This is for Mr. Pogreba propaganda test.
Terms in this set (33)
refers to the idea that people should adopt a
program or belief because "everyone else is doing it."
Example: An advertisement that encourages viewers "not to
be the last person their block" to try a new and amazing
are words that are very positive, but
without meaning, designed to make the listener have
Example: freedom, democracy, justice, patriotic
s attacking an opponent using techniques
honed on 1
grade playgrounds everywhere: attaching a
negative name to a person that overrides realistic
assessment of his work/ideas.
Example: liberal, peacenik, right‐winger, wingnut
endorsements from famous people, often in cases in which the endorser has no direct
relationship to the product or idea being peddled. The idea is to make the consumer transfer her positive
feelings for the endorser to the product/idea.
Example: Rudy Giuliani after 9/11
the association of positive ideas and feelings from one thing to the idea/person/object that the
propagandist wants you have positive feelings for.
Example: Fox News constantly displaying the American flag as a background
attacks are attacking the person rather than their ideas.
Example: Al Franken's book Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot
plant, placed inside an organization, designed to make that organization look bad
through his actions. This false agent's goal is to discredit the group by making it appear radical, reactionary, or
just plain dangerous.
Example: In the 1960s, the FBI planted agent provocateurs inside civil rights and anti‐war movements.
play on the idea of grassroots activism. In the grassroots model, the reform comes from the
bottom up, from ordinary Americans. Astroturf organizations are those that pretend to be grassroots, but
actually represent Establishment views.
Example: ACORN sponsored rallies, Tea Party movement
using positive language to dilute the impact of negative ideas. Instead of someone "dying," a
euphemist might refer to "passing away."
Example: collateral damage, non‐proficient schools, "nice" students
bait and switch
promising one thing without intending to deliver it. Its origin comes from unscrupulous
storeowners, who used to promise big savings in advertisements and then sell the consumer another product.
Example: Some liberals feel that President Obama used bait and switch tactics when he opposed "Don't Ask,
Don't Tell" in the campaign, but failed to act on it in his first year in office.
the use of bogus or misleading science to persuade people. It often relies on a lack of
statistical/scientific reasoning in the target audience. Accusations of Junk Science can also be a propagandistic
technique, when used to discredit legitimate science.
Example: Depending on your perspective, Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" might be seen as an example of junk
science or the response of critics might be an illegitimate use of accusations of junk science. I'll leave that up
The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf for a lie so "colossal" that no
one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously". The Big Lie
technique is most often used in totalitarian societies, though free societies can be vulnerable, too.
Example: Hitler's attacks on the "November criminals", the Red Scare
words that give the impression of importance through technical or scientific complexity, but
actually mean very little. In "Politics and the English Language" Orwell argued that people use buzzwords
because they are easier than using one's own expressions.
Example: dynamic, immersion, synergy, paradigm
when a government or corporation distorts the truth to convince the public. When the
"truth" comes out, the disinformation will have become so widespread that the public either does not know
what to believe, or accepts the original lie.
Example: The Pat Tillman/Jessica Lynch stories in the Iraq War
diverting the public's attention away from a critically
important issue by presenting a trivial, but interesting alternative.
In today's media environment, this is an easy tactic.
Example: President Clinton's scandals and the bombing of Iraq
very recent propaganda technique, in which the
propagandist attempts to control history/reality on the Internet.
There are two types of Googlewashing: a) manipulating PageRank
to make one's version of the truth appear at the top of Google
results, and b) attempting to erase negative information on the
Internet (a much more challenging option).
Example: A political candidate might try to drive traffic to her site,
using fake grassroots links and keywords that will drive up traffic
divide and concur
refers to rhetorically dividing and then attacking the opposition. When one can create
a schism—real or imagined—in the other side, it becomes much easier to demonize each side.
Example: Efforts to rhetorically divide Republicans into "mainstream moderates" and right‐wingers
one of the most powerful contemporary propaganda techniques. Derived from Orwell's 1984,
doublespeak refers to the ability of government and corporate officials to use precise language to actually
hide or distort meaning.
Example: Ethnic cleansing instead of genocide, collateral damage
is when someone uses lofty language, promising action, but has no intention of turning the
speech into reality.
Example: Almost every person elected President has promised to bring a new, bipartisan spirit to Washington.
Few have even tried.
groups that purport to be independent or, in the United States, non‐partisan, but actually
represented moneyed and powerful interests.
