prop·a·gan·da noun 1. Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used
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noun 1. Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political, social, or religious ideology, cause, or point of view.
from Wikipedia: Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of the community toward some cause or position. Propaganda statements may be partly false and partly true. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.
As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence and persuade an audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political, religious or social agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of ideological warfare…and can refer to uses that are generally benign or innocuous, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, or messages encouraging persons to report crimes to law enforcement, among others.
Your assignment is to find one example of what you might consider contemporary (21stcentury) published or shared propaganda. This may be single advertisements, websites, tweets, or a complete campaign. In general you should look beyond commercial advertisement (consumerism), and towards public service announcements or any more direct visual communication for a cause or ideology: a movement, a belief, a political position, a conflict, etc. However, while technically different, commercial advertising can often blur the line between selling a product or service and selling a particular social point of view, and couldbe considered for this assignment (see notes on advertising vs. propaganda in the supplemental Propaganda .pdf, on Blackboard). Students may not use any images found through simple internet searches of “propaganda” as your selection.You should make every effort to find and/or photograph your choice in the real world somewhere, in the city, on the subways, in your daily experience, or one that you remember seeing. This may include social media campaigns or ads/images you see on web browsers, however online choices should be well researched. This means clicking on any pop-up ad, and/or researching the secondary information in the ad that identifies who produced the ad/image.
Specific focus should also be placed on addressing the common persuasion tactics used in advertising and propaganda. You must be able to identify which specific common persuasion techniques are being used in your choice, as illustrated and defined in the supplemental Propaganda Guide,attached with this assignment on Blackboard. Students may not use the examples given in the Guide as their choice for this assignment. Answer these questions:
Identify the common persuasion tactics used, as listed in the supplemental Propaganda Guide .pdf
Identify and evaluate the voice/tone being used to communicate the message, i.e. the expression or affectation behind the words/images. That “voice”, or tone, becomes particularly apparent in printed propaganda and public service announcements. Paternal, maternal, omniscient, patronizing, rallying, desperate, sympathetic, angry, forceful…but above all, persuasive. What elements of the communication are stressed and why? Identify what specifically is being communicated (the underlying message), and the target demographic/audience. What kind of language does the “voice” use to address that specific audience? How does the speaker persuade you, the viewer? How does the work make you feel? Assignment:
Choose example. Write an essay (min. 500 words) describing your choice, why you have chosen it. Explain your choice as it pertains to the assignment’s questions/parameters (above). Typed & printed/Times New Roman/11pt/double spaced. Images of your choice must be included with the essay, due at the beginning of next class.
Email me ) the particular image (as well as your name, if it isn’t an obvious part of your email user-name, and class section number) at least a day prior to the assignment’s due date. Image only – do not send your full essay. Do your best to try and send images with medium to high resolution.
Be prepared to briefly explain your choice as we view each image in class.