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Propaganda techniques Propagandists use a variety of propaganda techniques to influence opinions and to avoid the truth. Often these techniques rely on some element of censorship or manipulation, either omitting significant information or distorting it. They are indistinguishable except in degree from the persuasion techniques employed in social, religious and commercial affairs. Recently persuasion technology has come into common use, in all styles from digital image alteration to persuasive presentation and persistent telemarketing based on repetition, making these techniques impossible to avoid. Table of contents [hide] 1 Rhetorical techniques 2 Other techniques/terms 3 Logical Fallacies 3.1 References on Logical Fallacies 4 Persuasion technology arms races 5 Recommended Books 6 External links

Rhetorical techniques During the period between World Wars I and II, the now-defunct Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA) developed a list of common rhetorical techniques used for propaganda purposes. Their list included the following:



Bandwagon "You're either with us, or against us" appeals to an audience to join a ground swell of public opinion and activity because everybody else is joining. The "bandwagon" technique appeals to feelings of loyalty and nationalism, as well as the desire to be on the winning side. The technique tends to obscure the ethics of the activity at the expense of victory: better to belong to the winning side than be too concerned with the rightness of the means to achieve it. The "4 out of 5 doctors recommend..." slogan uses both the bandwagon technique and the argument to authority to promote an action. (The two techniques are commonly found linked.) In psychographics terminology, the bandwagon technique appeals most strongly to the group called belongers, those who make decisions because that's what everyone else is doing. In the post-9/11 world, public figures in the U.S. find it difficult to express even mild criticism of the Bush administration's foreign policies -- so powerful is the bandwagon

mentality that seeks to assert that everyone must unite in the fight against terrorism, the axis of evil, the makers of weapons of mass destruction, and those against freedom. Obscured in this powerful propaganda technique are the facts that, for example, the U.S. has more weapons of mass destruction than any other nation, and is the world's largest arms dealer. As the "world's most powerful nation," the U.S. has tremendous bandwagon appeal. Lurking behind the bandwagon technique is the fear of losing, and the threat of reprisals.


Euphemisms Euphemisms are used to make something not sound as bad as it is.

Examples • • • • • •

passed away: died went to heaven: died (often used with children, as in "Grandma went to heaven.") fatal injury: death fatality: dead/killed person casualties: deaths and injuries collateral damage: damage, death, injury to non-combatants and their property

See also doublespeak.


Fear Fear is one of the most primordial human emotions and therefore lends itself to effective use by propagandists. Human beings can do great and terrible things when motivated by fear. Fear is essentially the survival instinct kicking in: "I'd better watch out because you can harm me."

Fear being fundamentally irrational, it is one of the most widely used techniques used by propagandists. "When a propagandist warns members of [his/her] audience that disaster will result if [it does] not follow a particular course of action, [he/she] is using the fear appeal," observes the Propaganda Critic. "By playing on the audience's deep-seated fears, practitioners of this technique hope to redirect attention away from the merits of a particular proposal and toward steps that can be taken to reduce the fear." Specific types of fears include xenophobia (fear of foreigners), fear of terrorism, crime, economic hardship, ecological disaster, disease, overpopulation, invasion of privacy, or discrimination. With such a broad spectrum of fear, the propagandizer can pick relevant phobias and incorporate them into his/her messages. The power of this propaganda technique can be multiplied when it is exploited in conjunction with uncertainty and doubt, that is, when information at hand is not sufficient enough to completely rule out the cause of the fear. In order to instill fear, uncertainty and doubt, propagandists exploit general ignorance. Pushed to its extremes, this combination can lead to conspiracy theories. An example of this technique is the use of the as yet unsubstantiated claim that Iraq posesses weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the US lead invasion of Iraq. "One facet of emotional control focuses on the excessive use of fear. Fear of the outside world (flying, opening mail, large crowds and tall buildings) and fear of enemies (evil-doers). We are asked to stay on full alert, while carrying on with life as usual. While knowledge is power, the withholding of information exacerbates this fear, as we walk through our days in a general sense of impending doom and distrust of those who look different or dress different from us. Total paranoia."[1] •

"This is an administration that will not talk about how we gather intelligence, how we know what we're going to do, nor what our plans are. When we move, we will communicate with you in an appropriate manner. We're at war. There has been an act of war declared upon America by terrorists, and we will respond accordingly. And I appreciate very much the American people understanding that. As we plan, as we put our strategy into action, we will let you know when we think it's appropriate - not only to protect the lives of our servicemen and women, but to make sure our coalition has had proper time to be noticed, as well. But we're going to act." --President George W. Bush, 15 September 2001.


"President George W. Bush said Sunday he is confident the nation will rebound from this week's terrorist attacks, and he urged Americans to go back to work on Monday knowing their government is determined to 'rid the world of evil-doers.'" --CNN, 16 September 2001.

"I think America needs to know that we in government are on alert; that we recognize life around the White House or around the Congress is not normal, or is not the way it used to be, because we're very aware that people have conducted an act of war on our

country; and that all of us urge our fellow Americans to go back to work and to work hard, but we must be on alert." --President George W. Bush, 19 September 2001. •

"In the months ahead, our patience will be one of our strengths -patience with the long waits that will result from tighter security; patience and understanding that it will take time to achieve our goals; patience in all the sacrifices that may come." --President George W. Bush, 7 October 2001.


"We must be steadfast. We must be resolved. We must not let the terrorists cause our nation to stop traveling, to stop buying, to stop living ordinary lives. We can be alert and we will be alert, but we must show them that they cannot terrorize the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. And we won't. We will not be terrorized, we will not be cowed." -- President George W. Bush, 17 October 2001.

"The Bush administration has made no apology for the need for information control, which includes both withholding and distorting information to make it acceptable, and limiting access to other (non-cult) sources of information."[2] •

"The point to the networks -- and let me just say that I think the networks have been very responsible in the way that they have dealt with this -- my message to them was that it's not to me to judge news value of something like this, but it is to say that there's a national security concern about an unedited, 15 or 20-minute spew of anti-American hatred that ends in a call to go out and kill Americans. And I think that that was fully understood. We are still concerned about whether there might be some signaling in here, but I don't have anything more for you on that yet." -- Condoleezza Rice, October 15, 2001, on her request to the television networks to not broadcast al Qaeda/Osama bin Laden messages.

"Another more destructive form of deception today is the selling of fear. Fear is the most debilitating of all human emotions. A fearful person will do anything, say anything, accept anything, reject anything, if it makes him feel more secure for his own, his family's or his country's security and safety, whether it actually accomplishes it or not.... "It works like a charm. A fearful people are the easiest to govern. Their freedom and liberty can be taken away, and they can be convinced to believe that it was done for their own good to give them security. They can be convinced to give up their liberty - voluntarily." --Gene E. Franchini, retired Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, 12 September 2003.[3] Franchini goes on to use USA PATRIOT ACT as an example. When confronted with persuasive messages that capitalize on our fear, the Propaganda Critic advises asking ourselves the following questions:

• • • •

Is the speaker exaggerating the fear or threat in order to obtain my support? How legitimate is the fear that the speaker is provoking? Will performing the recommended action actually reduce the supposed threat? When viewed dispassionately, what are the merits of the speaker's proposal?

A good example of fearmongering is the red alerts that occurred frequently in the U.S. after 911. A red alert was (and is) a signal of a supposed need for heightened security because of a possible terrorist attack, but in reality would have done very little to thwart a real attack. Only vague reasons were given for the alerts. This Orwellian tactic created an atmosphere of fear rather than a feeling of protection and was used to justify any number of assaults on various freedoms in the name of anti-terrorism. In The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America, Eric Alterman and Mark Green describe in detail the Bush administration’s use of fear after 9-11 to terrify Americans for political reasons: “With alarming consistency administration figures terrified Americans with nearcertain, but curiously vague, warnings about upcoming attacks. Vice President Cheney explained that such an attack was ‘almost a certainty’ and ‘not a matter of if, but when.’ A day later, FBI director Robert Mueller promised, ‘There will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it.’ On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld added, ‘We do face additional terrorist threats. And the issue is not if but when and where and how.’ Rumsfeld also added that terrorists will ‘inevitably’ obtain weapons of mass destruction. Director Mueller announced that more suicide bombings were ‘inevitable.’ US authorities issued separate warnings that al Qaeda might be planning to target apartment buildings nationwide, banks, rail and transit systems, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. As a Time writer noted of the fearmongering: ‘Though uncorroborated and vague the terror alerts were a political godsend for an administration trying to fend off a bruising bipartisan inquiry into its handling of the terrorist chatter last summer. After the wave of warnings, the Democratic clamor for investigation into the government’s mistakes subsided.’” “Indeed, the national security historian John Prados found ‘ample reason to suspect that some of these recent warnings of terrorist threats have been made for political purposes.’ In the case of alleged ‘dirty bomber’ Abdullah al Muhajir – a former Chicago gang member who was born Jose Padilla – Prados notes that the suspect was apprehended on May 8. ‘A desire to allay public fears should have led to an immediate announcement of the arrest. Instead the act was kept secret, allowing Donald Rumsfeld to have his cake and eat it too: The administration could raise the specter of al Qaeda nuclear attacks while not revealing that the man who constituted the threat was already in custody. Thus the arrest was only revealed when it offered maximum opportunity for turning attention away from inquiries into what went wrong before 9 – 11.’ The actual announcement of his arrest was another scene in what would be a comedy of errors were the consequences not so serious. Attorney General John Ashcroft revealed al Muhajir’s arrest through a television hookup while he was on a visit to Moscow. In fact, al Mujahir had no nuclear materials when arrested or any

immediate prospect of obtaining any, and the nuclear ‘plot’ was actually just accounts of conversations between the suspect and another US prisoner, Abu Zubaydeh.’” “Yet another indication that the warnings were largely politically motivated was the fact that just as his administration was issuing them, Bush was telling the country not to take them too seriously. At one point, the president flew to Chicago and urged Americans to ‘get on board’ airplanes and enjoy life ‘the way we want it to be enjoyed.’ Yet only three days later Ashcroft warned of ‘a very serious threat’ of additional terrorist activity, particularly if the United States launched a military retaliation.”

glittering generalities

Glittering generalities "Freedom" and "Democracy" are notable examples of glittering generalities: vague terms with high moral connotations intended to arouse faith and respect in listeners or readers. The exact meanings of these glittering terms are impossible to define, hence vague generalities. "We the people" could mean prudent, wise, fair rule; it could also mean repression. It all depends on who the 'people' who rule actually are. Saddam Hussein, for instance, was democratically elected, so was Abe Lincoln. Furthermore, one person's idea of freedom could very well be another's idea of slavery. Glittering generalities sound sincere but they really mean nothing. As such they are a logical fallacy. Used by people who sincerely mean well, and also by people that seek to muzzle freedoms and democratic government, whatever these terms may mean.


Name-calling Name-calling is a form of ad hominem attack that draws a vague equivalence between a concept and a person, group or idea. By linking the person or idea being attacked to a negative symbol, the propagandist hopes that the audience will reject the person or the idea on the basis of the symbol, instead of looking at the available evidence. The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, one of the first organizations to systematically study propaganda in the early 20th century, included name-calling in its list of common rhetorical techniques. "Bad names have played a tremendously powerful role in the history of the world and in our own individual development," they stated. "They have ruined reputations, stirred men and women to outstanding accomplishments, sent others to prison cells, and made men

mad enough to enter battle and slaughter their fellowmen. They have been and are applied to other people, groups, gangs, tribes, colleges, political parties, neighborhoods, states, sections of the country, nations, and races." [1] Examples of name calling include: • • • • • • •

commie fascist pig yuppie bum queer terrorist

According to the IPA, we should ask ourselves the following questions when we spot an example of name-calling: • • • •

What does the name mean? Does the idea in question have a legitimate connection with the real meaning of the name? Is an idea that serves my best interests being dismissed through giving it a name I don't like? Leaving the name out of consideration, what are the merits of the idea itself?

See also •


plain folks

Plain folks By using plain folks rhetoric, speakers attempt to convince their audience that they, and their ideas, are "of the people." The device is used by advertisers and politicans alike. America's recent presidents have all been millionaires, but they have gone to great lengths to present themselves as ordinary citizens. We are all familiar with candidates who campaign as political outsiders or who challenge a mythical "cultural elite," presumably aligning themselves with "ordinary Americans." In all of these examples, the plain-folks device is at work.

The Institute for Propaganda Analysis has argued that, when confronted with this device, we should ask ourselves the following questions: • • •

What are the propagandist's ideas worth when divorced from his or her personality? What could he or she be trying to cover up with the plain-folks approach? What are the facts?


Testimonial The use of personal experience to convince. By describing the successes or failures of ones own experience lends credability to the pitch. " I tried doing that exactly the way you did, but it didnt work because..." or " I followed this path and got this result..." Use of the testimonial is common in Evangelical Christianity, commercial advertising, advocacy advertising.


Transfer (propaganda technique) "Transfer is a device by which the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept," explained the now-defunct Institute for Propaganda Analysis in its 1938 analysis of this common rhetorical technique. "For example, most of us respect and revere our church and our nation. If the propagandist succeeds in getting church or nation to approve a campaign in behalf of some program, he thereby transfers its authority, sanction, and prestige to that program. Thus, we may accept something which otherwise we might reject. "In the Transfer device, symbols are constantly used. The cross represents the Christian Church. The flag represents the nation. Cartoons like Uncle Sam represent a consensus of public opinion. Those symbols stir emotions . At their very sight, with the speed of thought, is aroused the whole complex of feelings we have with respect to church or nation. A cartoonist, by having Uncle Sam disapprove a budget for unemployment relief, would have us feel that the whole United States disapproves relief costs. By drawing an Uncle Sam who approves the

same budget, the cartoonist would have us feel that the American people approve it. Thus, the Transfer device is used both for and against causes and ideas."

Other techniques/terms


ad hominem

Ad hominem An ad hominem argument, or argumentum ad hominem (Latin, literally "argument against the man [or person]"), is a fallacy that involves replying to an argument or assertion by attempting to discredit the person offering the argument or assertion. Ad hominem rebuttals are one of the best-known of propagandist tactics. Simply, it is a refutation of a proposition, based solely upon some unrelated fact about the person presenting the proposition. Such refutation is said to be "against the person" (ad hominem) and not their proposition. Properly, it consists of saying that an argument is wrong because of something about the individual or organization is in error rather than about the argument itself. Moreover, it is not necessary to insult the individual or organization whose argument is attacked in order to commit the ad hominem attack. Rather, it must be clear that the purpose of the characterization is to discredit the person offering the argument, and, specifically, to invite others to discount his arguments. Three traditionally identified varieties include: •

Ad hominem abusive o Involves merely (and often unfairly) insulting the opponent. o Involve pointing out factual but damning character flaws or actions. o Insults and damaging facts simply do not undermine what logical support there might be for one's opponent's arguments or assertions.


Ad hominem circumstantial o Involves pointing out that someone is in circumstances such that he or she is disposed to take a particular position. o Constitutes an attack on the bias of a person. o Does not make one's opponent's arguments, from a logical point of view, any less credible to point out that one's opponent is disposed to argue that way.


Ad hominem tu quoque (literally, "at the person, you too") o Also called the "hypocrisy" argument. o Occurs when a claim is dismissed either because it is inconsistent with other claims which the claimant is making or because it is inconsistent with the claimant's actions.

As technique of propaganda, despite its usual lack of subtlety, it is powerful and frequently used (and, sometimes, excessively). Anyone involved in political discourse, and public discourse in general, would do well to become acquainted with it. See also: fundamental attribution error


adjectives and adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs Adjectives and adverbs, while serving as descriptive language components that can better define an idea, can also be used to pass along an opinion and can be used to convey a propagandist's message. The description might simply be wrong, or it might serve as an element of other propaganda techniques. Adjectives are used to describe a person, place or thing. Adverbs describe an action. A propagandist usually expresses an attribute of something in a way that will bring the desired opinion of the person, or place, or thing. Adjectives or adverbs can be used to subjectively describe circumstances in terms a propagandist desires. If a speech maker declared "It will be a dark, dreary day if my opponent gets his way," adjectives would be used to construct an alliteration, to infer a negative connotation and to appeal to fear. Adjectives and adverbs can be checked for propaganda value by asking whether the descriptive term lends any additional meaning to its noun or verb. If the description is redundant, chances are it is employed as part of propaganda tactics.


agent provocateur

Agent provocateur

An agent provocateur is a person assigned to provoke unrest, violence, debate or argument by or within a group while acting as a member of the group but covertly representing the interests of another. In general, agents provacateur seek to secretly disrupt a group's activities from within the group. Agents provocatuer are employed to disrupt or discredit a group by performing acts for which the group will be falsely accused, by leading the group into activities that they would not otherwise pursue or by creating discord between group members. Provacateurs may encourage illegal acts, recomend belligerant tactics a group might otherwise reject, spread false rumors intended to provoke hasty action by a group, spread malicious rumors within a group about a group member or employ other tactics intended to provoke improper action by a group or to divert a group from its chosen purpose. An agent provocateur might attempt to implicate as an accomplice an innocent target who the agent unwittingly involves in a crime or criminal conspiracy. Agents provocateur sometimes try to disrupt a group by creating discord between group members. They may argue for unity, while themselves playing consensus thug. They may argue against factionalism, while consistently advancing the positions or actions of one faction in the group. Disruptive group members might not be agents provocateur if they do not represent an outside interest; the term "agent" usually implies representation of or employment by another interest. See also: create tension between two or more target groups, demagogue, intelligence agent, outing, operative, propaganda techniques, secret agent



Alliteration Alliteration is a technique (or "device") in which successive words (more strictly, stressed syllables) begin with the same consonant sound. Alliteration is a frequent tool of propaganda and common in prose, particularly short phrases. Manifestos are developed by this device. Usually the author employs some general technique as a framework for the works. Alliterative verse in one form or another is shared by all of the older Germanic languages.

Examples "Nattering nabombs of negativity" -- Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, attributed to speechwriter William L. Safire

See also •

Adjectives and adverbs

• •

Cliché Propaganda techniques

Portions of this article were adapted from Wikipedia's article.


