Propaganda is a communication technique meant to persuade the listener, viewer or reader to accept a person or concept. These techniques are used in politics to influence people to vote for a certain party or candidate, or support a particular cause or agenda. There are many different types of propaganda techniques that use a variety of methods to spread their messages.
"Plain folks" is an appeal to everyday people. For example, a candidate wearing casual attire and walking around a farm gives the impression he's a working person just like you, even though he may be a rich businessman who has never milked a cow. "Bandwagon" appeals to people's need for acceptance. Everyone else is doing it so you should too, or you will be missing out. The "fear" technique tries to make you afraid that if you don't support a candidate or idea something bad will happen. Lyndon Johnson's 1964 ad showing a girl in a field followed by an atomic bomb explosion is an example of this technique.
The propaganda technique that employs logical fallacies gives a fact or set of facts and draws a conclusion about the candidate or idea based on those facts. The facts are true, but the conclusion is not. For example, saying "Ronald Reagan was an actor. Ronald Reagan was a Republican. All actors are Republicans," draws a false conclusion from facts. A similar technique is faulty cause and effect. For example, if the employment numbers go down during a president's term, using this technique, an opponent might say, "Vote for me because the president is making jobs disappear."
"Transfer" allows you to form positive ideas about a candidate based on an implied connection. For example, when a candidate's family stands behind her at every speech, it implies that she has strong family values. "Testimonials" take a more direct approach, using a stated endorsement for the candidate or idea to increase public acceptance. An example of this is when a former or current president endorses his party's current presidential candidate.
Word or Symbol Association
Two types of propaganda that depend on forming associations between a person or idea or either a positive or negative word or symbol are "name calling" and "glittering generalities." "Name calling" is just what it sounds like – making a negative connotation by calling names. "Mr. Peabody is a square" is an example of name calling meant to associate the idea of a staid man who is against fun with Mr. Peabody. "Glittering generalities" is the opposite of name calling, using a word or symbol to make a positive connection in people's minds.
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