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Definitional Argument: Propaganda

Page history last edited by PBworks 11 years, 5 months ago


 

Cover Sheet

 

1. What is the purpose of your argument?

To inform consumers about the tactics and nature of propaganda.

2. Who is your target audience?

Any person exposed to advertising and persuasion

3. What is your thesis statement?

Propaganda exists in many different forms

4. Did you learn/try anything new while growing this composition?

Worked with someone else on the same paper and used segmented writing.

5. What do you like best about your composition? About your composition process? Here's where you talk about your best experiments (Did you mix genres? Where you able to integrate ideas from different sources with your own? etc)

It grabs the readers’ attention and the entire paper flows together well.

6. Of the feedback you garnered in our workshop, what piece of information was most valuable/helpful?

To use more examples to clarify and enforce the idea we presented

7. Where would you like to see the most feedback/advice on your final draft?

The examples and conclusions drawn from them. Were the examples relevant and did they fit in with the rest of the paper.


 

Draft

 

Propaganda exists in many different forms and is used in thousands of different ways. According to the authors of Age of Propaganda, “Propaganda was originally defined as the dissemination of biased ideas and opinions, often through the use of lies and deception”, but, “has since evolved to mean mass ‘suggestion’ or ‘influence’ through the manipulation of symbols and the psychology of the individual” (11).

All types of advertising use propaganda in one way or another, whether on billboards, television, or through product placements. But how can anyone tell the difference between a strong persuasive argument and subtle propaganda? It is all around us and without attention to detail, we are more likely to be taken advantage of. Propaganda has existed at least since the sophists of Greece and has likely been present throughout mankind’s history of language-society.

Yet in the last two centuries with the acceleration of technology, development and influence of the mass media and instant communication, propaganda has become more prevalent than ever. It has become such a common strategy that most people can no longer contrast the difference between propaganda, truth, and reality itself.

There have been many societies, as well as individuals, that have used tactics of hidden/subtle persuasion. A play on the emotions (to a higher level of ignorance in certain aspects) creates the atmosphere necessary for this level of persuasion to be highly effective. For instance, news programs are generally regarded as being credible, yet instead of presenting all the facts, a few select details are presented while some important details are left out which allows the argument to change almost entirely. There are still other facts known to be true, but the populace accepts this new argument as fact and the previous ideas are forgotten. The main point is to influence the targeted audience to come around to thinking in the way of the propagandist. The audience cannot be aware of the underlying goal presented in the form of propaganda (I.E. printed, spoken, or visual communication). Attention is shifted to a different goal that leads to the desired result of the propagandist.

There is a positive type, negative type, or anywhere in between. Positive propaganda is used to accomplish what is generally accepted as a good deed or goal (saving the rainforest, slowing global warming, easing the suffering of others). Negative is the opposite (sending people to war on false pretenses, lying about the safety of a food or drug, etc.). A positive outcome fueled by deception is tainted and therefore an immoral action. Any use of deliberate propaganda is deceptive and also an immoral action. If a person is not allowed to to reach a decision based on all relevant and known facts, they are making a mistake of judgement. Pilots need as much information as they can in order to fly, including altitude, wind direction and speed, distance, gas, and so on. Detectives need to know how long someone has been kidnapped or dead, whether the victim had enemies, who their friends were, and what all the other officers know. If some or most of the information is missing, chances are they won't get the job done, or in the pilots case, might crash. If we thought of elections like detective cases, maybe people would pay more attention and demand better and more in-depth information.

Truth commercials are a good example of positive propaganda. Truth is a public awareness group which “helps” people to realize how bad smoking is by using vivid visual imagery while presenting relevant information. One commercial makes the claim that cyanide and rat poison exist in cigarettes. Well, cyanide exists in many different compounds, including the vitamin B-17 (which is purported to kill cancer cells without destroying healthy cells). Truth does not present this relevant information, or the amount of cyanide. In any case why this poison? There are approximately 60 known carcinogens in a cigarette. Cyanide may be used due to the negative connotations it holds in an attempt to frighten the audience. Acrylonitrile is a complicated word and not easily remembered, so there is no lasting effect. Truth also lists (on its website) chemicals found in cigarettes: Rocket fuel; nail polish remover; anti-freeze; dog/cat repellant; pee; batteries; pesticides; and dynamite. Scared now? The goal is a noble one in some respects, but the way in which it is accomplished is deceptive.

Negative propaganda exists when an immoral goal is pushed onto the minds of the people, such as when a bandwagon is created to lynch a person or business. When the goal is to harm or destroy someone or something which may or not be moral. War is terrifying example of this. War usually ends in a great amount of bloodshed, and generally the populace is against murder. Soldiers and infantry men are taught to think of the enemy as less than human. The same goes for politics, separation or exclusivity are strong influences in group sociology. If group A can find a weakness in group B, it proves group A has the advantage and is therefore superior. A primary reason why viewers love seeing their favorite team win at the super bowl, it puts them in right. That is what negative propaganda uses.