Anger Anger is an emotional reaction to increase the impact of propaganda, usually regarding an act or idea of another person or organisation. Propagandists exploit anger for various purposes. By provoking this feeling from an audience by a message, it becomes a propaganda tool. Anger involves a sense of wrongedness, outrage, frustration, irritation, or violent conflict. Framing statements so as to achieve anger in the audience is a common propaganda technique. Anger is sometimes used to instigate violence. See also: propaganda techniques


Association (propaganda technique) Association, as a propaganda technique, is the activity of creating a bias about an unknown individual or organization by associating the unknown individual or organization with something familiar. The associated bias of the familiar individual or organization can be created in favor of, or, in opposition to, the individual or organization under discussion. This technique of association is very similar to the technique of transfer in that the victim makes a transfer of, or association with, the familiar to the unfamiliar. By way of example, a recent Disinfopedia contributor offered, "Extreme critics, the most 'mainstream' being perennial extreme-left Presidential Candidate Lyndon LaRouche and an article in The Nation" with the effect of having readers take a familiar negative association of "extreme", amplifying it by association with the "perennial extreme" LaRouche, and applying it unfairly and

unnecessarily to both The Nation and the outfit which it reasonably and rightly criticized. Note also the inference that critics regard LaRouche as "mainstream".


Astroturf Senator Lloyd Bentsen, himself a long-time Washington and Wall Street insider, is credited with coining the term "astroturf lobbying" to describe the synthetic grassroots movements that now can be manufactured for a fee by companies like Beckel Cowan, Bivings Group, Bonner & Associates, Burson-Marsteller, Davies Communications, DCI Group, Direct Impact, Hill & Knowlton, Issue Dynamics Inc., National Grassroots & Communications, or Optima Direct. Campaigns & Elections magazine defines astroturf as a "grassroots program that involves the instant manufacturing of public support for a point of view in which either uninformed activists are recruited or means of deception are used to recruit them." Journalist William Greider has coined his own term to describe corporate grassroots organizing. He calls it "democracy for hire." Unlike genuine grassroots activism which tends to be money-poor but people-rich, astroturf campaigns are typically people-poor but cash-rich. Funded heavily by corporate largesse, they use sophisticated computer databases, telephone banks and hired organizers to rope lessinformed activists into sending letters to their elected officials or engaging in other actions that create the appearance of grassroots support for their client's cause. William Greider's 1992 book, Who Will Tell the People, described an astroturf campaign run by Bonner & Associates as a "boiler room" operation with "300 phone lines and a sophisticated computer system, resembling the phone banks employed in election campaigns. Articulate young people sit in little booths every day, dialing around America on a variety of public issues, searching for 'white hat' citizens who can be persuaded to endorse the political objectives of Mobil Oil, Dow Chemical, Citicorp, Ohio Bell, Miller Brewing, US Tobacco, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and dozens of other clients. This kind of political recruiting is expensive but not difficult. ... Imagine Bonner's technique multiplied and elaborated in different ways across hundreds of public issues and you may begin to envision the girth of this industry. ... This is democracy and it costs a fortune." Astroturf techniques have been used to: •

block the transfer of federal licenses that WorldCom uses for its long distance and Internet services by Issue Dynamics Inc. using non-profit groups like the United Church of Christ defeat the Clinton administration's proposed health care reform, through a front group called "Rx Partners" created by the Beckel

• • •

Cowan PR firm, and the Coalition for Health Insurance Choices, created by public relations consultant Blair Childs harass environmentalists through the Wise Use movement loosen automobile fuel efficience standards support clear-cutting American forests, through a front group called Citizens to Protect the Pacific Northwest and Northern California Economy oppose restrictions on smoking in public places, through a front group called National Smokers Alliance, which was created by Burson-Marsteller generate a dossier of newsclips orchestrated by Edelman to assist Microsoft lobbyists persuade U.S. state attorney generals not to join a class action against the company.

Sometimes genuine grassroots organizations are recruited into corporate-funded campaigns. In June 2003, for example, the Gray Panthers participated in protests against WorldCom that were funded largely by the telecommunications company's competitors such as Verizon. According to the Gray Panthers, this reflected a policy decision that the organization made prior to and independently of its funding. However, an article in the Washington Post raised questions about failures to publicly disclose the corporate funding which paid for full-page advertisements that the Gray Panthers took out in several major newspapers that called on the federal government to stop doing business with WorldCom. The ads said they were paid for the Gray Panthers but did not mention that Issue Dynamics Inc. (IDI), a PR firm that specializes in "grassroots PR," had provided most of the $200,000 it cost to place the ads. Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe has declined to say how much the company is paying IDI, and Gray Panthers Executive Director Timothy Fuller has declined to say how much of the funding for its "Corporate Accountability" project comes from IDI. Notwithstanding the egregious nature of WorldCom's corporate crimes, the lack of transparency in these funding arrangements by WorldCom's corporate competitors raises the question of whether the Gray Panthers campaign should be considered genuine grassroots or astroturf.

Case studies •

Grassroots PR Activists Swap War Stories

John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995). "Gray Panther Ads Targeting WorldCom Funded by IDI," Corporate Crime Reporter, June 2, 2003. Christopher Stern, "WorldCom Opponents In Sync," Washington Post, June 19, 2003. "United Church of Christ Stooge for the Baby Bells?," "Fight Back Against Killer Astroturf" provides a list of identifical "letters to the editor" generated by a Republican website that were published in newspapers around the United States.

External links

• • • •

attack ads

Attack ad (Redirected from Attack ads) An attack ad is a short, 15-60 second piece of political advertising almost always aired during an electoral campaign - but maybe as a third party ad. It is the key feature of negative campaigning and is often used to discredit a key political figure. Common features of such an ad include •

Memorable sound bites that are intended to be repeated by the public on the street and in discussions about how to vote, e.g. "not up to the job", employed by the Ontario Tories against Dalton McGuinty in 2003.

Memorable conceptual metaphors that can serve to smear opponents, e.g. the revolving door used to smear Michael Dukakis in 1988 by implying that he was "soft on crime" in Massachusetts.

To avoid libel claims, relying on deliberate ambiguity and fatuously extreme assertions beyond legal liability

Humor, especially in combination with the above.

If it fails, an attack ad campaign can be "spun" into "good fun" by simply extending the conceptual metaphors or extreme assertions to humorous lengths. Evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet details one such case - maybe. Ambiguity exists on this level too, as it is easy to reinforce a campaign of attack ads with generally negative or humorous comments. Only an expert or direct opponent would note the tendency of conceptual metaphors to keep reinforcing each other - the soul of propaganda techniques and ideology itself. Attack ads utilize a variety of propaganda techniques to influence opinions. Propagandists sometimes find attack ads to be more cost effective than other tactics. Attack ads may be presented through a variety of broadcast or print sources but usually are intended to deliver a specific message to a select audience. Rather than support a position held by the advertiser, attack messages target an opponent's platform, track record, background or character. Though the propaganda technique often is devoid of subtlety or diplomacy, attack advertising offers a powerful approach that is much used and abused. In the United States, both the Republican and Democratic parties have exploited attack ads. While allegations in attack ads frequently are blunt or even exaggerated, accusations at other times are phrased subtly or

vaguely so the targeted individual or organization cannot seek legal action against the advertiser. Table of contents [hide] 1 Elements 2 Ad hominem 3 Suggestions 4 The future 5 Real attacks

Elements Elements of attack ads can include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

ad hominem arguments arbitrary topics assertions bias broad generalizations character flaws disinformation false characterizations hypocrisies insults irrelevant information loose associations oxymoronic language partial information smears suggestion specific allegations rumors vague allegations

For an attack ad to be effective, the message probably needs to be believable. Repulsive imagery conveyed in attack ads might reinforce allegations or mask outright character attacks. The ads often rely on resonance of the message to attract the attention of audience members to a message most other listeners or viewers will ignore.

Ad hominem Attack ads tend to promote ambivalence toward the attacked individual's ideas and toward those holding similar views. Attack ads may reference a supposed flaw or weakness in personality, beliefs, lifestyle, convictions or principles of an individual or organization. These attack ads are used to refute a particular proposition based solely upon some unrelated fact about the person presenting the proposition. Such refutation is said to be "against the person" (ad hominem) and not their proposition.

Abusive attack ads sometimes employ mere insults, sometimes with no basis in fact, but can also involve pointing out factual but damning character flaws or actions. Attack ads sometimes point out "hypocrisy" of an individual or organization. Attack ads at other times attack the bias of a person. Attack ads attempt to expose inconsistencies in an opponent’s rhetoric or to show that an opponent's rhetoric is inconsistent with their actions. Attack ads sometimes include false implications masked by otherwise truthful statements. Circumstantial attack ads point to circumstances that could imply a person would be predisposed to take a particular position, such as exposing sources of an opponent's campaign funding.

Suggestions By manipulating salient tidbits of information, attack ads can suggest the totality of information points toward the propagandist's preferred conclusion. Attack ads can take the form of repeated, unapologetic, systematic distortion of facts, or otherwise implying (or asserting) that opponents "are" bad, evil, stupid, untrustworthy, guilty of reprehensible acts or part of some undesirable category. Attack ads often appeal to emotion and discourage reasonable discussion. Ad hominem suggestions in attack ads promote doubt about whether the target is reliable or believable, encouraging ambivalence toward the target and toward the target's platform. The propagandist can then exploit the arising ambivalence by suggesting an alternative to the attack target's proposals.

The future Some attack ads predict with certainty future events based on a few select circumstances. Attack ad propagandists sometimes make unwarranted extrapolations to predict dire circumstances from vague risks. Thus, these attack ads exploit fear or anger to encourage compliance with suggestions the listener might otherwise reject.

Real attacks Advertisements that attack real flaws and that expose inconsistencies in an opponent's rhetoric are a vital part of the public political process. Public officials, politicians, media representatives, and advocates tend to disagree at times about the propriety or relevance of attack ads. For reasons sometimes unbeknownst even to advertisers, attack ads don't always work. Rhetorical attacks can sometimes backfire. Attack tactics attempt to seize rhetorical high ground, either by aggressive reasoning or by irrational suggestion. But a target can sometimes defend against attack advertising by claiming to be above "mud slinging" or "dirty politics," citing the attack ad as an example of its sponsor's unfit character, unreasonable behavior, lack of diplomacy or poor public manners. Anyone involved in political discourse would do well to become acquainted with attack ads. See also: rumor



Augmentation Augmentation is the act of increasing a statement or information (especially in size or amount or degree) by addition. By using this tactic, the propagandist tries to extend, or enlarge, the original statement. The information rides on the exposure of some arbitrary topic (Coca Cola, Earthquakes, the economy, the war, etc.) and, subtly, augments the original message to carry the propagandist's own message along with it. When applied with skill, the recipient will not notice the added part, but only the original message. The augmented message will be accepted uncritically as a basic premise.


bad science

Bad science "Bad Science" usually refers to information presented as a scientific finding that is not based on research using recognized scientific methods. In conversation, speeches or texts, "bad science" may refer to flawed science that does not necessarily reflect a particular bias. "Bad science" can refer to poor research, biased research or to faulty information that might not even be based in scientific research. Propagandists can exploit flawed science to suggest conclusions not supported by research. Propagandists sometimes filter the otherwise unimpeachable work of unbiased scientists, presenting only findings favorable to the propagandist's goals. Misrepresented by a propagandist, "good science" might become bad science. Money, opportunities for recognition and other interests can interfere with the work of scientists. Agendas, affiliations and preconceptions can bias the work of professional researchers. Propagandists can more easily exploit the work of biased scientists. At the extreme, scientists can become propagandists, primarily producing research to support an employer's interests. See also: Junk science

External links and references

• •

Wikipedia's Bad Science A teacher's view of "bad science": Alistair B. Fraser's Bad Science page

bait and switch

Bait and switch Bait and switch is a technique most often associated with the retail industry but is also a favorite of manipulative politicians. In advertising this involves using a lure, such as a lowpriced item, as bait to get a person into the store, then trying to sell the person a higher priced item because the other item is either “out-of-stock” or “of inferior quality.” The key is that there was never any intention to sell the lower-priced item; it was only used as bait to sell more expensive items. While the technique is illegal in retail in the U.S, it still occurs fairly frequently. In politics there are no laws specifically forbidding the use of bait and switch techniques and they are used often in a variety of ways. This includes selling bills at much lower costs than realistically possible and falsely positioning candidates so that they appear to be acceptable to groups that would not otherwise endorse them. Bait and switch is one of the many propaganda tactics used very effectively by the G.W Bush administration. The examples seem to be endless but here are a few of the more notable: the “No Child Left Behind” Act, touted as a means of improving schools and education was then given insufficient funds to carry out its mandate; Alan Greenspan initially claimed that the tax cuts that most benefited the wealthiest Americans would not affect Social Security, yet now that the bill has been has been passed, the economist who clearly knew better is saying that Social Security benefits will have to be cut[1]; and the Medicare Prescription Drug Program was passed by Congress at an estimated cost of $400 billion, when it was already known by the Bush administration that the cost would more likely be around $550 billion – a sum much less likely to be acceptable to Congress. Bait and switch is a type of fraud or deception.

External links • • • •

Wikipedia entry on bait and switch Molly Ivins, “Bait-switch tactics seem to work for Bush, ” Arizona Daily Star, February 26, 2004. Paul Krugman, “Greenspan dabbles in bait-switch,” Arizona Daily Star OpEd, March 3, 2004. Bob Herbert, “Bait and Switch,”, January 30, 2003. (Reprinted from a New York Times OpEd on G. W.Bush’s 2004 State of the Union address).

befriend critics

big lie

Tony Pugh, "Medicare Analyst Confirms Muzzling,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 2004.

Big lie Frequently attributed to Joseph Goebbels, the oft-cited big lie theory appears instead to have been Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's explanation for how people came to believe that Germany lost World War I in the field -- a "big lie" that Hitler attributed to Jewish influence on the press. Hitler writes in Mein Kampf (James Murphy translation, page 134): "All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes. "From time immemorial. however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, whereas in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. Schopenhauer called the Jew "The Great Master of Lies." Those who do not realize

the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail." These statements are typical of the hatred of Jews that permeate Hitler's writings and public statements and which served as the ideological basis for his deliberate genocide against Jews and other races he deemed inferior. (And notice how even Hitler fell subject to the trait of projection!) Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda, is alleged to have stated that if a lie is repeated enough times it would become widely accepted as truth. However, it is not clear when he actually made this statement. Portions of this article were adapted from Wikipedia's article.


BIMBO comment

BIMBO comment "a BIMBO comment is where the speaker repeats and denies a negative, causing the listener to believe the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say." [1] "a BIMBO comment is a negative phrase that causes the listener to believe exactly the opposite. ... particularly when another party ... has determined the negative words." [2] This does not look like a case where the speaker intends to deceive the listener; rather more like a case where the speaker fails to persuade the listener. Examples: Re: G. W. Bush "No, he's not a moron at all, he's a friend of mine." - Jean Chretien responding to reporters questioning him about the widely-reported comment by his director of communications re Bush: 'what a moron'. "I don't see myself as an ideological zealot." (Senator John Ashcroft) "I am not a crook" -- Richard Nixon




Buzzword Buzzword, as Merriam-Webster provides the definition, is "an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen". The use of buzzwords in modern literature, especially in the fields of advertising, computing and information technology, has become de rigeur. Conventional computing technologies and methodologies such as Java, XML, ObjectOriented Programming (OOP) and more have become buzzwords, used as a form of protechnology propaganda to act as bait for technically-unsophisticated managers who are responsible for purchasing decisions. Buzzwords in this sense are a commercialized variant of Newspeak, used to reinforce a particular mindset, but one that is economic in nature, rather than political ("We'll cut 20% off our TCO by switching to UDDI and SOAP"). Very often the use of buzzwords extends far beyond any defensible use, such as an exhortation by a manager that a project be "37% Object-Oriented", or that a given project use Java and XML, whether or not these two technologies are the ideal solutions to the problem at hand. The final evolution of this trend is the "buzzword-compliant" software package, a program that makes use of popular or fashionable technologies for no other sake than to inherit their gloss. The Java language is considered by many to be an example of such software, but there are many other, perhaps more apt, examples. Nor is the phenomenon of "buzzword compliance" limited to software. Deloitte Consulting discovered enough of a correlation between poor performance and the heavy use of businessrelated buzzwords in a company's public statements that they wrote software to "score" documents based on their "jargon" content. That buzzwords are not yet universally taken as seriously as their users wish is illustrated by example. At some presentations by PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, attendees have been known to give out "Buzzword Bingo" cards, and prizes for anyone who yells out "Bingo!" at the point in the talk when a line of five expected buzzwords (out of a total of 25 on the card) have all popped up in the talk or questions afterwards.

External Links • •

Wikipedia's Buzzwords BuzzWhack, the Buzzword Compliant Dictionary


Censorship Censorship is the use of state power or public body or individual to control freedom of expression. Censorship 'criminalizes' some actions or the communication (and suggested communications) of actions. In a modern sense censorship consists of any attempt to suppress information, points of view, or method of expression such as art, or profanity. The purpose of censorship is to maintain the status quo, to control the development of a society, or to stifle dissent among a subject people. See also: Media censorship, Raising standard of evidence, UNESCO and the Press

External links •

Wikipedia's Censorship


Confusopoly Scott Adams, creator of the satirical comic strip Dilbert, coined the word confusopoly in his 1997 book The Dilbert Future. Adams defines a confusopoly as "a group of companies with similar products who intentionally confuse customers instead of competing on price". Examples of industries in which confusopolies exist (according to Adams) include telephone service, insurance, mortgage loans, banking, and financial services.

Reference •

Scott Adams, The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Business Stupidity in the 21st Century (New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 1997, pp. 159-163).

