Propaganda: definition, it's history, who uses it, and so forth.

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Definition of Propaganda

Propaganda is one-sided communication designed to influence people's thinking and actions. A television commercial or a poster urging people to vote for a political candidate might be propaganda, depending on its method of persuasion.


About Propaganda

Propaganda differs (1. a democracy; like a democracy. 2. of or having to do with the common people. 3. treating other people as one's equals) from education in democratic societies. But education in a dictatorship can involve teaching children and youth by techniques, which could be classified as propaganda. Educators in democratic societies teach people how to think, but propagandists (a person who gives time or effort to the spreading of some opinion, belief, or principle) tell them what to think.

Experts disagree about what is propaganda and what is not, and whether propaganda differs from other forms of persuasion, such as advertising and political campaigning. Some look upon all biased communication as propaganda.

Others believe that the method of persuasion determines whether a message is propaganda. For example, the majority of advertisers and political campaigners function openly and state their purposes truthfully. Other advertisers and political campaigners are willing to present any combination of truths, half-truths, lies, and distortions that they think will most effectively influence their audience. Some experts say all these people are propagandists. Others regard only the second group as propagandists.

Some people consider propaganda neither good nor bad. Many favour the use of propaganda to raise money for charity. Other individuals argue that the public needs reliable information to make wise decisions, and that propaganda blocks the spreading of such information. They also fear that propaganda dulls people's minds and deadens their power of reasoning. The results of some propaganda may be short term and relatively insignificant, such as the purchase of a product. Other...