism’
Creation of strong emotions, especially fear: ‘Either we go to war, or we will perish.’
In general, emotions are a powerful tool - emotional arousal knocks out humans’ ability to think logically and makes them more susceptible to accepting faulty arguments and logical fallacies. Professional propaganda is getting ever more sophisticated in targeting the emotions and the subconscious minds of readers, e.g., to create fear, we might throw around some direct calls to action. However, the more direct the statement, the more easThe content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. Such content from The Yuan may be shared and reprinted but must clearly identify The Yuan as its original source. Content from a third-party copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in such third party’s content appearing in The Yuan must likewise be clearly labeled as such.