External Link





Contrivance Generally, a contrivance is an act of inventing something or any new thing that emerges from within a society. As a propaganda technique, contrivance is a scheme invented to deceive or evade. Propagandists use contrivances as a stratagem to throw the audience of a message off the real intent of the Propagandist's messages. Individuals set up the artificial arrangement of details to extend the message of propaganda. Some propagandists are skillful at contriving schemes to problems, which may or may not work. Propagandists sometimes improvise these schemes for temporary use.


controlling the noise

Controlling the noise 1. This word means something akin to censorship, but basicaly is used not for profanity or "objectionable" content, but anything which might make a group look bad. Often used along with bandwagon, it is censoring by fear. 2. Can also mean using an agent provocateur at high levels in another group to change the direction of said group towards an opposing groups viewpoint.

create tension between target groups

Create tension between two or more target groups The phrase create tension between two or more target groups comes from a 1993 book by Paul H. Nitze: Tension Between Opposites: Reflections on the Practices and Theory of Politics. Alleged to be connected with the Council on Foreign Relations, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University is said to be a spy school.[1] Creating tension between two or more target groups, perhaps originally a technique more commonly employed for political and military purposes, is often employed as a propaganda tactic. Typical forms this tactic takes include: •

Creating a dummy or shell group that has no purpose except to advocate a view bystanders will see as compatible with that of another target group and which is also opposed to the view of the manipulating group; Then legitimate groups can be drawn into turf wars, be discredited by visible engagement in unappealing confrontations with the new rival, and ultimately discredit their "shared" view - which is of course the opposite of the manipulator's view.

Finding legitimate but incompetent or purist advocates of a view roughly compatible with that of another target group, and funding the incompetents or purists or extremists to become the dominant voice on the issue. Not dealing with the issue is thus easy to excuse, as the dominant view is more extreme than the public's own.

Dealing directly with moderates and requiring concessions that will be found unacceptable by purists, thus co-opting the middle and alienating purists. If purists can be simultaneously drawn into dummy, shell, incompetent or extreme groups, preferably many of these, then an entire movement can be splintered.

See also: agent provocateur

crowd dynamics

defining the center


demonizing the opposition

Demonizing the opposition Paul Krugman, in his November 25, 2003 Op-Ed "The Uncivil War" for the New York Times, addresses the political technique of demonizing the opposition. Krugman writes "the Bush administration — which likes to portray itself as the inheritor of Reagan-like optimism — actually has a Nixonian habit of demonizing its opponents." "The campaign against 'political hate speech' originates with the Republican National Committee. But last week the committee unveiled its first ad for the 2004 campaign, and it's as hateful as they come. 'Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists,' it declares. ... Again, there's that weasel word 'some.' No doubt someone doesn't believe that we should attack terrorists. But the serious criticism of the president, as the committee knows very well, is the reverse: that after an initial victory in Afghanistan he shifted his attention — and crucial resources — from fighting terrorism to other projects."[1] "All this fuss about civility, then, is an attempt to bully critics into unilaterally disarming — into being demure and respectful of the president, even while his campaign chairman declares that the 2004 election will be a choice 'between victory in Iraq and insecurity in America.'"[2] "The 'politics of personal destruction'--a phrase popularized by Bill Clinton during his impeachment--has been in vogue since long before Monica Lewinsky captured the attention of Clinton's indiscriminate libido. Although the tactic of demonizing the opposition has been practiced with varying intensity throughout the history of politics, this current round of hyperpartisan warfare can be traced back to 1987, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert H. Bork for the Supreme Court."[3]

"Blocking Supreme Court nominees for partisan reasons is nothing new; Republicans did it in 1968 to hold a seat open for Richard M. Nixon to fill. Nor is the practice of distorting an appointee's record and demonizing the opposition - there's even a name for it, Borking, resulting from the 1987 rejection of Robert Bork."[4] "To mobilize the base, candidates in both parties take more extreme positions. Campaign rhetoric becomes more strident as campaigns try to excite supporters by demonizing the opposition. Issues become weapons to use to goad people into voting - or discourage an opponent's base from voting. For example, Republicans attack abortion and gay rights to turn out evangelical voters. Democrats practice what approaches class war as they attack wealth and corporations in order to inspire blue-collar workers to turn out. "As a result, many people in the center become turned off by it all and no longer bother to vote. Political dialogue becomes a series of epithets and bombast hurled at opponents over the airwaves in attack ads or on talk shows. It even becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since centrist voters find little to like in either party, they quit voting. That just prompts both parties to try even harder to mobilize base voters to win increasingly low-turnout elections. Fewer centrist politicians run for office or work in politics. Instead, the humorless zealots and true believers rise to the top."[5] "Some partisans in any cause maintain that the crisis of the moment is so urgent and compelling that we cannot wait to win over the majority of the public with facts. We must rally support through circulating horror stories, inflating statistics, and demonizing the opposition. "Such tactics may succeed in raising a rabble and generating momentum toward achieving a specific short-term objective: storming the Bastille, sinking the Bismarck, or lynching the first strangers who ride into Ox Bow after ill-founded rumor has it that someone was murdered. Propaganda tactics are even more effective in generating donations to support cause-oriented groups, since donors typically respond to appeals on impulse, and since the consequences of making an ill-chosen donation rarely return to haunt the donor. "But propaganda in the long run is self-defeating. It works on the psyche much like pornography, in that as the viewer becomes more familiar with the material, it becomes ever less titilating. Propagandists, like pornographers, must constantly seek out new depths of abuse and degradation to shock and excite potential donors and activists, who meanwhile may become so depressed by the barrage of horror as to quit opening the mail or even drop out of the cause entirely to avoid further emotional stress. "Worse still, propaganda displays contempt for the recipient. It says, in effect, 'You're too stupid and insensitive to respond to facts.' People who find out they've been taken for fools often respond with a backlash rejection of anything and everything the propagandists promoted sometimes including worthwhile ideas. "Finally, propaganda devalues and debases the legitimate arguments on behalf of the cause it purportedly serves. When propagandists act on their belief that the truth alone isn't strong enough to win people over, they demonstrate a distinct lack of faith in their factual support."[6]

Other Related Disinfopedia Resources • • • • • • • •

Commission on Presidential Debates MoveOn open debates Open Debates pre-emptive campaign strategy propaganda techniques public polling industry U.S. presidential election, 2004

External Links •

Campaigning in Wartime, New York Times Op-Ed, November 23, 2003.


Disinformation Disinformation is deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government, intelligence agency, corporation or other entity for the purpose of influencing opinions or perceptions. Unlike misinformation, which is also a form of wrong information, disinformation is produced by people who intend to deceive their audience. A group might plant disinformation in reports, in press releases, in public statements or in practically any other routine, occasional or unusual communique. Disinformation can also be leaked, or covertly released to a source who can be trusted to repeat the false information. A common disinformation tactic is to mix truth, half-truths, and lies. Disinformants sometimes seek to gain the confidence of their audience through emotional appeals or by using semi-neutral language interlaced with threads of disinformation. "Disinformation is a fact of life in politics. Those who practice politics for a living call it “spin.” Honest people call it lying through your teeth." Says Doug Thompson [1]

External links •

French ambassador to US complains about disinformation



Distraction Techniques of distraction are used to suppress information or points of view by crowding them out of the media, or by inducing other people or groups of people to stop listening to certain arguments, or simply by drawing their attention elsewhere. In a general age of information overload, it is far easier and more cost-effective to simply not discuss an issue, than to spend money on propaganda and spin. Many governments may be discovering that dealing with the public is best achieved through Weapons of Mass Distraction. There is no doubt that all countries have priorities in news reporting that constitutes a bias, and that many times the bias will favor the administration currently in power. It is controversial, and may be just another conspiracy theory, to say that the government or large corporations are deliberately manipulating the media to distract the populace. But the media does have that effect, and the population is distracted. The only question left is whether it's deliberate or not. Distracting the media is relatively easy, using some time-tested techniques--Some of the following recent examples helped keep U.S. public sentiment in favor of an Iraq invasion: Table of contents [hide] 1 Distraction by nationalism 2 Straw man 3 Distraction by scapegoat 4 Distraction by phenomenon 5 Marginalization 6 Demonisation of the opposition 7 Googlewashing 8 A few older examples

Distraction by nationalism A variant on the traditional ad hominem and bandwagon fallacies applied to entire countries. The method is to discredit arguments coming from other countries by appealing to nationalistic pride or memory of past accomplishments, or appealing to fear or dislike of a specific country, or of foreigners in general. It can be very powerful as it discredits foreign journalists (the ones that are least easily manipulated by domestic political or corporate interests).

Example: "You want to know what I really think of the Europeans?" asked the senior United States State Department official. "I think they have been wrong on just about every major international issue for the past 20 years." [1]

Straw man (see Straw man fallacy): Lumping a strong opposition argument together with one or many weak ones, to create a simplistic weak argument that can easily be refuted. Example: Grouping all opposed to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq as "pacifists", so they can be refuted by arguments for war in general.

Distraction by scapegoat A combination of straw man and ad hominem, in which your weakest opponent (or easiest to discredit) is considered as your only important opponent. Example: If many countries are opposed to our actions, but one of them (say, France) is obviously acting out of self-interest, mention mostly France. Bash the French. Talk about Freedom Fries. Complain about ingratitude from World War II. Forget about the 90% of all other countries who feel the same way.

Distraction by phenomenon A risky but effective strategy summarized by David Mamet's movie Wag the Dog, in which the public can be distracted, for long periods of time, from an important issue, by one which occupies more news time. When the strategy works, you have a war or other media event taking attention away from misbehaving or crooked leaders. When the strategy does not work, the leader's misbehavior remains in the press, and the war is derided as an attempted distraction. Example:The fact that Bush Iraq War gets over 2 million hits on Google, while U.S. Economy Bush gets only 1.3 million may be an example of an effective use of "Wag the Dog".

Marginalization (See Appeal to authority and Bandwagon within the article propaganda): This one is widespread and subtle: Simply giving credence only to "mainstream" sources of information, which are also the easiest to manipulate by corporate or political interests, since they can be owned or sponsored by them. Information, arguments, and objections that come from other sources are simply considered "fringe" and ignored, or their proponents permanently discredited. Example: "I think there are a lot of people out there who feel the way I do, but haven't wanted to come forward because they're afraid of being identified with a fringe group..." Langley said. "I don't believe in all the things that all the (anti-war) groups stand for, but we all do share one thing in common: I do believe that this war is wrong."[2]

Demonisation of the opposition

(See 'Obtain disapproval' within the article propaganda): A more general case of distraction by nationalism. Opposing views are ascribed to an out-group and thus dismissed out of hand. This approach, carried to extremes, becomes a form of suppression, as in McCarthyism, where anyone disapproving of the government was considered "un-american" and "Communist" and was likely to be denounced. Example: Recent demonization of any public figure who dared to criticize the Bush administration's motives, including Michael Moore, the Dixie Chicks, etc.

Googlewashing A newly coined word by Andrew Orlowski of The Register [3] in April of 2003 to describe the alleged practice of changing the meaning of a meme (in this example, w:Second Superpower) by web-publishing a well-linked article using the term in an inoffensive manner, stripped of its political significance.

A few older examples (again recall that distraction need not be deliberate): •


In 1995 in Poland the tobacco control bill was debated in the parliament. News were spread to media that smoking while driving will be prohibited and punishable, because it impairs driver's ability to concentrate. There were no such provision proposed, but news turned away public attention from incredible loopholes, which Philip Morris admits to plant in the bill (in the secret documents in American lawsuits). Incredibly, no jounalist bothered to check the draft first hand. At the time, Burson Marsteller handled PR for Philip Morris in Poland.


distort risk

Risk Framing risk poorly or falsely so as to achieve fear is perhaps the single most common of the propaganda techniques. Propagandists often fail to differentiate a risk from threat or more likely, deliberately and selectively confuse the two concepts. Conversely, another popular propaganda technique is to criticise concerns that might give rise to regulation (about the environment, or GM food, for example) as part of our "risk-averse" culture. This is a favoured technique of the UK LM group, which attacks the Precautionary principle as regressive. In the US, the Harvard Centre for Risk Analysis follows similar lines, as does risk pundit Michael Gough.

Risk management is a PR specialism which aims to help corporations strategically plan to avoid negative publicity, as well as to deal with it on an ad-hoc basis. PR agencies specialising in risk management include Regester Larkin and Kroll, Inc..

Disinfopedia resources • • • • • • • • • • •

new normal bioterror biosecurity Chemical threat war propaganda public health crisis environmental scares dangerous technology public relations crisis pro-technology propaganda weapons of mass destruction

Correctible resources • • • • • • •

w:risk e.g. Meta-Wikipedia list of m:worst cases to Wikipedia w:threat e.g. Meta-Wikipedia list of m:threats to Wikipedia w:regret w:biosecurity w:moral panic w:cognitive bias w:behavioral finance

Published resources (stub: need anything on public manipulation after 9/11 with risk claims)

divide and conquer

Divide and conquer Divide and conquer refers to the common strategy of seeking to cultivate neutrality or support from those considered 'moderates' as a way of undermining and marginilising those deemed the 'radicals'.

Case studies

Building Bridges and Splitting Greens


Doublespeak Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning, such as euphemisms. The word doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The word actually never appears in that novel; Orwell did, however, coin Newspeak, Oldspeak, duckspeak (speaking from the throat without thinking 'like a duck') and doublethink (holding "...simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them..."), and his novel made fashionable composite nouns with speak as the second element, which were previously unknown in English. It was therefore just a matter of time before someone came up with doublespeak. Doublespeak may be considered, in Orwell's lexicography, as the B vocabulary of Newspeak, words "deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them." Whereas in the early days of the practice it was considered wrong to construct words to disguise meaning, this is now an accepted and established practice. There is a thriving industry in constructing words without explicit meaning but with particular connotations for new products or companies. William Lutz, a professor at Rutgers University, has written several books about doublespeak and is the former editor of the Doublespeak Quarterly Review, which examines ways that jargon has polluted the public mindspace with phrases designed to obscure the meaning of plain English.

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aerial ordnance (military): bombs and missiles. agenda: as in the Liberal Agenda or the Homosexual Agenda; used to discredit laws or programs sought after by the left by adding the feel of conspiracy and ill will to the venture. ally: vassal state; colony. asset (CIA term): foreign spy associate: a low-level employee. Being "associated" sounds more dignified than being "employed" (or "used"), but also connotes being more loosely affiliated, i.e. having less job security. asymmetric warfare: suicide bombing attacks, local violent unrest, almost anything that one does not wish to call war or

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terrorism. Military scientists define asymmetry in warfare as circumstances in which one side continues to fight regardless the disproportionate military capacity of an opponent. axis of evil: countries to be attacked; Bush administration hitlist (currently includes Iran, North Korea, and possibly now Syria threatening moves against Cuba and Venezuela also made by this regime). balanced scientists: biased scientists. bill of rights: a list of promises consisting of many glittering generalities but few enforceable specifics. biosolids: sewage. blowback: the threat of American-made weapons being turned against American troops. [1] boomerang effect: see blowback. Bush bashing: Personal attacks based on partisan criticism of current and past decisions made by President George W. Bush capital punishment: death penalty, state execution. casualty: person killed or maimed in warfare. classified: secret In World War II, secret information was distinguished into classes corresponding to increasing levels of security clearances, and came to be called classified information (as in "classified for a particular clearance"). Classified was also the second lowest grade of information in the UK - restricted ->classified ->secret, etc. coalition of the willing: coalition of the coerced, paid, and afraid also coalition of those billing referring to massive foreign aid bribes or coercive economic threats made against these states by Bush administration. collateral damage: bystander casualties, ecological destruction and environmental contamination with potential to keep causing both for long term. competitive(ness) - profitable (-ility). communication: propaganda. communist: during the Cold War, any person, government or media that challenged American economic hegemony in the world counseling: in business, often a euphemism for reprimanding and/or warning an employee. criminal extremist organization: subjective phrase for anyone or any group that poses a perceived threat. crusade: war. debunk: present an alternative explanation for the truth. decapitation strike: turn of phrase recently used to describe the bombing of structures where military or political leaders are assumed to be. defense: war As in Department of Defense, formed by the merging of the Department of War and Department of the Navy. defence budget: military (and 'imperial' foreign control) budget. dehousing: (WWII) allied bombing of German civilian homes.

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deregulation: reapportioning profiteering opportunities for corporate America by reducing or removing democratically controlled regulatory oversight. detainee: prisoner of war (e.g. on terrorism.) digital rights management: software/hardware which restricts people from excercising their rights (of fair use especially.) disarmament: unilateral process whereby one side to a conflict hands over its arms to the other side; also refers to mutual agreements to reduce numbers of weapons. doublespeak: professional jargon used by members of a disliked profession. downsize, rightsize, RIF (reduction in force): fire employees. "Downsize" at first applied to products, meaning to supply less product for the same price, e.g. 14 oz. instead of a full pound of coffee. eco: implies "ecology", which is the study of community population dynamics. Sometimes added as a prefix to other terms to mislead the public. economic growth: raw increase in Gross National Product - see economic growth, uneconomic growth, productivism, consumerism, militarism, accounting reform for issues with this equivalence. embedded: used by US military authorites in 2003 to describe new policy of inviting journalists to war. Reporters are absorbed into advancing military units, and may even dress like soldiers. Critics say embedded reporters are psychologically inclined to see themselves as part of the military operation (see: Ted Koppel). enemy combatant: legal wording to get around the Geneva Conventions ' protective rights for those captured in combat environmental security: securing the environment for corporate exploitation. ethnic cleansing: genocide. expired: died. freedom fighter: A terrorist we agree with. free speech zone: an area set aside for protesters in which law enforcement supposedly will not interfere with them if they stay within it, but may assail or arrest them if they venture out of it. Often at a remove from which the protesters won't be seen or heard by those participating in the event being protested. food police: pejorative term used by the food industry to attack advocates of better nutrition. forced disarmament: war. fourth-generation warfare: Government-managed terrorism. The idea that warfare passes through "generations" is meant to imply that progress or evolution toward some desirable goal is being made. fractional reserve banking: monopolistic or oligarchic private cartel controlling central banking, facilitating economic parasitism by the rich; see this scientific economics paper.

