View RSS Feed

Memories of the 28th Century

Exaggeration and Other Techniques of Propaganda

Rate this Entry
Part of the zeitgeist of these times is that the people producing news coverage exaggerate most of the time. It isn't enough for them that there is a snowstorm coming; not now it is "Bomb Cyclone". I don't know if it simply became part of the American psyche, or if it's just imitating Trump, but if there's a more shocking way to put something, then the people producing news coverage put it that way. It has been a fact for decades that "controversy sells papers". So they tried to make it look like everything would have something controversial. That may have simply expanded in the past year.

Extreme exaggerations show up in news, especially if Trump says something and in science news, because the writers usually don’t understand about the matter. One recent headline was something along the lines of “Chocolate may go extinct in forty years”. That is designed to catch and hold attention while the reader is exposed to advertisements. Anyone who read the article would learn that climate change enthusiasts think that there will be a significant reduction in the amount of territory where Cacao will readily grow, but that isn’t exciting, and it may not keep people’s attentions for as long.

They may be holding attention, but they are losing credibility, as Mr. Trump does with almost every comment he makes. Since he became president the U.S.A. has become progressively less influential around the world, and some of the relatively belligerent countries have been rattling their sabers.

Another part of the zeitgeist of these times is that most statements of any sort are propaganda or attempts to persuade in some way. Some people find reporting facts to be more satisfying than using propaganda techniques, and there are legitimate doubts as to which technique is more effective. There are many people who can instantly spot propaganda, and the then ignore it. There are people who notice propaganda, but who find it attractive, as the kind of persuasion they have always liked. I believe that most people do not notice propaganda, and are horrified when it is pointed out.

There are many websites that try to teach people what the signs of propaganda are and how to avoid such material. ( This is the article in Wikipedia, and it is very good. It has more detail than I was going to include, so please follow the link.

By their natures, political and social action groups use propaganda, but when newspapers started using propaganda techniques, the world lost something. It might be that some news writers don’t know how to write clear expositional writing, so they write the propagandist techniques that they know. Keep your eyes open for anything that condemns those who do not agree, and

Disinformation is a time honored propaganda method that has recently been reintroduced as “Fake News”. Another popular name for this technique is “Lies”. This technique has a simple form; the propagandist simply puts forth what he want the world to think and insists that it is the perfect truth, regardless of actual fact. It is shocking how many people will accept something as fact simply because they are told that it is fact. Turning a piece of disinformation into such a huge lie that everyone will have to believe it makes those items "Big Lies”.

Political campaigns are overwhelmingly propaganda, and marketing is propaganda. Trump seems to have become so accustomed to his own marketing lies that he doesn't even remember that they are lies.

The places where I find propaganda most amusing is in science news, such as the item about cacao becoming extinct. The one who wrote the article wrote something that he probably thought was newsie, but it was almost completely inaccurate, and readers of science news want facts, so we often hunt down the original paper. I have never taken a course in "Journalism", but I think that it has slid into the marketing/propaganda part of the writing range and well out of the accurate reporting category. Maybe I should look for a professor of journalism and/ or some journalism course material.

Remember whenever you read or hear or see anything form news or advertising media that they are lying. They don't care about facts; they want to sell page views or whatever unit they sell in. Read the article on Propaganda in Wikipedia, and think about how the various techniques have been used recently; it's enough to make one cry.

When you vote remember who gave to the facts and who lied, and vote for the one who gave you the facts. Even if you disagree with that candidate, he or she is someone who deals honestly, and that's more important over the long run.

On the other hand, the marketing that was created by Bob and Ray for Narragansett Beer was pleasant and interesting, and no one took it as anything other than what it was.