It seems all too easy to believe what you see and what you hear rather than digging deeper to find the truth. Content to remain ignorant could possibly be the ultimate ideal in these instances. With society’s issues, citizens already have a lot of information to decipher in the course of a life time. There are varying degrees of information an individual should pay more attention to in the course of their professional and personal time. Whether school, work, whatever the case, questions arise as to why things (such as politics) are not put under more scrutiny when the details pertaining to such determine the future of work and school. Is there a great deal of people who are completely content with letting others choose a future for them? This is a direct effect of stead-fast propaganda in the race to persuade those who accept presented information as true. Today as a result we have a society void of important details and complete information. Blaming the individuals who use propaganda seems to be popular as of late, yet what of those who believe it though? Who is truly to blame? When considering all facets in the nature of persuasion, both sides have an equal share in the outcome.

 

 

 


 

Feedback and Reflection

Use more examples


 

Final Draft

 

Propaganda exists in many different forms and is used in thousands of different ways. According to the authors of Age of Propaganda, “Propaganda was originally defined as the dissemination of biased ideas and opinions, often through the use of lies and deception”, but, “has since evolved to mean mass ‘suggestion’ or ‘influence’ through the manipulation of symbols and the psychology of the individual” (11).

All types of advertising use propaganda in one way or another, whether on billboards, television, or through product placements. But how can anyone tell the difference between a strong persuasive argument and subtle propaganda? It is all around us and without attention to detail, we are more likely to be taken advantage of. Propaganda has existed at least since the sophists of Greece and probably has been present throughout mankind’s history of language-society.

 

In the last two centuries with the acceleration of technology, development and influence of the mass media, and instant communication, propaganda has become more prevalent than ever. It has become such a common strategy that most people can no longer contrast the difference between propaganda, truth, and reality itself.

 

There have been many societies, as well as individuals throughout history that have used tactics of hidden/subtle persuasion. A play on the emotions (to a higher level of ignorance in certain aspects) creates the atmosphere necessary for this level of persuasion to be highly effective. For instance, news programs are generally regarded as being credible, yet instead of presenting all the facts, a few select details are presented while some important details are left out which allows the argument to change almost entirely. There are still other facts known to be true, but the populace accepts this new argument as fact and the previous ideas are forgotten. The main point is influencing the target audience to come around to thinking in the way of the propagandist. Though the audience cannot be aware of the underlying goal presented in the form of propaganda (I.E. printed, spoken, or visual communication). Attention is shifted to a different goal that leads to the desired result of the propagandist.

 

There are a few different types of propaganda, namely the positive type, negative type, or anywhere in between. Positive propaganda is used to accomplish what is generally accepted as a good deed or goal (saving the rainforest, slowing global warming, easing the suffering of others). Negative is the opposite (sending people to war on false pretenses, lying about the safety of a food or drug, etc.). A positive outcome fueled by deception is tainted and therefore an immoral action. Any use of deliberate propaganda is deceptive and also an immoral action. When a person is not allowed to reach a decision based on all relevant and known facts, they are being mislead and may make a mistake in judgment. Pilots need as much information as they can in order to fly, including altitude, wind direction, speed, distance, gas, and so on. Similarly detectives need to know how long someone has been kidnapped or deceased, to determine whether the victim had enemies, who their friends were, and what the other officers know. If most of the information is missing or even a small portion, chances are they might not get the job done, or in the pilots case, a possible crash. If we thought of elections like detective cases, maybe people would pay more attention and demand better and more in depth information.

 

Truth commercials are a good example of positive propaganda. Truth is a public awareness group which “helps” people to realize how bad smoking is by using vivid visual imagery while presenting relevant information. One commercial makes the claim that cyanide exists in cigarettes as well as rat poison. Well, cyanide exists in many different compounds, including the vitamin B-17 (which is purported to kill cancer cells without destroying healthy cells). Truth does not present this relevant information, or the amount of cyanide. In any case why this poison specifically? There are approximately 60 known carcinogens in a cigarette. Cyanide may be used due to the negative connotations it holds in an attempt to frighten the audience. Acrylonitrile is a complicated and unfamiliar word which is not easily remembered. The word has little to no lasting effect, and therefore not used. Truth also lists (on its website) chemicals found in cigarettes: Rocket fuel; nail polish remover; anti-freeze; dog/cat repellant; pee; batteries; pesticides; and dynamite. Scared now? The goal is a noble one in some respects, but the way in which it is accomplished is deceptive.