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general trade: criminal smuggling organized by tobacco companies itself. globalization: expanded profiteering opportunities on global scale. homicide bomber: suicide bomber. human intelligence; also HUMINT: spies. improvised explosive device (IED): Bombs used in roadside ambushes on vehicles. Perhaps called "improvised" to disparage those who make and use them. illegal combatants: prisoners of war who are deprived of basic human rights and of any legal rights under existing international conventions regarding treatment of prisoners. illegals: refugees seeking asylum - perfectly legally - in Australia; term used by the Australian Government under Prime Minister John Howard. infinite justice: revenge, as in "Operation Infinite Justice," the original code name for the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2001. infomercial: a broadcast advertisement filling an entire program slot, often repeating the same body of content several times. Usually referred to in program listings as "paid programming". insurgents: those resisting military occupation. intelligence; also INTEL: spies or secrets. intelligent design: pseudoscience version of creationism used to attack theory of evolution. interrogation techniques/methods - tortures applied by U.S. military(e.g. in liberated Iraq) irregulars: Pentagon-speak for "everybody else". irregularities: corporate accounting fraud. job flexibility : lack of job security (where job security means an actual or implied promise of continued employment). liberate: invade. martyr: suicide bomber, 'kamikaze'. martyrdom operation: suicidal terrorist attack. manifest destiny: imperialism. material support: food, water, shelter. nation building: imposing or influencing a new domestic polity. negative patient care outcome: death. neutralize: to kill or to render politically ineffective by imprisonment, damage to reputation, ideological seduction or distraction. new and improved: smaller, more expensive and less useful. New World Order: globalization; imperialization. non-core promise: a promise not kept, in most cases a lie from the start; invented by Australian Prime Minister John Howard. non-duty, non-pay status: fired. person of interest: suspect in a crime. piracy: unauthorized copying of information. pre-dawn vertical insertion: invasion of Grenada; Early morning paradrop of troops/equipment.

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pre-emptive strike: in war it means to attack an enemy before an enemy attacks; in advertising or propaganda it means to offer an excuse or cover story before the truth is exposed. pre-hostility: Build up of war making apparatus before hostilites are initiated. pre-owned: used, second-hand. privatization: profit opportunities for corporate America; usually refers to transfer of former public sector services to management by private firms. pro-growth tax policies: Laws or policies designed to stimulate economic growth. Usually based upon academic theories implemented by current administration that involve reducing taxes for the wealthy while cutting services that primarily benefit the poor. promotion: propaganda. propaganda: information coming from an opposing or independent source. relocation: forcible abduction (often in reference to members of indigenous communities). regime change: a forceful change of government by a foreign power; Pax Americana. remains: As used by the Department of Defense in reference to unidentitified missing soldiers, the word "remains" refers not to the actual physical remains, but to an abstract concept deduced from circumstances. [2] rendition: the deportation of prisoners by one country to another not burdened by following international laws, for the purpose of torture. revenue enhancement: tax increase. revolution in military affairs (RMA): Pentagon term for combat using high-tech, precision-guided munitions; see military-industrial complex and Revolution in military affairs. rogue nation: enemy; usually one that is not aligned with a group of other nations in agreements regarding conduct of warfare. Also see United States as a rogue nation. security contractors: mercenary troops, or agencies that provide them servicing the target: killing the enemy, destroying targeted facilities. shaping the battlefield: Killing some people or destroying facilities in order to make it easier to kill or capture others, usually by preliminary bombardment or shelling. shock and awe: massive bombing, effects-based operation. signal intelligence; also SIGINT: wiretaps. smart bomb: usually air-launched explosives configured with guidance system. softening: the elimination of any barrier to a full-scale attack. sound science: pro-corporate, anti-environmental science. spin: often refers to outright lies, but generally implies an effort to portray events in a light favorable to the one doing the spin.

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subsidy: wellfare for constitiuents surgical strike: military attack; this phrase evokes a medical metaphor to suggest that warfare is a form of healing, as if an regime was a "cancer" or "tumour," while the warrior-leaders are painted as trustworthy surgeons. sustainable population: population control. take down: kill someone (military language). take out: assassinate an individual or destroy a target. target of opportunity: human beings to be assassinated; target or prey fortuitously encountered or discovered. taxpayer: citizen The word taxpayer means someone who pays taxes, and when used in a discussion of government revenues is not doublespeak. However, using the term interchangeably with citizen - the military is there to protect the taxpayers - implies that the primary role of a citizen is to pay taxes, or more generally, that the social contract (again, a term with a particular bias) between citizen and state is primarily economic. This usage has become popular in certain conservative and libertarian groups in the United States: c.f. Taxpayers for Common Sense, National Taxpayers Union. terminate with extreme prejudice: kill. A dead person can never be rehired. terrorist: armed political rebel (negative term). Note however, that in scholarly contexts, "terrorist" is usually defined in a way consistent with the biases of the politics of the region where the scholastic institution is located. See also freedom fighter. transfer: mass deportation. transfer tubes: body bags. trickle-down: refers to the oft-refuted theory that wealth accumulated by the upper strata of a society will benefit members of lower economic classes, where it is known as "dribble-on". unbiased: Used to imply correctness or truth. Lack of significant pre-judgement or conflict of interest is substantially different from reaching truth. unclassified: not secret. Once "classified" became a euphemism for "secret," information that wasn't secret was then called unclassified, which carries the implication that the natural state of information is to be classified, in other words, to be made secret. unmanned aerial vehicles: As in "Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad areas." Two balsa wood radio-controlled aircraft with duct-taped struts and a range of about five miles were discovered. Assuming these drones were prototypes not for surveillance but dispersing chemicals, Bush did not explain how these miniscule and fragile aircraft models might fare over a 5,500 mile journey to U.S. mainland or why they would not be shot down as soon as they crossed Iraq's "No Fly" zone.

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vertically deployed anti-personnel devices: bombs. viral: Opponents of the GNU GPL license sometimes describe one of its properties as being "viral". wet work: assassination.

NOTE: This article is adapted from a Wikipedia article by the same name but includes much more loaded terms, and definitions that include doublespeak in them as well.

External links • • •

William Lutz, Doublespeak (New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1990), ISBN 0-06-016134-5. William Lutz, The New Doublespeak (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1996), ISBN 0-06-017134-0. From the Free Software Foundation: Words to avoid.


echo chamber

Echo chamber Echo chamber is a colloquial term used to describe a group of media outlets that tend to parrot each other's uncritical reports on the views of a single source, or that otherwise relies on unquestioning repetition of official sources. In the United States, the Republican Party uses a network of conservative foundations, coordinated by the Philanthropy Roundtable, and described in an extensive report (March 2004) by Jerry M. Landay for, support an echo chamber of think tanks, industry-friendly experts and subsidized conservative media that systematically spread its messages throughout the political and media establishment. Typically, the message starts when conservative voices begin making an allegation (e.g., Democratic candidates are engaged in "hate-mongering" with regard to Bush). Columns start getting written on this theme, which spreads beyond the subsidized conservative media, eventually begins appearing in places like the New York Times, and becomes a talking point and "accepted fact" throughout the media. Maureen Dowd, in a column for the New York Times on 15 February 2004, described the deceptive condition as one where "the bogus stories ... ricocheted through an echo chamber of government and media, making it sound as if multiple, reliable sources were corroborating the same story." To influence the media, conservatives have also set up several organizations that serve as recruiting, training and career advancement programs for budding journalists. On university

campuses, conservative foundations support several networks of conservative professors, including the National Association of Scholars and the Collegiate Network of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which links and provides funds to more than 70 conservative student papers. The student papers in turn serve as conduits to the mainstream media, through organizations such as the National Journalism Center that provides training, ideological indoctrination and a job bank that helps conservative student journalists begin their careers with internships and permanent job placements at publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, Fox News, Time, Newsweek, and the Associated Press. Opinion pollsters and image makers such as Frank Luntz, Michael Deaver, Ed Rollins, Wirthlin Worldwide and Zogby International help develop the messages that echo in the echo chamber, by identifying hot-button “cultural� issues such as guns, abortion, family values and the flag that have enabled the party of privilege to position itself as the party with which lower-middle and middle-class voters identify. Relatedly, see incestuous amplification Part of the "echo chamber" effect relies not only on repeating a given stance through as many separate channels as possible, but on casting alternative sources of information and opinion as doing the same thing in the opposite direction. Long-standing accusations of the "liberaldominated media", suggesting that the bulk of mass media today forms some sort of liberal echo chamber, denies the idea that the reverse may in fact be the case. Also, it's notable that the cultural body of music is not experiencing the fresh joy of great new songs about peace and love and anti-war which was so remarkable during the quagmire of the 60's. "It's a hammer of justice; it's a bell of freedom; it's a song about love between the brothers and the sisters, all over this land." Much more diverse and uplifting than "Batttle Hymn of the Republic". This lack of new music isn't because the musicians are overseas in uniform. It's because at the slightest peep of anti-war lyric, the radio stations blacklist the artists. The reason for this stems from a reduction in the diversity of radio-station and media ownership. Whether motivated by individual politics or by a desire to stay on good terms with the administration that empowered them, media moguls like Clearchannel and Rupert Murdoch are widely believed to place restrictions on the ideas expressed through the media outlets they control.

Examples •

David Brock, a conservative journalist for the American Spectator, received $11,000 in funding from the John M. Olin Foundation and the Bradley Foundation to support attacks on University of Oregon law professor Anita Hill, after Hill testified before Congress that she had been sexually harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Brock wrote an article attacking Hill and later a book, titled The Real Anita Hill. He later regretted writing the book and wrote a mea culpa titled Blinded by the Right, in which he admitted that his writers were "a witches' brew of fact, allegation, hearsay, speculation, opinion, and invective. ... I didn't know what good reporting is. Like a kid playing with a loaded gun, I didn't

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appreciate the difference between a substantiated charge and an unsubstantiated one.” In fact, Brock stated, "Every source I relied on either thought Thomas walked on water or had a virulent animus toward Hill. I had no access to Hill’s supporters, and therefore no understanding of their motivations, no responses to any of their charges, and no knowledge of whatever incriminating evidence they might have gathered against Thomas that was not introduced in the hearing. ... The conspiracy theory I invented about the Thomas-Hill case could not possibly have been true, because I had absolutely no access to any of the supposed liberal conspirators. ... All of my impressions of the characters I was writing about were filtered through their conservative antagonists, all of whom I believed without question." Brock also says that the "Troopergate" allegations against Bill Clinton were instigated by Peter Smith, a conservative financier and top contributor to Newt Gingrich's political action committee, GOPAC. Brock says he received $5,000 initially from Smith to investigate allegations (later proven baseless) that Clinton had fathered a child with an African-American prostitute in Arkansas. "I was programmed to spring to action like a trained seal," Brock recalls in his book. "Peter offered me $5,000 for my trouble, not through the Spectator but paid directly to me by check; getting by on my Anita Hill book advance, I was a whore for the cash. Although accepting a payment like this was most unusual and unethical for a journalist, in my mind it was no different from taking money from politically interested parties like the Olin and Bradley foundations." During the 2000 elections, the media echo chamber claimed falsely that Democratic Party presidential candidate Al Gore had pretended he invented the Internet, claimed he and his wife were the role model for characters in Love Story, and repeated a number of other false stories about Gore that painted him as someone with a bad habit of telling lies. In the buildup to war in Iraq, the echo chamber repeated and the Bush administration's claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, was tied to Al Queda, and that the people of Iraq would welcome a U.S. invasion as "liberation." "News outlets ideologically allied with Bush have been happy to assist in confusing the public" "That half or more Americans think Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attack -- perhaps the most mediacovered event in our history -- stands as a horrific indictment of U.S. media today. Such levels of ignorance can't be found in other countries." [1] Newsweek Magazine and NBC television partnered for a week of unbalanced promotion of corporate interests. [2] talk radio Major New Study on Media Coverage of Weapons of Mass Destruction concludes[3], [4]: o Many stories stenographically reported the incumbent administration's perspectives on WMD, giving too little

critical examination of the way officials framed the events, issues, threats and policy options. o Too few stories offered alternative perspectives to the "official line" on WMD surrounding the Iraq conflict o most journalists accepted the Bush administration linking the "war on terror" inextricably to the issue of WMD o most media outlets represented WMD as a "monolithic menace" without distinguishing between types of weapons and between possible weapons programs and the existence of actual weapons Knight Ridder (March 15, 2004) reported that "...A June 26, 2002, letter from the Iraqi National Congress to the Senate Appropriations Committee listed 108 articles [in major Englishlanguage news outlets worldwide] based on information provided by the INC [ Iraqi National Congress ]'s Information Collection Program, a U.S.-funded effort to collect intelligence in Iraq. The assertions in the articles reinforced President Bush's claims that Saddam Hussein should be ousted because he was in league with Osama bin Laden, was developing nuclear weapons and was hiding biological and chemical weapons. Feeding the information to the news media, as well as to selected administration officials and members of Congress, helped foster an impression that there were multiple sources of intelligence on Iraq's illicit weapons programs and links to bin Laden." [Italics added.]

Disinfopedia Resources • • • •

Iraqi National Congress media censorship media reform The U Network

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy(NCRP) "has issued a new report on the grantmaking of politically conservative foundations, revisiting the analysis and conclusions reached in NCRP’s seminal report on conservative philanthropy in 1997. The new report greatly expands on the 1997 research, looking at 79 conservative foundations and their grants to 350 archconservative policy nonprofit organizations between 1999 and 2001." o The Hudson Institute's Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal wonder if they "got it, well, Right". "Buying a Movement: Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics," (Washington, DC: People for the American Way, 1996). Or download a PDF version of the full report.

External links

Dan Morgan, "Think Tanks: Corporations' Quiet Weapon," Washington Post, January 29, 2000, p. A1.

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Jeff Gerth and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Drug Industry Has Ties to Groups With Many Different Voices", New York Times, October 5, 2000. Robert Kuttner, "Philanthropy and Movements," The American Prospect, July 2, 2002. Curtis Moore, "Rethinking the Think Tanks," Sierra Magazine, July/August 2002. Robert W. Hahn, "The False Promise of 'Full Disclosure'," Policy Review, Hoover Institution, October 2002. Media Transparency provides descriptive summaries of many groups and individuals associated with the right, plus a database of conservative grants and foundations. David Brock, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an ExConservative (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2002). Jeff Chester, "A Present for Murdoch", The Nation, December 2003: "From 1999 to 2002, his company spent almost $10 million on its lobbying operations. It has already poured $200,000 in contributions into the 2004 election, having donated nearly $1.8 million during the 2000 and 2002 campaigns." Jim Lobe for Asia Times: "the structure's most remarkable characteristics are how few people it includes and how adept they have been in creating new institutions and front groups that act as a vast echo chamber for one another and for the media" Valdis Krebs, "Divided We Stand," Political Echo Chambers Jonathan S. Landay and Tish Wells, "Iraqi exile group fed false information to news media", Knight Ridder, March 15, 2004.

empty rhetoric

Empty rhetoric Empty rhetoric consists essentially of hollow promises–words uttered without any attempt to take the action necessary to back them up. These promises and commitments are made and then ignored or forgotten. This technique is used to falsely assuage anxieties and still dissent. Empty rhetoric shows the necessity of distinguishing between word and deed, and the need to pay attention to what a person actually does rather than what they say they are going to do. Below are a few uses of the phrase culled from online publications: “Trading in empty rhetoric . . .,” Chicago Tribune, August 15, 2003

Word and deed are always at war when it comes to trade talks. So when two traditional rivals talk peace on the eve of a big trade parley, we should watch what they do, not what they say.[1] “Bush's empty rhetoric on AmeriCorps,”, 6/20/2003 The president says he wants the program to expand. But his silence about GOP efforts to cut its funding speaks volumes. [2] “UN Conference on Racism - Empty Rhetoric, no Action,” By JEFF MACKLER, Socialist Action / September 2001 [3] “Mars plan may be only empty rhetoric,” Bill Mego, Published in Sun Publications 01/16/04 … Clearly, one objection to Bush's proposal goes to the matter of his administration's credibility. Is this just another distraction, a clever way to walk away from the International Space Station that has repeatedly been downsized (to the point of being unusable) and which the administration does not know how to fix? As usual, the pain and heavy lifting is left to some future administration, which will already be burdened with deficits and multiple countries to run. So, it is likely that the plan is rhetoric, as empty as space itself, and we will probably not return to the moon, or build an observatory on its far side. But there will always be that yearning to try, to venture past the edge, and to experience the vastness of the creation it is our destiny to inhabit.[4]

environmental scares

Environmental scares One explanation for Propaganda Techniques Related to Enviromental Scares comes from Paul R. Lees-Haley, Ph.D. The following article was copied from the Quackwatch web site: Psychologists have studied several perceptual factors that help explain how reasonable people can conclude that they have suffered toxic exposures and injuries when they have not. These include social proof, repeated affirmations, appeals to authority, vividness, confusion of inverse probabilities, confusion techniques, and distraction techniques. Social proof is the tendency to believe what most people believe. If an advocate creates the impression that "everyone knows" that someone is lying and covering up facts, there is a subtle implication that those who disagree are somehow flawed and lacking in credibility. Identifying a few people who believe a proposition, and encouraging them to go public (especially repeatedly) creates the impression that lots of people are experiencing something real. Repeated affirmations create the impression that the assertion is true. Appeals to authority add weight to these persuasions. If one or more of the people affirming a belief is perceived as authoritative, e.g., a physician or a political leader, more people will be persuaded. It may matter little that the expert is the only one in the universe with that opinion, if he or she is the only one whose opinions we hear. Sometimes politicians are persuaded to join in unfounded but politically advantageous rhetoric. If we like the source of

an opinion, we are more likely to believe. So if a popular actor, media figure, politician, or local hero joins the process, more people will endorse the perceived reality. Vivid examples -- especially dramatic case histories -- often influence judgments more than dull but more accurate quantitative examples. For example, inviting the single child with a birth defect to the town hall meeting may overwhelm the fact that there are fewer birth defects in the neighborhood than in most similar residential areas. Confusion techniques can create perceptions of toxicity, injury, or disease. For example, illogical but eloquent rhetoric delivered with an air of certainty can create such perceptions if a few clear alarming phrases are woven into the message. If the release of something harmless to humans is announced along with discussions of studies indicating cancer, birth defects, or brain damage in animals, concern or alarm may ensue. A classic technique is to pose an alarming question as the headline of a speech, article, or broadcast, e.g., "Are your children in danger?" We commonly hear announcements that "bad chemicals" or "known carcinogens" are out there, without objective data to clarify whether the type, amount, and location of the substance could actually hurt anyone. When someone questions the plausibility of the alleged toxic exposures, advocates may self- righteously respond that reasonable people have a right to worry, -- as though people who try to alleviate unnecessary worry are violating the rights of others. Manipulators dramatically announce that people in the community have cancer, birth defects, immune disorders, and other disturbing health problems, as if this were a discovery, or something unusual. Facts about the normal prevalence of these problems are seldom disseminated or compared with the numbers contained in these sensational announcements. Have you ever seen a headline, "Cancer rate and birth defects rates exactly normal in Ourtown, USA"? Ignoring coincidence and drawing attention to a few sick people can be highly misleading. In any large population, for example, it is simple to find a few people who have various severe diseases, including some relatively rare ones. When confronted with the facts about an alleged environmental toxin, for example, manipulative advocates may respond with confusion techniques such as: "One sick child is too many, and we resent your implying that it's OK to poison our children" or "How many body bags will it take to convince you people?" In other cases they skip over probability and go directly to the impossible -- in the words of a concerned parent at a town hall meeting, "How are you going to guarantee that my children won't have cancer in twenty years?" Confusion, distraction, and other propaganda techniques may be used to make spurious accusations that inspire outrage against opposing parties. In response to recent criticisms of junk science, antiscience arguments are on the rise. Advocates tell us, "We can't wait on science. We have to act now!" and "The scientists want us to do nothing! How many people have to die before XYZ does what is right?" One such critic ironically declared, "We can't wait on science, we have to act on the evidence!" Certainly we make most of our decisions in life without conducting a scientific study first. However, the allegation that some environmental toxin caused brain damage in a specific group of people is a factual question that can be answered only by looking at the data, not by emotional reactions to speculation, sensationalism, and innuendo.

