Course SOC309H5F Lecture 16/05/2013
Topic: Propaganda and persuasion
Refers to an ind issue
To Frame is to select some aspect of perceived reality and make them more salient noticale
meaningful and memorable in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular
problem defn, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and or treatment recommendation for the
Barron and Lacombe framing the female youth—backlash against feminism in the newspaper
Means of framing
1. Selective information…to be emphasized or neglected
a. Ex: report on a protest against nuclear waste facility.
b. Excludes info on leakage in a similar facility—opponents of the planned facility
c. Includes choice of experts (gov;t officials; appearance of trustworthiness)
2. Selective interpretation includes
a. Choice of language (scheme both pos and neg cannotations dpends on
journaliststo give that interpretation, elixir-medicine, remedy-neg cannotations ex
snake oil-patent medicine that doesn’t actually work, panacea-universal solution
to the problem, plan)
b. Attitude of the reporter ex interviews of proponents and opponents of WTO
c. Thus framing can violate journalistic goal of objectivity (balanced reporting)
while its form is being reserved
d. Inoculation Hall vsAltheide- short ad critical exposure of unpopular view. You
cannot completely ignore the minority view however give more time and space to
dominant issue view…by exposing you to unpopular view in weakened form
mass media is ensuring you do not agree with that unpopular view.
What makes a frame successful?
Adherence to an established discursive domain (familiar to audience from other cultural
1. Shudson: Cultural preference for narrative over analysis causes news to be present
as a story: concrete character, underrepresentation of broader social forces
2. Dominant value system/ideology
Barron and LCaombe-backlash against fem? Taylor-elected politicians as well meaning
ppl? Tewksbury—americans online news consumption supports ideology of polticial
Preferred framing to news stories” Recent ambiguous, with predictable outcome, immediate to the audience, contain
conflict/violence; are neg; events are preffered over concepts; personified; dramatic
Framing is self-reinforcing. Media coverage contributes o the success of the original
Key educational goals/outcomes for today:
Understand that intent of communication is the distinctive feature of propaganda, but that many
other forms of communication (news framing, persuasion, advertising) use the same or similar
Understand social function of propaganda.
Be able to define propaganda and persuasion.
Apply the definition of propaganda to any text (i.e. be able to judge if the text is propagandistic
Altheide, David L. 2009. “War and Mass Mediated Evidence”, Cultural Studies Critical
Methodologies. 9: 1. February. 14-22.
Grazian, David. 2010. “Neoliberalism and the realities of reality television.” Contexts. 9; 2. 68-
Steeves, H. Leslie. 2008. “CommodifyingAfrica on U.S. Network Reality Television,”
Communication, Culture & Critique. 1. 416-446.
Questions to guide the reading/to think about ahead of time for students
Altheide explains the US media’s compliance with the government’s propaganda about the war
in Iraq by the media’s dependence on government officials as news sources / experts. Think
about other possible reasons for this compliance. For instance, why were the UK media much
more critical of their government’s involvement in the same war than their US counterparts?
What is war programming? How does it use information about past wars? What is the timing of
criticism within it?
Understand the main characteristics of neo-liberal economic doctrine, as summarized by
Grazian. What does he mean by claiming that reality TV reflects not only the economic
principles of neo-liberalism, but also its morality?
Note that reality TV’s avoidance of professional writers and actors has both financial and
organisational consequences (increase in producer’s control over staff). How does Grazian
interpret the location of reality TV production in developing countries? Identify beneficiaries of
particular representations of Africa in the US reality TV shows. Note that they are not identical
with the TV networks that produce and air the shows. This situation is common in contemporary
society, where mass media take on and distribute messages from various interested parties.
Steeves identifies commodification as the central mechanism in reality TV representations of
Africa. Which commercial activity is meant to benefit from this representation?
Define “hybrid encounter.” Note that the central question of the article is derived from post-colonial theory. What is the
question? What does it have to do with propaganda?
A GENDA FOR CLASS
We begin the class with a review of agenda-setting and framing. You will notice that some means
of framing (information management and connotation) also appear among the usual means of
propaganda. What distinguishes the two is the intent of communication: news is not meant to
generate attitudes and behaviour which are directly beneficial to the news organisation.
Propaganda, however, is communicated for the sole benefit of the propagandist.
The main concepts for today
Is a one way comm that deliberately and systematically attempts to achieve a response
(public opinion and behavior) that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
Advertising is propaganda by commercial organisations attempting to achieve
Do not want to hear opinions
Propagandists in control of comm