Example: Patients for Better Healthcare, funded by insurance companies and hospitals.
fundamental attribution error
sociological claim that we are more likely to blame personal behavior
than external factors for the actions taken by other people.
Example: Conservative critics of social programs attacked welfare recipients in the 1980s, naming them
"welfare queens" to suggest that it was personal behavior, not structural factors, that led to poverty in some
the effort by corporations to burnish their record as champions of the environment through
advertising or other rhetorical appeals.
Example: Corporations will tout their recycling programs or green initiatives, but in many cases, these
represent a fraction of the waste and environmental impact they generate.
limiting the choices
presents limited options to the audience, in an effort to manipulate it into accepting the
rhetor's preferred choice.
Example: When the Johnson administration argued that either America stayed the course in Vietnam or
inevitably had to accept the Domino Effect—inevitable communism—throughout Asia
when a political leader or corporation uses targeted messages for specific audiences with the
intention of misleading. The increasing fragmentation of the American media, combined with increased
opportunities to control the composition of the audience, makes this an effective strategy.
Example: A corporation might tell its shareholders that it intends to maximize profits without giving in to
environmentalists and simultaneously tell environmental groups that it intends to reduce damaging practices.
process of creating bias about an unknown individual or organization by associating it with
something familiar. It is very similar to the idea of transfer.
Example: Both Democratic and Republican opponents of Mitt Romney have tried to emphasize his relationship
with the LDS church, hoping to exploit negative perceptions held by some about the church. This strategy
makes it easier to attack Romney without having to use specifics.
used to deflect responsibility from the responsible party to an undefined agent, excusing
the rhetor from his own misdeeds.
Example: One of the most famous examples of the use of the passive voice occurred when President Reagan,
referring to the Iran‐Contra affair, said "mistakes were made," never acknowledging his (or anyone's) role.
placing the blame on someone who has had marginal (or no) responsibility for a negative
event, diverting attention from those truly responsible.
Example: Following the invasion of Kuwait, the Bush Administration blamed a somewhat obscure ambassador
to Iraq for encouraging Saddam Husssein, in an effort to deflect attention from its own lax policy towards the
one of the most common propaganda techniques, in which an opponent is covered in so much
filth that he becomes unacceptable/repulsive to audiences. The smear is a campaign based on dishonest lies
designed to offend the audience.
Example: When John McCain was running for the nomination in South Carolina in 2000, anonymous
operatives called SC voters, suggesting that McCain's dark‐skinned adopted daughter was his offspring from
an inter‐racial affair.
an effort to control the message by limiting what is discussed. Political leaders and
candidates often distribute these talking points to their subordinates, demanding that they "stick to the
message" when they talk to the media.
Example: When President Clinton was facing impeachment for the Monica Lewinsky affair, his staffers stayed
on message with the media, focusing on arguments that the trial was a) a waste of Congress's time, b) an
overreach of Congressional authority, and c) an inquiry into a private matter.
are designed to frighten an audience into action or belief. They often rely on strong visual
Example: To drum up support for the Iraq War, the Bush Administration suggested that the United States
could potentially be threatened by both terrorists possessing nuclear weapons and the Iraqi government,
evoking fears of the recent 9/11 attacks on the United States.
propaganda technique that is uniquely effective in the United States, which has a long history
of rejecting elitists and intellectuals. In a "plain folks" appeal, the rhetor makes himself appear like an ordinary
person, with the values of "normal" people.
Example: In the 2008 campaign, the GOP emphasized that it was the party of "average, everyday" Americans,
using Sarah Palin's personal story and figures like Joe the Plumber to contrast against Barrack Obama's
a relatively new propaganda technique, in which a political party or candidate will use
misleading polling to demonize an opponent. Typically, the caller makes false or wildly distorted claims in the
course of asking poll questions, leading the listeners to believe negative information about a candidate.
Example: During the 2008 election, some voters received phone calls in which they were asked "[w]ould you
be more or less likely to vote for Barrack Obama if you knew he was a practicing Muslim? The questioner was
entirely disinterested in the answer, only caring to plant the innuendo in the mind of the person receiving the
a growing concern, given ubiquitous use of programs like Photoshop and the
gullibility of consumers. Manipulated photos are just that—photographs changed to alter the true events.
Example: Joseph Stalin was perhaps the most famous believer in photographic manipulation. As he purged
each wave of opponents, he directed Soviet archivists to eliminate photographic evidence of those he
destroyed, attempting to change history. There are famous photos that originally showed Stalin with a group
of 4‐5 men, reduced to Stalin standing alone.
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