Manipulators strive to divorce us from the facts. Rather than encouraging us to examine the evidence and reasoning of people who appear to disagree with us, they block communications and openly or indirectly try to persuade us that people who disagree with their views are dishonest, not trustworthy, incompetent, biased, racist, only concerned with money, insulting our intelligence, corrupt, betrayers of the American dream, and so on. The subtext is: "Do not consider alternative points of view. Do what we tell you, without realizing that we are controlling you." Like cult leaders, manipulators encourage us to close ranks and form an ingroup suspicious of those who question the party line. Manipulators often try to control beliefs and actions by exploiting people's feelings. Inflammatory emotional rhetoric hardens attitudes against the opponent, and subtly justifies bending the rules to fight against the evil doer. Rhetoric that characterizes the opponent as a powerful bully (for example, that the AMA is persecuting "alternative" pracitioners) elicits a desire to root for the underdog, and provides emotional justification for bending ethical rules. Confusion of inverse probabilities is another classic form of invalid interpretation of facts that arouses unnecessary alarm. For example, suppose an announcement of a release of a toxic chemical is accompanied by news that the chemical can cause upper respiratory symptoms, aches and pains, or other common symptoms. Some people with these symptoms will conclude that the chemical was responsible. And this could be true. However, it may also be true that only 10% of persons exposed develop such symptoms, and only 1% of the population was exposed, so that the probability that a particular person has been poisoned is one in a thousand. These important details can be overlooked in the hue and cry following a dramatic toxic spill. People tend to assume that sensational terms represent reality. Multiple chemical sensitivity and Gulf War syndrome are prime examples. The existence of a name does not necessarily mean that there is a corresponding real event. However, spurious allegations may appear plausible if associated with common symptoms. of human existence, especially if depicted by an expert. Another misleading technique is the use of categorical terms that lead away from a more reassuring (and more reasonable) quantitative reality. For example, an expert witness in a court case may discourse at length on the effects of severe toxic brain injury when testifying about a mild injury. Or instead of stating that a plaintiff has a subtle cognitive impairment that probably will not affect his life very much, the expert decribes the plaintiff as "brain damaged." And instead of saying that a plaintiff has less than 1/10 of 1 percent greater likelihood of contracting cancer than the base rate, the expert opines that the plaintiff has "increased risk of developing cancer" due to some exposure. Both statements are technically correct but not presented equally. Interruptions, objections, topic changes and ad hominem arguments may also be used to divert attention from science-based facts. ____________________ Dr. Lees-Haley is a psychologist with offices in the Los Angeles area. Researchers conducting studies on related issues can contact him at 21331 Costanso Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91364.Telephone: 818-887-2874 ||| Fax: 818-887-9034 ||| Email

This article was adapted from Lee-Haley PR. Manipulation of perception in mass tort litigation. Natural Resources & Environment 12:64-68, 1997.

extreme metaphor

Extreme metaphor When metaphor is augmented with extreme ideas, including suggestions of violence, propagandists exploit the boundaries of free expression. Metaphor can be used in the extreme when tolerance for free expression allows artistic criticism by satire. Extreme metaphor is sometimes used to incite a reaction by authorities in power against unwitting sympathizers. Extreme metaphor can become a thinly veiled cover for outright incitement of violence. Examples: •

Television-based religous propagandist Pat Robertson's remarks in June and October 2003 interviews with author Joel Mowbray encouraging a nuclear attack against the U.S. Department of State. Robertson's role as a supporter of Pres. George Bush II has been to coalesce the religuous-right and expand the center of right-wing ideology, especially including attitudes toward religuously motivated warfare.

front group

Front groups (Redirected from Front group) A front group is an organization that purports to represent one agenda while in reality it serves some other party or interest whose sponsorship is hidden or rarely mentioned. The front group is perhaps the most easily recognized use of the third party technique. For example, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) claims that its mission is to defend the rights of consumers to choose to eat, drink and smoke as they please. In reality, CCF is a front group for the tobacco, restaurant and alcoholic beverage industries, which provide all or most of its funding.

Of course, not all organizations engaged in manipulative efforts to shape public opinion can be classified as "front groups." For example, the now-defunct Tobacco Institute was highly deceptive, but it didn't hide the fact that it represented the tobacco industry. There are also degrees of concealment. The Global Climate Coalition, for example, didn't hide the fact that its funding came from oil and coal companies, but nevertheless its name alone is sufficiently misleading that it can reasonably be considered a front group. The shadowy way front groups operate makes it difficult to know whether a seemingly independent grassroots is actually representing some other entity. Thus, citizen smokers' rights groups and organizations of bartenders or restaurant workers working against smoking bans are sometimes characterized as front groups for the tobacco industry, but it is possible that some of these groups are self-initiated (although the tobacco industry has been known to use restaurant groups as fronts for its own interests). Table of contents [hide] 1 History 2 Examples 3 See also 3.1 External links

History Edward Bernays, who is generally regarded as the "father of public relations," liked to tell people, "What I do is propaganda, and I just hope it's not impropaganda." In his later years, he became a vocal critic of some of the deceptive techniques used within the PR industry. And yet it is Bernays himself who invented the quintessential tool of deceptive propaganda -- the "front group." Bernays stumbled on this strategy almost by accident. In 1913, while working as editor of the Medical Review of Reviews, a monthly magazine owned by a college acquaintance, he discovered that the then-famous actor Richard Bennett was interested in producing a play titled "Damaged Goods," which Bernays described as "a propaganda play that fought for sex education." It discussed sexual topics, such as prostitution, that were considered unusually frank for their day. Bennett was afraid that the play would be raided by police, and he hired Bernays to prevent this from happening. Rather than arguing for the play on its merits, Bernays cleverly organized a group that he called the "Medical Review of Reviews Sociological Fund," inviting prominent doctors and members of the social elite to join. The organization's avowed mission was to fight venereal disease through education. Its real purpose was to endorse "Damaged Goods," and apparently the plan worked. The show went on as scheduled, with no interference from police. "This was a pioneering move that is common today in the promotion of public causes--a prestigious sponsoring committee," notes PR industry historian Scott Cutlip. "In retrospect, given the history of public relations, it might be termed the first effort to use the front or third party technique." It was a technique that Bernays would return to time and again, calling it "the most useful method in a multiple society like ours to indicate the support of an idea of the many varied elements that make up our society. Opinion leaders and group leaders have an effect in a democracy and stand as symbols to their constituency." Bernays helped jump-start sales of bacon, a breakfast rarity until the 1920s, by enlisting a prominent doctor to solicit

fellow doctors' opinions on the salutary benefits of a hearty breakfast and by arranging to have famous figures photographed eating breakfasts of bacon and eggs. To sell bananas on behalf of the United Fruit Company, he launched the "celiac project," republishing and disseminating a 20-year-old medical paper which found that eating bananas cured children with celiac disease, a disorder of the digestive system. "Mr. Bernays has . . . created more institutes, funds, institutions, and foundations than Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Filene together," observed the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, a nonprofit educational organization that flourished in the years following World War I. "Typical of them was the Temperature Research Foundation. Its stated purpose was 'to disseminate impartial, scientific information concerning the latest developments in temperature control as they affect the health, leisure, happiness, and economy of the American people.' A minor purpose--so minor that rarely did Mr. Bernays remember even to mention it--was to boost the sales of Kelvinator refrigerators, air-condition units, and electric stoves."

Examples For simplicity's sake, the list below includes some organizations (like the Tobacco Institute) that are not front groups per se but that engage in other deceptive activities. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Accuracy in Media Adam Smith Institute The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition Africa Fighting Malaria African American Republican Leadership Council AIDS Responsibility Project Air Hygiene Foundation Air Quality Standards Coalition Alexis de Tocqueville Institution Alliance for Better Foods Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy American Beverage Institute American Council on Science and Health American Enterprise Institute American Forest Foundation American Forest Resource Alliance American Industrial Health Council American Policy Center American Tort Reform Association Americans for Tax Reform Americans for Balanced Energy Choices A.N.S.W.E.R. Association for Competitive Technology Beverly Hills Restaurant Association Black America's PAC Morton Blackwell Leadership Institute California Civil Rights Initiative

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Californians for Statewide Smoking Restrictions Campaign for Working Families Capital Research Center Cato Institute Center for Consumer Freedom Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise Center for Environmental Education Research Center for Produce Quality Centre for Independent Studies Christian Coalition Citizens for a Free Kuwait Citizens for a Sound Economy Citizens for Better Medicare Citizens for the Environment Citizens for Sensible Control of Acid Rain Claremont Institute Climate Council Coalition for Asbestos Resolution Coalition for Equal Access to Medicines Coalition for Health Insurance Choices Coalition for Southern Africa Coalition for Vehicle Choice Competitive Enterprise Institute Committee on Taxation and Economic Growth Congressional Human Rights Caucus Consumer Alert Consumer Distorts Consumer Federation of America Consumers' Research Consumers for World Trade Contributions Watch Council for Affordable Health Insurance Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Council for Solid Waste Solutions Council of American Muslims for Understanding Council for Energy Independence Employment Policies Institute Employment Roundtable Endangered Species Reform Coalition Energy Stewardship Alliance Environmental Issues Council EPA Watch European Science and Environment Forum Families Organized to Represent the Coal Economy FORCE Foundation for Clean Air Progress Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment FreedomWorks Global Climate Coalition Global Climate Information Project Global Warming Cost website

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Greening Earth Society Guest Choice Network Heidelberg Appeal Health Benefits Coalition Healthcare Leadership Council Healthy Buildings International, major Philip Morris contractor Heartland Institute Hepatitis C Coalition Heritage Foundation Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace Hudson Institute Independent Women's Forum Information Council for the Environment Institute for Regulatory Policy Institute of Economic Affairs International Food Information Council Keep America Beautiful Landmark Legal Foundation Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change Maine Conservation Rights Institue Manhattan Institute for Policy Research George C. Marshall Institute Mountain States Legal Foundation National Anxiety Center National Center for Genome Resources National Center for Policy Analysis National Center for Public Policy Research National Consumer Coalition National Empowerment Television National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition National Endowment for Democracy National Environmental Policy Institute National Journalism Center National Legal Center for the Public Interest National Wetlands Coalition National Wilderness Institute Nestlé Coordination Center for Nutrition Nicaraguan Freedom Fund No More Scares Campaign Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Political Economy Research Center Progress & Freedom Foundation Project Learning Tree Railwatch Reason Foundation Regulatory Impact Analysis Project Republicans for Clean Air Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment

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Science and Environmental Policy Institute Sea Lion Defense Fund Senior Coalition Shape the Debate Silica Coalition Smart Growth Madison 60 Plus Association Social Issues Research Centre Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Global Warming Statistical Assessment Service Susan B. Anthony List Teacher Choice Temperate Forest Foundation Timber Communities Australia Torches of Freedom Brigade United Seniors Association Voters for Campaign Truth Washington Forest Protection Association Washington Legal Foundation Water Environment Federation Wise Use Movement Workplace Health & Safety Council

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Astroturf Industry-funded organizations TM "Moving A Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations," National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, July 1997.

See also

External links

fundamental attribution error

Fundamental attribution error Social psychologists describe the fundmental attribution error as the tendency to attribute events to a person's character rather than to circumstances surrounding the events.

Propagandists exploit tendencies toward the attribution error with a variety of techniques, including smears, ritual defamations and ad hominem attacks. When offered in the passive voice with no direct attribution to person or to circumstance, inference can sometimes mask a fundamental attribution error.

External resources •

Wikipedia Fundamental attribution error


Greenwashing "Greenwashing is what corporations do when they try to make themselves look more environmentally friendly than they really are." [1] “Greenwash” is defined in the 10th edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as the “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.” Its inclusion in the dictionary indicates the significance and permanence of a growing trend among corporations to take advantage of the many consumers who look for products with negative environmental impact. [2] "Earthday Resources for Living Green has released this report annually for the last 11 years to call attention to the past year's worst greenwashers, corporations that have made misleading or false claims abut the environmental benefits of their products and industries. "Don't Be Fooled" describes companies' greenwashing attempts as well as the truth behind their misleading claims." Current and past reports are available [online]. The Washington Post has produced a Special Report titled BIG GREEN which as series of investigative articles exposes the corporate infestation of The Nature Conservancy and "documents on the organization's transformation from a grassroots group to a corporate juggernaut." Frequent PR Watch contributor Bob Burton has prepared a 5 page paper titled "Corporations Will Save the World, won't they?" which describes how corporations lure their environmentalist adversaries into the illusion of cooperative engagements such as Community Advisory Panels which result in a win-win result for the corporations by reducing the energy of their adversaries, and turning the media attention away from environmental advocacy against the evil corporation into an image of the corporation attempting to benefit the environment. [3]

"Several recent incidents show that, when faced with environmental crises attributable to business interests cozy with the White House, the administration has developed an alternative response: Suppress, Ignore, Preempt." [4] Greenwashing is a form of public relations propaganda which gives something the appearance of being environmentally friendly when it is, in fact, not. An example of this would be an oil company being forced in a court of law to create a habitat for endangered species in its oil fields. Greenwashing would occur when the company creates a magazine ad campaign that is complete with paintings of a beautiful moonlit oil field and nature coexisting, with the image assisted by text explaining how much that company cares for Nature and endangered species, as well as how nature can beautifully coexist with oil wells, factories, or whatever. Another example is naming a piece of legislation "Clear Skies" when the legislation will not result in sky clearing.

Case studies •

Building Bridges and Splitting Greens

guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing The coining of the term guerrilla marketing is attributed to Jay Conrad Levinson. It is commonly used as a term to describe ways that creative low-budget but high impact campaigns can be waged to promote a product. (While Levinson's book was pitched to the small business sector many of tactics are also commonly used in grass roots advocacy and political campaigns).

Other Disinfopedia Resources • •

viral marketing buzz

Jay Conrad Levinson, "Guerrilla Marketing : Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business", Houghton Mifflin; 3rd edition October 1998. ISBN: 0395906253

External links

horror stories


inane blather

Guerrilla Marketing - the website of Jay Conrad Levinson who wrote the original book and describes himself as that "the Father of Guerrilla Marketing" Marketing: Guerrilla Marketing - a site that has links to several articles on the topic.

Inane blather A good example of inane blather has been shown in "Weapons of Mass Deception", Chapter 7: "Let's go to CNN's Frank Buckley, who's awaiting the President's dramatic arrival," said CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "Tell us, Frank: How dramatic will it be?" "It will be very dramatic, Wolf," Buckley replied.


Inference Propaganda can use inference to convey an idea without directly stating the idea.

A common inferencial construction implies an event that might happen, then follows with reasons the event would be preferrable, but never directly recommends anyone should cause the hypothetical event to occur. More propaganda techniques

inflating statistics

Ingroup/Outgroup Manipulations

junk science and false accusations of junk science

Junk science The Consumers Union (US) wrote that "as far as we have been able to trace, the phrase "junk science" has been coined by those practicing public relations and lobbying activities on behalf of some companies in certain industries--particularly the plastics, chemical, biotechnology, and pesticide industries. While its coiners may have legitimate grounds for debate on some issues, the phrase has been used far too often to discredit honest public interest organizations and legitimate scientists who express concerns about consumer safety and environmental risks." [1] Usually when the phrase "junk science" is used to discredit public interest and consumer activists, the phrase "sound science" is employed to describe the research said to back-up industry's own claims on safety and risk.