 

Negative propaganda exists when an immoral goal is pushed onto the minds of a group of people, such as when a bandwagon is created to lynch a person or business or when the goal is to harm or destroy someone or something which may or not be moral. War is a frightening example of this. War usually ends in a great amount of bloodshed, and usually the populace is against murder. Soldiers and infantry-men are taught to think of the enemy as less than human. The same goes for politics; separation or exclusivity are strong influences in group sociology. If group A can find a weakness in group B, it proves group A has the advantage and is therefore superior. A primary reason why viewers love seeing their favorite team win at the super bowl, it puts them in the right.

 

Name calling is one of the most childish and ignorant tactics. Used primarily by dehumanizing someone and shifting the conversation from intellectual to emotional. Usually it involves labels (commie, hippie, anarchist, and sexist). Bill O’ Reilly is famous for this, though he tells his audience that he is fair and balanced just like Fox News. Not only does he use labels, he creates his own jargon by combining words. Femi-nazi is the term he uses for a persistent or aggressive female promoter for the rights of women. This particular tactic is easy to spot and it allows the audience to realize the speaker might not be so sure of his or her position.

 

Slogans appear when speakers and the audience want to focus on one thought or group of thoughts; pro-life/pro-choice, love America or leave it, with us or against us, meat is murder, God is dead. The statements are intended to create camaraderie within a group and enforce an idea with a catchy, easily remembered phrase. Slogans turn complicated and controversial debates into a basic, unintelligent, black-and-white argument. It’s easy to say, “If you do not believe in freedom, you’re un-American. Freedom, however, can have multiple levels and definitions. If I don’t believe in freedom to beat your family, or own livestock in a suburban neighborhood, I must be un-American.

 

An appeal to authority captures the audience by presenting “experts” or public idols who endorse an idea, message, or product. Experts must know more than us about a subject, otherwise they would not be called experts. Webster’s dictionary provides a decent definition of expert, skill, and knowledge. All three combined looks like this: Someone who shows skill (special ability) to use one’s knowledge (understanding gained by experience) effectively in a task. Society relies on experts in medicine, water/electricity/gas systems, security, food protection, and thousands of others. If health inspectors are not effective in their task of protecting the public, the public could get sick or die. Problems arise when research of a subject is inadequate. Someone who knows his own field and fails to recognize the defects and strengths of all sides should not be qualified as an expert. Furthermore, experts are not fortune tellers and have personal ambitions of their own, and when it comes to court appearances or TV spots they are paid.

 

The Domino Effect uses flawed reasoning to make an unlikely consequence seem possible. If A happens, then B will happen, then C, then D- therefore if A happens, D will happen. This tactic fails to account for compounded probability. If kids do not finish school, they will not get a good job, and they will not have money for a wife or house and they will do drugs and drink so they will be miserable- If they do go to school all these problems disappear. It is possible to get a decent job without formal education, and get married, and own a home, and be happy. It is also possible to get an education, and not have any of the other qualities. The chance of a scenario happening loses probability as more consequences are added to the chain. Any one who breaks down the argument should be able to see past this tactic easily because it always has the same format even if the subject matter is different.

 

It seems all too easy to believe what you see and what you hear rather than digging deeper to find the truth. Content to remain ignorant could possibly be the ultimate ideal in these instances. With society’s issues, citizens already have a lot of information to decipher on a daily basis. There are varying degrees of information an individual should pay closer attention to in the course of their professional and personal time. Whether school, work, whatever the case, questions arise as to why things (such as politics) are not put under more scrutiny when the details pertaining to it determine the future of work and school. Is there a great deal of people who are completely content with letting others choose a future for them? This is a direct effect of stead-fast propaganda in the race to persuade those who accept presented information as true. Today as a result, we have a society void of important details and complete information. Blaming the individuals who use propaganda seems to be popular as of late, what of those who believe it though? Who is truly to blame? When considering all facets of the nature of persuasion, both sides have an equal share in the outcome.


 

link pile

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8 money as debt

 

 

http://sustainableidentities.pbwiki.com/Rhetorical+Analysis+of+Visual+Rhetoric]

 

 

 

peer reviews

 

Michele's Review

 

 

Dylan A. Review- I enjoyed your guys analysis of propaganda. You guys did a great job of using rhetoric to show people that propaganda still exists. When you make note of the different kinds of propaganda and let people know that just because it's for a "noble" cause doesn't mean it's an entirely informative claim. The truth commercials and Bill O' Reilly examples were my personal favorites. You guys did a great job of making your paper flow while trying segmented writing for the first time. You can slightly tell the difference in your two different writing styles and voice but it comes together nicely because the reader can tell it's something you guys feel very passionatly about. Great paper guys...fun read, I think you should expand on it in the next unit even. A

 

Jillian's feedback/grade

http://www.thetruth.com/

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