Posted by: Democratic Thinker | September 30, 2009

Are You Being Played?

Prior to World War II, Columbia University investigated propaganda techniques and published a related report. See synopsis:

Propaganda Techniques

Works Progress Administration Poster
  • Name Calling—Creating fear and arousing prejudice by using negative words (bad names) to create an unfavorable opinion or hatred against opposing groups, beliefs, ideas or institutions.
  • Glittering Generalities—Employing vague, sweeping statements (often slogans or simple catchphrases) using language associated with values and beliefs deeply held by the audience without providing supporting information or reason.
  • Transfer—Using respected symbols (e.g., waving the flag) to stir emotions and win approval.
  • Testimonial—Presenting a respected person or someone with experience to endorse a product or cause by giving it their stamp of approval hoping that the intended audience will follow their example.
  • Plain Folks—Convincing the audience that the spokesperson is from humble origins, someone they can trust and who has their interests at heart.
  • Card Stacking—Carefully using only those facts that support his or her side of the argument while attempting to lead the audience into accepting the facts as a conclusion.
  • Band Wagon—Creating the impression of widespread support.

†Filene, Edward. Institute for Propaganda Analysis. Propaganda Analysis. New York: Columbia, University Press, 1938.

Unstated is the assumption that the propagandist will accuse the other side of employing these same techniques.

(See complete article at George Mason University.)

UPDATE: As of 2013 George Mason not longer hosts the article. It may be accessed using the Wayback Machine—”Propaganda Techniques“.