"Today, flat-earthers within the Bush Administration – aided by right-wing allies who have produced assorted hired guns and conservative think tanks to further their goals – are engaged

in a campaign to suppress science that is arguably unmatched in the Western world since the Inquisition. Sometimes, rather than suppress good science, they simply order up their own. Meanwhile, the Bush White House is purging, censoring, and blacklisting scientists and engineers whose work threatens the profits of the Administration's corporate paymasters or challenges the ideological underpinnings of their radical anti-environmental agenda. Indeed, so extreme is this campaign that more than sixty scientists, including Nobel laureates and medical experts, released a statement on February 18 that accuses the Bush Administration of deliberately distorting scientific fact 'for partisan political ends.'" Source: 26 February 2004: "The Junk Science of George W. Bush" by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., The Nation. Relatedly, •

the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform, maintains the Politics & Science website as an ongoing record of interference with science by the Bush Administration. a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists "issued a statement calling for regulatory and legislative action to restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking. According to the scientists, the Bush administration has, among other abuses, suppressed and distorted scientific analysis from federal agencies, and taken actions that have undermined the quality of scientific advisory panels." [2] Some worry U.S. may bend facts for policy

External links • • • • •

Consumers Union, “Consumers Union Statement about Consumer Distorts”, December 1999, accessed January 13, 2003. Wikipedia: "Junk science" J.R. Pegg, "Health Advocacy Group Warns of Conflicted Science", Environment News Service, July 14, 2003. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., "The Junk Science of George W. Bush", The Nation, February 26, 2004. Statement of over 1600 scientists voicing growing concern over the Bush administration misuse of science in environmental policymaking (as of 4/22/2004). Greg Hanscom, "Sound Science Goes Sour: An HCN collection on the Bush Administration's use of science," High Country News, June 23, 2003.

False accusation of junk science (Redirected from False accusations of junk science)

In recent years charges of bad science and junk science in public policy debates has led to false accusations of junk science becoming a propaganda technique in its own. In this case, the propaganda technique may merely be an attempt to tack "bad science" as a negative buzzword onto whatever is being attacked. It may be effective because counterarguments against these claims are long, complex and difficult to understand. Accusations are typically levied by think tanks and public relations firms under order from tobacco companies and businesses that have something to gain by denial of global warming. Unfortunately, some claims of bad or junk science really are legimate, and sometimes these are mixed with accusations that are completely bogus. •


• - Combines "junk science" accusations with vitriolic anti-liberal diatribes. Author affiliated with the Cato Institute and Fox News Junking Junk Science - Tech Central Station article claiming global warming is "junk science" in vague terms


Knuckleball The term knuckleball is borrowed from the American sport of Baseball, in which it refers to a pitch that can be difficult to hit precisely because the ball does not spin. According to a physics lecture on a University of Texas web site, "Probably the most entertaining pitch in baseball is the so-called 'knuckleball.' Unlike the other types of pitch we have encountered, knuckleballs are low speed pitches (typically, 65mph) in which the ball is purposely thrown with as little spin as possible. It turns out that knuckleballs are hard to hit because they have unstable trajectories which shift from side to side in a highly unpredictable manner."[1] Similarly, a rhetorical "knuckleballer" disarmingly pitches a proposition without trying to "spin away" any of its negative aspects, while offering an alternative, more positive interpretation and appealing to one's reluctance to think of oneself as cynical or condemning.

Example The writer of this conclusion to an online opinion piece is credited as a research analyst for a London-based market research firm (which, however, does not list Coca-Cola as a client on its web site):

"In light of these issues [including allegations of environmental degradation and an alleged sexual-harassment case involving a senior company executive and a former Miss Universe with whom the company had had a product-endorsement contract], Coca-Cola's decision to create an advisory board was an interesting move. From a cynic's standpoint, it could be argued that the company's decision to create an advisory council and then populate it with high-profile figures immediately affords it some protection from criticism, and gives it easy access to the country's decision-makers -- a useful asset in the face of social or legal action. Furthermore, it provides Coca-Cola with the opportunity to create a more easily identifiable Indian brand, not unlike Hindustan Lever, and as such reduce the propensity for its market to regard it as 'foreign'." But do not judge Coca-Cola too harshly just yet: "Less cynically, the creation of an advisory council is something of a precedent. This is the first such move by a multinational operating in India, and may demonstrate a realization that foreign multinationals need to be more attentive to local concerns and show greater awareness of social responsibility if they are ultimately to succeed in the local marketplace."[2]

External links • • •


limiting the choices

Limiting the choices "You're either with us [the Bush administration] or you're for the terrorists" is a perfect example of limiting the choices. This technique is designed to make people think that those are the only options, when in reality they are not. In this example, the additional options are: •

to be against both the Bush administration and the terrorists

• •

to be for both the Bush administration and the terrorists to be neither for nor against one or both parties

In fact, rather than just the two choices George W. Bush gave people, there are a total of nine choices, as shown in the table below: Bush administration terrorists † for


† against
















† Implied by Bush as the only choices This is also known as the false dilemma, the either/or fallacy and the black-and-white fallacy. Another common technique, an example of which can be found in U.S. President George W. Bush's State of the Union 2004 speech, is to pair the proponent's cause with an apparent opposite as if these two options were not only the only two options, but were also mutually exclusive, as if you could have only one or the other; when in fact you can have both, with or without anything in between.

Other Disinfopedia Resources • •

propaganda propaganda techniques


make contact personally

manipulate memes

Memes Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins first published the concept of memes in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. By analyzing the conceptual building blocks of human thought and culture, memeticists predict the spread of ideas based not only on the content of the idea, but also on the power of primal memes associated with an idea. Memeticists claim the ability to program their own minds and the minds of others by chosing the ideas represented both in the mind and in the environment, described as memes, that affect behavior.[1] External resources: • Memetics publications on the web: • Journal of Memetics

manufacture of consent

Manufacture of consent Journalist Walter Lippman in 1921 concluded the art of democracy requires the manufacture of consent. Linguist Noam Chomsky calls the term an Orwellian euphemism for thought control. Chomsky describes the manufacture of consent: "Democracy permits the voice of the people to be heard, and it is the task of the intellectual to ensure that this voice endorses what leaders perceive to be the right course." Propaganda Review, Winter 1987-88; David Barsamian, KGNU



Misinformation Misinformation is, simply put, information that is not true. It is sometimes associated with propaganda and disinformation, but there are differences. Propaganda sometimes uses true information, and disinformation is a form of misinformation that is deliberately untrue. Misinformation differs from disinformation in that it is "intention neutral."

External links • "Information and Its Counterfeits: Propaganda, Misinformation and

Disinformation," Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University.


motherhood term

Motherhood term A motherhood term is one that is accepted as good in any context. When attached to a specific policy or ideology by propaganda, it tends to reduce the probability of the policy or ideology being attacked, even if the person promoting it is not himself credible as a promoter of the concept referred in the motherhood term. For example, many proponents of so-called "family values", including Ronald Reagan for instance, had been divorced, and thus arguably had experienced at least one serious failure of such values. Similarly, the Bush League which claims to be "tough on crime" has been closely involved in several large-scale criminal scandals such as the Savings and Loan debacle. The use of terms like "family values" when attached to specific policies on abortion, for instance, are potentially quite destructive to the real values of actual families, but this usually goes quite unexamined, especially as statistics are not usually available, and disputes even on such basic concepts as "family" itself may be at issue. Given the ease with which motherhood-term based arguments can be turned back on their users, their use may have been declining in the 1990s after heavy overuse during the 1980s in North America. However, the War on terrorism brought a whole new range of motherhood terms such as Homeland Security and the old bromide "freedom" - which somehow justifies anything that compromises freedom in favour of the state's ability to investigate and detain anyone.


mud slinging

Mud slinging Mud slinging is an extreme form of Demonising the Opposition, often fallng short of libel by using inferences rather than outright attacks. Tune into any campaign ad during an election year to see it in action. Mud slinging refers to ad-hominem rhetoric, vague allegations, false accusations or a general focus on negative representations of an opponent in speeches, media quotes or attack ads. It is a practice more common in politics than in mud wrestling, where audiences usually demand actual grappling. Some cognitive psychologists suggest mud-slinging pays. People are more likely to remember negative information, and negative representations of an opponent can divert attention from a speaker's weaknesses, say proponents of Behavioral Decision Theory. Appeals to emotion, the theory suggests, influence behavior as well as do reasonable approaches. The election of the Austrian-born action movie hero and body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger in the California gubernatorial recall election offers evidence of the power of mud-slinging, behavioral decision theorists say. "Not only did (California Governor-elect Arnold) Schwarzenegger have enormous name recognition but his campaign’s focus on the alleged failure of the incumbent governor and his use of simple, eye-catching slogans based on his action heroes helped him sweep aside voter reservations regarding his political inexperience." Europa, 29 October 2003



Narrowcasting A derivative of the term "broadcasting", narrowcasting is the delivery of messages to a select audience. First used in broadcast media, the technique often relied on resonance to attract the attention of select audience members to a message most other listeners or viewers will ignore. More recently, narrowcasting has involved the use of new electronic media to deliver messages that might invoke widespread negative responses if broadcast to a more general audience through more traditional electronic broadcast media. Propagandists sometimes find narrowcasting to a select audience to be more cost effective than traditional broadcast tactics.


neurolinguistic programming

Neurolinguistic programming "Neurolinguistic programming, or NLP, is a constantly evolving set of models, presuppositions, patterns, techniques, and observation-based theories resulting from the study of the structure of subjective experience, behavior and communication." [1] Generally, NLP is a collection of suppositions about how the structure of language processing in the human brain effects behavior, based on a combination of neurological research and somewhat more subjective behavioral research. The study started with the work of an information scientist and a linguist at the University of California at Santa Cruz. By modeling the behavior of subjects they identified as highly effective people, John Grinder and Richard Bandler were able to make out patterns of thinking that assisted in the subject's success. "The two theorized that the brain can learn the healthy patterns and behaviors and that this would bring about positive physical and emotional effects. What emerged from their work came to be known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming." [2] Grinder and Bandler's work soon became the scientific basis for an older populist spiritual belief that "you create your own reality." "The basic premise of NLP is that the words we use reflect an inner, subconscious perception of our problems. If these words and perceptions are inaccurate, they will create an underlying problem as long as we continue to use and to think them. Our attitudes are, in a sense, a selffulfilling prophecy." [ibid] A classic NLP technique, based on research showing that most people respond more positively to language using a particular preferred sense as a metaphor, conforms a speakers metaphor with a listeners preference. For example, one person might process information in terms of vision, and say, "I see what you mean." Another centers on hearing and says, "I hear what you're saying." For smell, "I've got the scent," etc. A person's own language is the clue that shows which sense they relate to most strongly. NLP suggests that a message tailored to use the language of a person's preferred sense is unconsciously perceived by the target as more appealing. Other NLP techniques involve agreement coupled with statements evoking ambivalence then followed by a proposed alternative. For example, an NLP practitioner might say:

"I know you like to drink (ethyl alchohol) every day. It relaxes you and helps you get away from problems at work and at home. Some of those problems are pretty much insurmountable, it seems. Anyone with your problems would probably want to drink everyday.(agreement)." "I knew a guy that drank like that. He said the drinking was helpful, but eventually, that was causing him problems too. Eventually he found a counselor who helped him sort through his problems. He wasn't sure it would help, but he decided to try it anyway and he was glad he did. (invitation to ambivilance)" "I can get you that guy's number if you want. Maybe he can give you the details about his counselor and maybe you could see if that is something you want to try."(suggestion of change) Though generally found among collections of psychological material represented as "New Age" NLP theory or related linguistic approaches are often incorporated in advertising or propaganda produced by a variety of interest groups. NLP is not considered credible by most academic psychology institutions. • Wikipedia article on NLP

Other Related Disinfopedia Resources • power of persuasion

numeric deceptions

official ideology


Omission Deceptively omitting relevant and truthfull information that works against a thesis. The fallacy of quoting out of context uses omission. Information is taken away that undercuts the interpretation or impression that is conveyed.

one-time charge

One-time charge A one-time charge is just what it sounds like – a charge off for an unusual event that that is not expected to occur again. However, it has become an accounting trick to cover up expenditures that a person or group wishes to conceal; the expenditures are buried under the guise of special expenses due to “extraordinary events.” This technique is used in both industry and government. An example of a government onetime charge is given by Paul Krugman in an article titled "Bush's Aggressive Accounting" in The Great Unraveling: losing our way in the new century: The events of Sept. 11 shocked and horrified the nation; they also presented the Bush administration a golden opportunity to bury its previous misdeeds. Has more than $4 trillion of projected surplus suddenly evaporated into thin air? Pay no attention to the tax cut: it’s all because of the war on terrorism. In short, the administration’s strategy is to prevent criticism of what amounts to a fiscal debacle by wrapping its budget in the flag. …emotionally, morally [the war on terrorism] is a big deal; but fiscally it’s very nearly a rounding error.

External links • Paul Krugman, “Bush's Aggressive Accounting”, New York Times,

February 5, 2002. (The whole article has been reproduced on various blogs).


Orwellize To orwellize an everyday word or phrase is to use it in an Orwellian way or give it an Orwellian or meaning in some official context, especially by making an Orwellian or "Big Brother-ish" acronym of it. The word is referenced to British author George Orwell (1903-1950).

Examples • The everyday word visit is orwellized as US-VISIT, for "United States

Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology". • Patriot is orwellized as USA-PATRIOT, for "Uniting and

Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism".

Disinfopedia Resources • Bush administration Orwellian logic • doublespeak • Patriot Act I


Outing As a propaganda technique, outing has two distinct meanings: 1. Originally, it referred to attempts to shame opponents by revealing their associations with groups, actions or categories that the public disapproved of - homosexuality for instance, or membership in the Communist Party. McCarthyism was a trend towards this kind of identification and very often included claims that were simply not true, pure propaganda. 2. As public disapproval of the things that were traditionally useful to discredit someone for official posts waned, it became more and more common for officials in a position of power and privelege to reveal the names of lower level agents. In previous eras this would have

opened them to be prosecuted for treason if they revealed the names of agents on active duty doing security work. This happened at least twice in 2003 in the cases of David Kelly (who killed himself) and Valerie Plame. In this form of outing, the allegations are probably true, the person is no longer effective as a trusted agent, some of their assets are lost to the state, and presumably more "politically reliable" agents take their place. There may be shame involved, but maybe not. It may be of an intense and personal kind - Kelly killed himself. In both senses, the term outing implies that a selective exposure has been made. If a deliberate and fair-minded effort is being made to expose all people in a certain nottrustworthy category in positions of trust, or to reveal all people who had any contact with certain pieces of information, an outing is simply part of an inquiry. It's the selective nature of it that makes it useful to identify and eliminate possible political and ideological opponents from a power structure, and which makes it extra-judicial and not a part of ordinary oversight activities. A smear is often portrayed as an attempt at outing, but generally describes a case where the allegations are not true, and not made against a large number of persons with some other affiliation not relevant to the smear itself. A smear is aimed at getting the public to vaguely mistrust someone, not at getting a particular person eliminated from the power structure by specific verifiable accusations as outing is. Before the war on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Dr David Kelly, a trusted member of the Iraq weapons of mass destruction investigation team. Leaked to the media that -there were no such weapons, and there was no such threat. It was all being spun by the government.- The security services and executive power in the UK then closed ranks after he was exposed to the media. They claimed that there was reasonable evidence for the war, (as of 2 years later, this has not materialised, both President G.W.Bush and Prime Minister Blair have stated that apparently they don't exist). The courts became complicit when the Hutton report, damned the BBC for broadcasting the leak, which turned out ot be a better representation of the facts than the whole government/security services line. The only important thing here was apparently that, as a government employee he should never have been giving his opinion to the public. That was treason under the official secrets act. As a result he lost his job and reputation for being correct, the government and SIS united in the fabrication of heresay and imagination and left him out in the cold. He killed himself.


passive voice

Passive voice Use of the passive voice allows propagandists to avoid attributing or taking responsibility for actions. "In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed (The new policy was approved). In the active voice, the subject and verb relationship is straightforward: the subject is a be-er or a

do-er and the verb moves the sentence along (The executive committee approved the new policy)." [1] In propaganda, the passive voice sometimes masks arguments of authority. When the speaker does not declare who performed an act, there is often a veiled inference or ambiguity that rests solely on the authority of the speaker for a flawed logical foundation.



Pedantry Posing one's self as the wise sage or professor, the teacher and illuminator of those presumed to be less knowledgeable than one's self, may convince some people of the correctness of one's ideas, even if they consist of unadulterated, or adulterated, balderdash.


photographic manipulation

Photographic manipulation Photographic manipulation as a tool utilized by propagandists is characterized by use of images to manipulate the minds of voters. James Donahue, in his article Herding the Sheep: Using Images Of Bush To Manipulate The Minds Of Voters, asks "Have you noticed the halos and orbs around the head of President George W. Bush in recent press pictures? ... You probably haven't because things like that are designed to be seen by the subconscious mind. And genius Karl Rove, the guy whose job is to make our president look good all of the time, knows just what buttons to push to keep his man in the White House." "One of the more sickening tricks, and most obvious," he writes, "are the pictures emanating from the president's public relations office. Some of them are portrayed on this page for the readers to inspect. If you look at them closely, you realize that they are not accidental. They are staged and Mr. Bush is posing for them."

As he mentions, Donahue's article is accompanied by three photographs of Bush. Heading the article is one where the Great Seal of the United States appears as a golden halo encircling the President's head while he orates from the podium. The second, in the lower right-hand corner of the article, shows Bush with head bowed (in prayer?) and glowing in a fuzzy bright golden halo against a solid dark background. • Note: Photograph has been identified as taken October 13/14, 2003, by

the Associated Press.[1] One caption editorializes: "This means that the more than fifty percent of Americans who consider themselves 'born-agains' can rest assured that the U.S.-led War on Terror™ is, in fact, a mission from God. Or His son, at least." Another states that the photo is "straight out of Catholic iconography." • All three photos can also be seen here. The one with the cross is attributed to November 5, 2003. However, says Donahue, "The picture of Bush posing before a lighted cross, under a crown and the word LORD is probably the most pretentious of the lot." "Why," he asks, "would someone as elevated in office as our president stoop to such trickery? There is good reason. ... As writers Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague explained it: 'Television and movies have made us a nation, nay, a world that substitutes pictures for fact. We make stars of actors and heroes of those whose heroism exists only in their publicity releases. ... Every day we are shown pictures that the White House Republicans uses to influence our vote. A carefully constructed news item is released to the media knowing full well the pictures the TV outlets will run with it,' Louise and Sprague said." Paul Martin Lester says that, "With digital hegemony, visual messages have reasserted their position as an important communication medium, but at the cost of not recognizing the combination of words and pictures as vital in communication." Unfortunaely, what is missing in Donahue's article is the context of the photographs and any text which might have accompanied them. And, if web bloggers' reactions are any measure of the "success" of Bush's saintly photo ops, "disgusting", "disgraceful", "dispictable" "sacrilegious" and words to that effect top the list. "'Journalist' Who Arranged Iraqi Amputee Photo-Op Is A Bush Donor," Max Blumenthal, May 26, 2004: Blumenthal writes that he's "been wondering how Bush found the 7 Iraqi amputees for his brilliant photo-op." "According to an AP article posted on the Bush campaign website," he writes, "legendary octagenarian Houston TV personality Marvin Zindler 'helped arrange for their surgeries and publicized their story.' Early on, Zindler put Bush in touch with his own plastic surgeon Joe Agris, who has operated on Zindler 30 times, and Agris agreed to fit the Iraqis with new hands. "Though Zindler is regarded as a 'champion of the underdog' for his investigative reporting on Houston TV news, he donated $1000 to Bush/Cheney 2000 and dropped a cool $2000 on Bush's 2004 campaign last summer. At the photo-op, Bush honored Zindler along with the Iraqis."

