Thorough Notes on Lecture 5
6 pages63 viewsWinter 2011
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SOCC44H3Media and SocietyFriday, Feb 11/2011
Propoganda and Persuasion – definitions
•Propaganda: is one way communication that deliberately and systematically attempts to
achieve a response (public opinion and behaviour) that furthers the desired intent of the
Because it is meant to further the predetermined interests of the person/organization sending
it, they aren't interested in the feedback of the people they're sending too.
Only interested in whether the message alters they're behaviour
A propagandist has a certain purpose in mind. They want you to think a certain way and
perform certain actions
Ex: support certain laws, buy certain products
A propagandist isn't interested in the well being of the public
If the Canadian government becomes interested in sending the Canadian Army to Iraq,
you can expect a propaganda campaign promoting their sending.
•They'll start convincing people how it is useful and necessary
Another example of propaganda: involvement of Canadian troops in Afghanistan. There was
a lot of propaganda going on stating why it is important to keep the troops there.
Incidentally there was an increase in the budget for the army around the same time as
this (just before). This increased the armies importance (that's what they wanted us to
think) so we'd support them staying there, doing their job and earning that money.
•Advertising is propaganda by commercial organizations, attempting to achieve consumption
They want to increase their profit by asking you to change your opinions
ex: they'll make you think a new car with certain features that their car has is vitally
important so you buy their car
•Persuasion is interactive communication that attempts to satisfy the needs of both persuader
The person who is starting a campaign of persuasion generally believes that if you agree
with them in their opinions and followed their lead, your leads will also be satisfied
Their goal is to genuinely contribute to something that will satisfy both their needs and
In city council meetings, if the speaker wants to do something which satisfies the needs of
both the audience and the propagandist, then it is Persuasion.
If the person with interest is interested in their own wants then it is Propaganda
Both Propaganda and Persuasion use bias presentation, both use facts which are in
themselves true but are taken out of context making it harder to figure out what they mean
•Propaganda is a subset of persuasion (sharing its techniques, going beyond its aims.)
•The most important difference between them is the intent of communication
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•It can be judged on basis of content analysis and/or knowledge of background facts surrounding
the issue, but it cannot be judged on basis of the declared purpose of communication
you can use content analysis to go over their interests and look at key words that they use
frequently to find out what they really want
every propagandist always tells you what he or she wants is in their interest, that's why it
cannot be judged on the basis of the declared purpose of communication
•ex: “This initiative will benefit all Canadians
If Obama tells you that health care needs to further it's budget, you need to know the legal
terms behind it, what problems there currently are and other things...you need to know the
facts to truly know if what he's saying is true
•Origin of the term: Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (founded in 1622, renamed to
Congregatio pro Gentium Evangelisatione in 1982)
•Social function of propaganda: social control
It's trying to control your opinions and behaviour. If you already hold the wanted behaviours
and opinions, then the propaganda only reinforces your views. If you don't hold the wanted
behaviour or opinion, then the task of the propaganda is to change your mind.
If the propagandist compaign (which is cheap) is unsuccessful, then they have to find other
means of persuasion (which will probably cost money)
•Specific purposes may be:
1. agitative or
•Wants you to change something in your opinions or behaviour. Adopt a new view and start
doing something you haven't been doing up to now
Ex: in canadian ads for military, they have constitute propaganda because they tell you to
change what you are currently doing in your life by enlisting.
•They want to persuade you that what you are already doing is the right thing to do. They
reinforce your current behaviours and opinions.
1. Adapted to its audience (both the source and the message must be within the cultural framework
of the audience).
•There must be something familiar and acceptable to audiences
•It's more difficult to make someone believe something which is totally new to them than
to make them believe something they already know about
•Cf. successful framing
•In WWI army recruited people by saying the old country (england) needed our aid. This
helped recruit english speaking canadians, but not french canadians because they feel
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