See background article "New hands, new start" by Hugh Aynesworth, Washington Times, April 29, 2004. The cover of the May 3, 2004, issue of U.S. News & World Report caught the attention of Anthony Hecht at Slapnose, April 27, 2004: "This may seem insignificant," he writes, "but take a look at the cover of the current issue of U.S. News and World Report. "A couple things are notable about this image. Kerry -- a decorated war veteran who volunteered for incredibly dangerous duty -- is shown wearing a suit. Bush -- an undecorated Reservist who specifically declined war service, and faced military discipline for failing to report -- is shown in uniform. Bush is cast in cool stately blue, looking soldierly into the camera while Kerry is cast in commie red, in a picture of him arguing against the war in Vietnam. "It may seem silly, but these kinds of things have a profound effect. Ask any psychiatrist, or watch some television commercials for a while. Images matter, and these images side-by-side betray an extremely unfair bias." Hecht also points out on April 24, 2004, that Bush's "take" on the appropriate use of the image of military coffins is a bit "selective": [2] "I think it's also interesting to point out, as Ted Koppel did tonight, that the one time recently that a similar image -- one of a flag draped stretcher being carried out of Ground Zero -- has been used in what most people agree is a disrespectful way was in a campaign ad for George W. Bush." "The message? Using images of fallen heroes to inform the public and to illustrate their sacrifice and our respect for their service is disrespectful to their families. Using those images to further one's political career, that's okay." Other "Memorable" Bush Photo Ops • Bush with Great Seal "halo" at fingertips; Bush framed by American

• • • • • •

Flag (10/26/03); Bush "illuminated" (9/15/03); Bush ... "do-ityourself" caption (11/15/03). Photo Album: Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. Photo Album: "White House Photo Essays." December 2000: Compare two photos with identical "Bush" backgrounds. "Air-brushed in"? Explanation? Photo Album: U.S. Department of State, September 11, 2001. Also see The Memory Hole archived video of Bush the morning of 9-11. 11 September 2001: When Bush was told of the terror attack. Photo Album: web site. Scroll down to about the middle of the page. Note September 14, 2001, posed photo: "Bush with New York City Fireman Bob Beck at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center." 14 January 2002: Bush, with an angry red bruise on his cheek after "having fainted and fallen from a couch after choking on a pretzel over the weekend." February 2002: Photo Ops, Korea (

• 22 February 2002: " a joint press conference with South Korean

• • • • • •

• • •

• •

• •

• • •

President Kim Dae Jung. While waiting for the translation of questions to him, Bush's eyes wandered into space. Even during his own comments, he showed little interest in what he was saying as he rarely made eye contact with either Kim or the audience." 12 November 2002: Bush with Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge; banner in background reads "We will not fail". 1 May 2003: "Bush approached the flight deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in a S-3B Viking jet." 1 May 2003: "Bush gives the thumbs-up sign as he meets with flight crews on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln." 1 May 2003: Bush in full military flight suit aboard U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. 1 May 2003: Shot aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln with "Mission Accomplished" banner (Click to enlarge). 1 May 2003: Note Bush "Strategy Session" on flight deck of U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln (last photo on page). White House version with banner "distant" from Bush. 2 May 2003: "Aboard Lincoln, President Bush Proclaims End to Major Combat Ops in Iraq." 2 May 2003: Photo op of Bush speaking at United Defense Industries. 31 May 2003: "Bush delivers his speech in the courtyard of the Wawel Royal Palace in Krakow, Poland." What could be more symbolic than the "Stars & Stripes" gently flowing over the assembly? 5 June 2003: "Bush rolls up his sleeves as he is introduced by General Tommy R. Franks at Camp As Sayliyah in Doha, Qatar." Summer 2002: "President George W. Bush holding a book upsidedown in a classroom." Even more noticeable is the backdrop for the photo op: a collage placing the Statue of Liberty over the student's right shoulder, a red-white-and-blue map of the U.S.A. under an arch with two golden stars bracketing "America" as a halo for the student's head, and the "Preamble to the Constitution" as the President's "halo". 9 October 2003: "President Bush spoke to about 600 people at the Center of New Hampshire while supporters and opponents rallied outside." 2 November 2003: Bush with Mount Rushmore. 3 November 2003: "Bush delivers remarks on the economy at CraneWorks' equipment warehouse in Birmingham, Ala." Note the cathedral-like "church and pulpit" affect. Thanksgiving 2003 in Baghdad/Bush With Bird. 21 December 2003: 'Politically/ethnically-correct' photo-op during Thanksgiving "visit" to Baghdad. 10 January 2004: Bush "speaking to female small business owners at a formal event at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington." Reuters. Note halo of lights surrounding Bush's head. 15 January 2004: Bush "announces his proposals for a space programme, during a speech at NASA headquarters in Washington," See Bush administration/return to space. 15 January 2004: "Bush delivers remarks at Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in New Orleans, La." Note the

symbolism of Bush's outstretched arms and cross on wall ... "crucifixion"? • 16 January 2004: Bush with Coretta Scott King placing wreath at grave of Martin Luther King, Jr.. • 20 January 2004: "State of the Union 2004." • 15 February 2004, Daytona 500: • "Bush looks over the National Guard-sponsored race car under

the guidance of driver Bill Elliott prior to the running of the Daytona 500." See related article George W. Bush's military service."[3] • "Bush shakes hands with NASCAR drivers and pit crews along Pit Road before the Daytona 500."[4] See accompanying news story, Bush Courts 'NASCAR Dads' at Daytona 500, Reuters, and Bush takes to the track to woo 'Nascar dads', Financial Times. • "Air Force One rises above the grandstands along the super stretch at Daytona International Speedway while taking off during the NASCAR Daytona 500," AP.[5] • 29 April 2004: Caption: "Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., left, and Sen.

Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pose on the North Lawn of the White House after they were both promoted to the rank of colonel by President Bush during a ceremony earlier in the Oval Office Thursday, April 29, 2004, in Washington. Sen. Graham, who is an Air Force reservist, and Rep. Buyer, who is an Army reservist, were both exempt from serving in Iraq because they are congressmen, but plan to do their active duty on the home front. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)" • BuzzFlash Commentary: "Four Alarm Barf Bag Alert:

Chickenhawk AWOL Bush Promotes Two Chickenhawk Republican Congressmen Who Won't Serve in Iraq But Make Believe They are Serving the Nation By Getting Dressed Up in National Guard Uniforms. They Let Other Young Men and Women Die." If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a picture plus words worth? • "Holy Redeemer": Bush photo in a classroom for

• • • •

"Clerical Office Training" (sign on wall), looking over the shoulder of a young Black girl who is sitting at a computer terminal. Bush's head lines up perfectly with the second line of lettering on the sign: "Holy Redeemer Institutional COGIC Complex." January 18, 2004. Wonder how long it took Rove to find that sign? Lots of subliminal symbolism in this one. "Responsibility" plus "Jobs and Growth" at Bush's fingertips and "Strengthening America's Economy" over Bush's head (literally). "Strengthening Health Care", once again over Bush's head. "National Urban League" with Bush overlaying the word "National". "No Child Left Behind" ... note position of "Child" in the pic.

Other Disinfopedia Resources • • • • • • • • •

Bush administration propaganda and disinformation Bush regime flash media propaganda propaganda techniques religion and empire U.S. presidential election, 2004 U.S. presidential election, 2004: Campaign Ads U.S. presidential election, 2004: Campaign Quotes

External Links • White House .org parody site. • Bush's Sham Photo Ops. • Molly Ivins, Watch Out for Those Bush Photo-Ops, Boulder Daily

Camera, December 15, 2001: "When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, many political observers had a theory that whenever he started holding photo ops with adorable little children, it was time to grab your wallet because it meant some unconscionable giveaway to the corporations was in the wind." • Bush's Iraq Visit a Pre-Election PR Stunt, AFP, November 28, 2003.

planting press article

policy laundering

Policy laundering Policy laundering is the use by government officials of reciprocal treaties or other agreements with other countries to justify violating legal restrictions on their powers within their own jurisdictions. In essence, "The treaty made me do it."

Example • The American Civil Liberties Union cites a report by the UK-based

advocacy group Privacy International titled Transferring Privacy: The Transfer of Passenger Records and the Abdication of Privacy Protection, describing (according to ACLU)"[how]...the Bush Administration is attempting to enlist the cooperation of build the airline passenger profiling system CAPPS II (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System), which is built around a secret process of background checks and risk ratings for every person who flies. But the American government demands have run up against European privacy laws, which are far more comprehensive than anything in force in the United States today.... "The report called the U.S. effort 'another clear case of what is becoming known as "policy laundering," in which government officials use the requirements of other jurisdictions as justification to obtain or enhance powers clearly wished for but otherwise unobtainable....'" In this example, European countries with stronger privacy protection laws, in complying with US demands to screen air passengers, would be "laundering" their violation of the policies enacted in those laws through the requirements of their agreements with the US.

External Links • • • • vacy.pdf

politics of personal destruction

Politics of personal destruction "The politics of personal destruction--a phrase popularized by Bill Clinton during his impeachment--has been in vogue since long before Clinton's impeachment. Although the tactic of demonizing the opposition has been practiced with varying intensity throughout the history of politics, this current round of hyper-partisan warfare can be traced back to 1987, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert H. Bork for the Supreme Court."[1]

Other Related Disinfopedia Resources • propaganda techniques • smear

External Links • The politics of personal destruction. A panel including Sidney

• •

Blumenthal, James Carville, Maxine Waters and Ann Lewis,, January 1999. The Politics of Personal Destruction. Discussed by Robert Bork, Eric Dezenhall and Gertrude Himmelfarb. Independent Women's Forum, October 14, 1999. Clinton laments 'politics of personal destruction' as she hawks book. 'This is my story',, June 9, 2003. Jeff Coop, The Politics of Personal Destruction, CoopedUp, July 22, 2003: "The administration has taken an ill-advised turn from defending its actions to attacking its critics." Ray Thomas, Politics of Personal Destruction, sierratimes, October 6, 2003.

press release

press conference

Press conference A press conference (also called a news conference) is an interview held for news reporters by a political figure or famous person.

product placement

Product placement Form of advertisement, without disclosing it to the receiving party. Case study #1: Philip Morris paid film producers for featuring the specific products (such as Marlboro) in films and for failing to disclose it. Children were primary target. [1]

External links • Stephen Skinner, “Embedded Ads”, Background Briefing, Australian

Broadcasting Corporation Radio National, 22 February 2004. • Neil Shoebridge, "Branding could burn the product placers", Australian

Financial Review, March 8, 2004.



Prophecies Popular form of propaganda during war times and similar exteme emotional situations. Allows convince the masses to the cause. Widely used by Hitler and Allies during the World War II by fitting specific events which already occurred into supposed previous prophecies. Used in many conflicts dating back to ancient times.


Pseudo-journalist One who poses as a news reporter or news anchor while pursuing another agenda might be called a pseudo-journalist. Similar to the derogatory term hack, pseudo-journalism involves impersonation of journalistic manners, sometimes with comical pedantry. Pseudo-journalists use news formats to introduce topics of authoritative opinions, pretend to be researching a news item to gather information for other reasons and act as reporters to promote causes. Also used to discredit legitimate journalists, or as a self-effacing admission of part-time or would-be journalists, newsletter editors or on-line contributors. Examples: Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Geraldo Rivera , Matt Drudge, Jon Stewart, Video News Releases

Michael Moore Michael Moore is a leftist writer and filmmaker. His works are controversial, but his movies have broken all previous records for commercial success by a documentary film. Table of contents [hide] 1 Projects 1.1 Current project 2 Criticism 3 Contact information 4 External Links

Projects Films: • • • • •

Roger and Me (criticizes closing the Ford plant in Flint, Michigan) Canadian Bacon (fictional comedy) The Big One (criticizes layoffs, Nike outsourcing) Bowling for Columbine (investigates fear and gun violence) Fahrenheit 9/11 (criticizes Bush, war in Iraq)

Television: • The Awful Truth • TV Nation

Books: • • • • •

Downsize This! Adventures in a TV Nation Stupid White Men Dude, Where's My Country? Will They Ever Trust Us Again? (collection of letters from soldiers)

Current project Sicko, a film about the problems of the health care system. July 9, 2004: "I go after these HMOs and these pharmaceutical companies. The style of the film is like 'Run Lola Run'. I don't know if I can run that fast for hours, but I just thought, What if we were just relentless motherf---ers, because I can't think of anything more evil than these HMOs. We try to see how many lives we can save in 90 minutes."[1] July 27, 2004: "his critique of health-maintenance organizations. ... The idea [] stems from a segment Moore did on his "The Awful Truth" TV show, in which he staged a mock funeral at an HMO for a patient denied an organ transplant he needed to survive. The HMO relented and paid for the transplant. ... "Even if this movie hadn't done as well, that movie was going to get made, because I think the American people are clamoring to see the HMOs punished." [Moore said]." [2]

Criticism Moore is also the target of criticism, most recently in a book titled Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man and in an upcoming film titled Michael Moore Hates America. • David T. Hardy, Jason Clarke, "Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid

White Man", Regan Books, June 29, 2004, ISBN 0060763957

Contact information

External Links • "Michael Moore," Wikipedia • Christopher Hitchens, "Unfairenheit 9/11: The lies of Michael Moore,", June 21, 2004: A harshly critical review of Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11.



Pseudo-science Pseudo-science (with or without the hyphen) is propaganda masquerading as science. This concept is distinct from bad science, which typically reflects either simple misinformation or sloppy scientific work, but does not itself represent a rejection of scientific principles. Pseudoscience is not pseudoscience because it's incorrect. (Real science routinely arrives at conclusions that are later corrected as more information is collected and new experiments are performed.) Rather, pseudoscience can be recognized by its methods, which appear to be scientific but in reality fail to meet scientific standards and procedures. Material that does not purport to be scientific is not pseudoscience. A creationist tract that claims that the Earth is only a few thousand years old and uses the Bible to argue its case may be unscientific but not pseudoscience, since it makes no pretense at being based on science. A similar tract that makes the same claim using "scientific creationism" arguments would be pseudoscience, since such a work would have to either be unreasonably selective about the evidence it considered, flagrantly misinterpret the large body of scientific evidence indicating a much older age for the Earth, or both. A hasty environmental study might represent poor science, but would not be pseudoscience unless its conclusions were justified by gross deviations from scientific standards. Advocates who use name-calling to categorize a poor study as pseudoscience might miss an opportunity to teach their audience the difference between hasty investigations and thourough scientific studies. A source who claims to offer scientific evidence that one can manipulate weather with pure mental powers is probably promoting pseudoscience. Extraordinary claims of this sort require extraordinary evidence to be accepted as scientific. Highly speculative science, such as that suggesting space-based missile defense could be plausible and useful, could be labeled pseudoscience if the claims are presented as proven facts rather than as hypotheses requiring further evidence before they can be considered reliable. Speculative conclusions presented in media reports, though, are often not styled by their original authors as scientific conclusions, but rather as recomendations for further study or policy-making based on provisional scientific evidence. The qualifications and reservations expressed in original scientific reports, however, are sometimes omitted or glossed over in media accounts or PR releases.


public demonstration

push poll

Push poll A push poll is where, using the guise of opinion polling, disinformation about a candidate or issue is planted in the minds of those being 'surveyed'. Push-polls are designed to shape, rather than measure, public opinion. Examples include: • Bush’s campaign strategists, including Karl Rove, devised a push poll

against John McCain. South Carolina voters were asked “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”. They had no interest in the actual percentages in the poll, the goal was to suggest that he had. This was particularly vicious since McCain was campaining with his adopted Bangladeshi daughter. The sight of the little dark skinned girl made the seed planted earlier grow and John McCain lost South Carolina, effectively ending his run for the presidency. • reported on a push poll that was designed to remind voters which candiates were Jewish, or had high ranking Jewish campaign staff.[1]

External links • Kathy Frankovic, "The Truth About Push Polls",,

February 14, 2000. • Paula Gibbs, "Push Poll Callers Contacting Voters", Wiscasset Newspaper, September 12, 2002. • "Public Opinion Strategies Push Poll", Mother Jones, May/June 1996. • Daniel R. Morrow, "Karl Rove: Prince of Push Polling", The Potomac, December 17, 2003.

quoting out of context

Quoting out of context When quoting another source, it is important to quote enough of the passage or speech to convey the true meaning. Quoting out of context, conversely, is a technique that uses isolated statements pulled from their original context in order to distort and usually contradict the intended meaning. This technique can be used in several different ways: • to discredit the author of the quote • to discredit the idea itself • to gain credibility for an idea that is not supported by the full context

An example of the latter is evident in George W. Bush's attempt to justify his failure to take any decisive action to prevent or reduce global warming by using a report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), June 2001, to make claims that contradict its primary assertions. The report blamed human activities for global warming while noting that natural variables might be a contributing factor, yet the Bush administration conveniently focused exclusively on the “natural variability” factor to make the claim that the report was inconclusive as to whether global warming was caused by humans. This assertion was clearly contradicted by a more extensive reading of the report: Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes are also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century…The committee generally agrees with the assessment of human-caused climate change presented in the IPCC… report.” Quoted in The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception, David Corn A slight variation of this technique is selective reasoning—choosing the facts that fit and discarding the rest.

Other Disinfopedia Resources • propaganda • propaganda techniques

raising standard of evidence

Raising standard of evidence

Raising standard of evidence is a propaganda technique sometimes used in refuting a convincing and appropriate argument. It consists of defining an unreasonable standard of evidence that must be met before the argument of one's opponent can be accepted. This is most commonly seen with respect to conspiracy theory. Usually such a theory describes events where there is high motivation to coverup real events, and where reliable unbiased witnesses are hard or impossible to come by, e.g. espionage activities. Because two or more groups are in competition both to influence and explain events as each other's fault, it is necessarily the case that evidence cannot be as reliable as it could be in a scientific or criminal matter. Very often, the only conceivable case that could be made is circumstantial: those who had opportunity, resources, motive, and did in fact benefit from the outcome. But rather than fairly require that all conspiracy theory meet a rigid standard of evidence, propagandists are skilled at lowering it for their own side, and raising it for their opponents', to the point where effectively they are trusted to arbitrate the truth without limit. With abstract or specialized subject matter, such as medicine or mathematics, it is usually not hard for an expert in related subject matter to pose as an expert in the controversial subject, and censor material they find uncomfortable or unconvincing. The primary defense against arbitrary raising of standard of evidence is to determine what standard is being applied to the competing arguments, using representative cases made by one's opponents. In doing so it can be quite useful to refer to a general scale of standards of evidence themselves: • axiomatic proof which is generally thought to be very reliable but • • • • •

narrow. quasi-empirical methods including highly trusted human arbitrators. empirical methods as employed in the 'hard' physical sciences, those focused on prediction, and which employ mathematics for modelling forensic standards statistical standards judicial standards

red herring

Red herring A red herring is an irrelevant issue used as a distraction to divert attention from the primary issue. Red herrings are usually used in attempts to deliberately mislead. There are various theories on the etymology of the phrase. They all involve laying out a fake scent trail to distract hounds by using a smoked red herring (the herring becomes red when

smoked and is known for emitting a distinctive odor). In one version, the trail is laid by hunters to test the bloodhounds or to prolong a fox hunt. According to another version British fugitives used herring to distract hounds from their trail, and in yet another version poachers used herring to distract hunting hounds from the game so they could claim it themselves. The phrase was supposedly picked up in the 1920s to warn American investors that preliminary prospectuses, dubbed “red herrings,” were not complete and could be misleading. [1] [2] This type of fallacy is a subset of the fallacy of irrelevance. Related fallacies of this type include: appeal to consequences, bandwagon fallacy, emotional appeal, guilt by association, straw man, and two wrongs make a right. Also known as: smoke screen, wild goose chase

Related Disinfopedia Resources • distraction



Reinforcement 1. fancy name for new people comig into a conflict 2. very rarely used, but a way of using various techniques to show even after proof of doubt that one's position is the right one Reinforcement is a measure of biological reactions to a desirable substance or situation. Most commonly used in research involving addictive substances, reinforcement is measured in laboratories by the tendency of research animals to respond with seeking behaviors when given a substance then deprived of the same substance. Those substances identified by other research as acting on generalized "pleasure centers" in the brain are usually found to exhibit reinforcing properties.

Neurophysiologists have identified neural networks (groups of brain cells) associated with pleasurable responses, which can be manipulated with psychoactive drugs or by social influences. The networks, some researchers suggest, evolved to help animals identify and exploit useful situations, whether the situation is as simple as a tasty flower to a bee, or the sight of a family member for a human. By associating a concept with ideas known to offer reinforcing properties, propaganda techniques such as motherhood terms exploit the biological tendency of humans to respond favorably to ideas that have been experienced as pleasurable. Propagandists learned to use reinforcement long before science identified the related biological mechanisms.





Repetition If you repeat something over and over, no matter how outrageous it may be, people will come to believe there's some truth in it. A good example of this is the claim that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. No evidence has been found suggesting collaboration between Iraq and the Al Qaeda network, yet Bush administration officials have repeatedly mentioned the two in tandem. As a result, a recent opinion survey by the Council on Foreign Relations shows that more than 40 percent of the American people believe that some or all of the attackers on 9/11 were Iraqi nationals, when in fact none were. Sometimes old propaganda has a way of haunting its perpetrators. In the late 1980s, for example, the United States regarded Iraq as an ally in its ongoing conflict with Iran, even as reports emerged that Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against his own citizens Iraqi Kurds at the town of Halabja. The U.S. at the time argued that Iran was responsible for the atrocity, and the controversy continues today, even though the United States now officially insists that Iraq was responsible. According to Stephen C. Pelletiere, the facts surrounding that claim have been selectively presented and distorted. "I am in a position to know," he stated in the New York Times, "because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army

investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair." [1] Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, which has conducted extensive investigations into the Halabja affair, insists strongly that Iraq was responsible for the incident, yet the controversy continues and may never be completely resolved. [2] Instead of leading to definitive answers, old propaganda continues to be repeated long after it has outlived its usefulness to the propagandists.

External links • Stephen C. Pelletiere, "A War Crime or an Act of War?" New York

Times, January 31, 2003. • Kenneth Roth, "The Iraqis' Use of Poison Gas" (letter), New York Times, February 5, 2003. • Jeff Softley, "Sean Hannity has a small....," Raw Story, no date. Viewed March 20, 2004.

rephrase an opponent's arguments

Rephrase an opponent's arguments To distort an audience's understanding of information that might damage a propagandist's effort, a propagandist often repeats but rephrases arguments presented by opponents. A propagandist might only slightly rephrase the argument to blunt its impact, might make the argument seem implausible or might replace credible with sensational claims. When one party advocates, for example, a law limiting toxic emissions, the propagandist might claim that party instead wants to ban all industry. Rather than directly rephrasing the opponent's argument, a propagandist might attempt to associate the opponent with groups advancing more radical causes. A propagandist might cite radical elements in a political movement as representative of the overall movement, rephrasing moderate calls for reform by centrists of the movement as extreme demands made by organizations at the fringe of the movement. Rephrasing is certainly not an original tactic of propagandists, nor is it limited to propaganda efforts. Rephrasing might not be entirely intentional. Either a propagandist or any average person might rephrase an argument as they understand it, regardless the intent of the person presenting the argument. Sociologists identify a widely recognized tendency to view one's own position more favorably than opposing positions as the fundamental attribution error.

Family counselors or other conflict resolution professionals interested in improving communication skills often teach individuals to correctly state the argument of an opponent before attempting to rebut the argument. The antithesis of rephrasing might be found in the tactics of neurolinguistic programming. NLP practitioners encourage acceptance of a target's point of view as a step toward suggesting alternative points of view. See also: Propaganda techniques


replacing credible with sensational claims

Replacing credible with sensational claims Replacing credible with sensational claims is a common strategy of those seeking to discourage conspiracy theory or any deep investigation of pro-technology propaganda. It also works in electoral polictics or public interest campaigns when attempting to discredit some concern. One such tactic is to exaggerate valid environmental health concerns into invalid environmental scares deliberately in order that the valid concern not be investigated or liability assigned. A doctor's sober assessment of causes of certain limited child health problems for instance may be drowned out by a large number of provocateur or incompentent advocate complaints blaming seemingly related, but medically not provable to be related. More blatantly, after the September 11, 2001 events there were rumours spread that Israeli citizens had been warned, and had evacuated the WTC, or that Bush administration figures had bet on a large stock market drop. These easily-disproven rumours distracted from legitimate criticisms that Al Qaeda learning to pilot airplanes, their targetting of the WTC earlier, a related plot to blow up the Eiffel Tower and another to fly a plane into a skyscraper in Milan, Italy, were all well known and publicized realies as of summer 2001. In toto, this intelligence failure could credibly be explained by either regime incompetence, regime complicity or regime corruption. A focus on impossible-to-prove complicity served those who sought to distract from the incompetence or corruption theses. Weapons of mass destruction is a field particularly ripe for such claims substitution, as most people (happily) have little direct experience or any expertise in dangerous technology.



Resonance In mass communication, resonance can be used to connect an audience with a message. Resonance defines the familiarity with which the audience perceives the speaker. A propagandist uses available icons, images, or ideas that evoke familiarity with an audience to make the group more receptive to a message. Anecdotes, vocal or literary inflections, and the context in which information is delivered can all be used to build reasonance with an audience. Resonant ideas also allow mass communicators to selectively present a message to portions of a wider audience that is rendered more receptive by use of resonant appeals specific to that sub-group. Most advertising and mass marketing strategy uses resonant selection to target specific audiences, such as various age groups, genders or economic classes.

ritual defamation

Ritual defamation Ritual defamation can target anyone from school teachers to senior public office holders for what propaganda scholar Laird Wilcox describes as repeated, sustained personal attacks designed to avoid the substance of an issue while focusing attention on claimed character flaws of someone who defends or is associated with an idea the defamers hope to discredit.

Related Disinfopedia Resources • smear • ad hominem

sanitizing the facts

Sanitizing the facts

Sanitizing the facts is a propaganda technique that entails leaving out negative, unpleasant, distressing or offensive details in order to make something appear more palatable and acceptable. For example, George W. Bush’s restriction on photographing coffins of soldiers from the Iraq war leaves the deaths of the American soldiers a sanitized abstraction of numerical death tolls while hiding the grim reality of actual dead bodies.


Satire Satire is the ridicule of human vice and folly; it has served as a standard tool of propagandists throughout recorded political history. It is usually a defense against libel in U.S. courts. In any context, satire is by its very nature necessarily augmented with some message, depending for humoural quality on a shared axiom among the satirist and the audience. Propagandists use satire to reinforce ideas and to use inference to introduce new ideas.


Scapegoating Scapegoating is a propaganda technique that has been used throughout history as a means for people to move blame and responsibility away from themselves by attributing it to others (or to an object or event). A scapegoat is the person or group made to bear the blame for or punished for those errors committed by others. Related words and phrases: whipping boy, witchhunt, killing the messenger

Other Disinfopedia Resources • propaganda • propaganda techniques • distraction (reference to distraction by scapegoating)

External links • See also Wikipedia reference on scapegoating

scholarly appearance

Scholarly appearance Publishers in academic and scientific arenas establish documentary styles to assure consistency and completeness of information they reproduce. Propagandists sometimes mimic the publishing style of academia to make manipulative messages appear to be the product of scholars. Careful examination of bibliographies will often reveal a propagandist has not reviewed the entire body of literature related to a matter, but rather has relied on a small, sometimes isolated body of publications that sometimes might be the work of the same propagandist or of closely related allies. Scholarly appearance is a standard trait of much pseudo-science and exploits the power of professionalism and credentialism to lend credibility to otherwise dubious information. See also: medical paper ghostwriting


shifting burden of proof

Shifting burden of proof

In a political dog-fight one participant may make an unfounded accusation towards their rival and demand that the rival politican show PROOF that they are innocent. In most countries the burden of proof is on the person making the accusation but by shifting this burden it implies guilt on their opponent. The power of this tactic is often enhanced by reliance on the the accusation being made by a credible third-party and the inability of the accused to respond effectively by media dedalines. A slow response - even if credible - is considered less newsworthy and often reported within the frame of reference set by the original accusation. However, such a tactic is not without risk for the accuser. Where there is a credible and swift response within the initial news cycle, the frame of reference used can be reversed with the accuser portrayed as a fabricator resorting to smear tactics.

Other Disinfopedia resources • third party technique

show trial

slander or libel

slow walk


Smear A smear is among the simplest of propaganda techniques. It can take the form of repeated, unapologetic, systematic name-calling, or otherwise implying or asserting that opponents "are" bad, evil, stupid, untrustworthy, guilty of reprehensible acts, or part of some undesirable category. A smear might be conducted subtly or vaguely so the target cannot seek legal action against a slander or libel, which must be specific and believable to be legally actionable. False implications can be masked by otherwise truthful statements. Truth is usually a defense against libel in most jurisdictions. An archetypal implicit smear is the question, "When did you stop beating your wife?" Whatever the answer, the question accuses the person of prior domestic violence. Smears might use oxymoronic language, broad generalizations, false characterizations, irrelevant information and loose associations. Smears appeal to emotion and discourage reasonable discussion. Public officials, politicians, media representatives and advocates tend to disagree at times about when accusations of impropriety are relevant and when they are intended to smear. Examples of smears include: • allegations of homosexuality, in institutions which explicitly refuse to

employ gays or lesbians, or in cultures with social or legal sanctions against homosexuality - (see also outing) • Republican Party smears against Democrats as the "Party of Treason" in the 1950s. • allegations that someone is a convicted pedophile (this is an oxymoron - a felon is convicted of specific acts, but a pedophile is a term from psychiatry describing not acts but desires - for which there is no legal liability - although some jurisdictions do define habitual offenders, they do not in fact convict them of "being a pedophile") Smears don't always work. Straightforward claims that one's opponent is morally bad may sometimes backfire: • assertions that choice between one politician and another is a choice

between good or evil, as Albert Gore Jr. did against George W. Bush - claiming the mantle of good for oneself while describing one's opponent as being evil. In a close election, dogged by a third party implying both parties are so bad they are about to destroy life's chances on earth, Gore's claim found little purchase. • more specific allegations that one's opponent is an evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet - a stunt unlikely to be repeated, given that Ernie Eves (who used it against his opponent Dalton McGuinty) lost that election.

For a moral smear to be effective, the association with evil probably needs to be believable, though like any rule, there are likely exceptions (see big lie). A morally demeaning word merely introduced in an innocuous context might tend to cast a cloud of doubt over an opponent, if the audience is not alert to the device. In 1988, the George H. W. Bush campaign associated the Democrat opponent with an implicitly dangerous criminal released on parole. Repulsive imagery conveyed in a smear or ritual defamation might extend or reinforce a more general moral appeal. If so, approaches like the "evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet" appeal might be effective if they don't backfire and if other circumstances don't overshadow the effect. In the United States, Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush have exploited the concept of evil to dehumanize an enemy. Speaking to the nation in a widely broadcast message, Reagan blasted the Soviets as an "evil empire". G.W. Bush presaged aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq with identification of what he called an "axis of evil." The concept of evil is rooted deeply in religious and secular lore throughout the U.S., allowing the presidents to allege evil both as a direct appeal to supporters swayed by religious propagandists, and to offer a psychological justification for secular listeners who might follow leaders' instructions to dehumanize an enemy that they might not otherwise despise.

Other Disinfopedia Resources • Bush administration smear campaigns


strategic ambiguity

The strategically ambiguous George W. Bush By Bryan Keefer June 12, 2003

President Bush's recent claim that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq highlights two disturbing trends in rhetoric from the White House. The first, as we have pointed out, is the Bush administration's record of factual misstatements and distortions. The second is the administration's - and especially President Bush's history of strategically ambiguous statements that, while technically or arguably true, imply connections between two things which he cannot directly demonstrate. Take, for example, Bush's declaration about the discovery of biological weapons on Iraq. According to a White House transcript of a May 30 interview with Polish television, the President declared that:

We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them. The trailers Bush refers to, however, have not provided direct evidence of weapons themselves. Instead, analysts have surmised that the most likely use for the trailers is the production of such weapons (though this conclusion remains controversial) -hardly enough to back such bold claims as "[w]e found the weapons of mass destruction." Though White House Press Secretary Ari Flesicher has suggested that Bush uses "weapons" and "weapons programs" interchangeably, there is clearly a difference between evidence suggesting weapons were produced and actual weapons (link requires Salon Premium subscription or viewing of an advertisement). Just as importantly, however, is the way Bush is building the claim. He takes one reasonably well-founded assertion about what the trailers were used for, then rhetorically implies that the discovery of the trailers is equivalent to finding weapons themselves, stating that we will find "more weapons" (emphasis mine) and repeating the word "weapons" three times after mentioning the labs. The final sentence, "But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them," is a classic example of a rhetorical fudge -the "them" could refer to either the trailers or weapons themselves. By combining them in this way, Bush implies that weapons have actually been found, but he does so in such a way that he can claim he was only discussing manufacturing devices. Bush has offered similar rhetorical linkages between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist attacks of September 11th. As we have noted, there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime was involved in those attacks in any way. In an October 7, 2002 speech in Cincinnati, Bush announced that: We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bombmaking and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America. Bush's statement brackets assertions implying an operational connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda -- a connection that is still hotly debated -- with vague assertions that because "that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy" and that "after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks," Iraq is guilty for those attacks by association. Bush also attempted to create such an impression in a March 21 letter to the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate stating the reasons for the military invasion of Iraq (this letter replicated language from a certification mandated by Congress in the resolution authorizing military action):

I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. Again, Bush is strategically connecting Iraq to the September 11 attacks with his rhetoric, claiming that the attack on Iraq is part of a campaign against "international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." Certainly, Bush's statements are at least partially responsible for the persistent public misperception that Iraq and Saddam were involved in the September 11th attacks. While Bush used this strategy of rhetorical association most egregiously in connecting Iraq to September 11, he has used the same tactic to promote other policies. In a series of appearances to promote the recently signed tax cut, for instance, Bush implied that the cuts would actually increase revenue for the government. Nearly all economists -- including the President's own Council of Economic Advisors and his nominee to head the group -- agree that tax cuts almost always reduce revenue (though some of the reduction may be offset by economic growth triggered by the cuts). While Bush is careful to never directly state that his tax cut will directly create increased revenues, he uses strategic language to connect the tax reductions to future growth in government revenue. For example, he stated on January 7 that tax cuts "are essential for the long run... to lay the groundwork for future growth and future prosperity. That growth will bring the added benefit of higher revenues for the government -- revenues that will keep tax rates low..." He made a similar assertion is his stump speech on May 2 campaigning for the tax cut: And the other way to deal with the deficit is to put policies in place that increase the revenues coming into the Treasury. And the best way to encourage revenues coming into the Treasury is to promote policy which encourages economic growth and vitality. A growing economy is going to produce more revenues for the federal Treasury. The way to deal with the deficit is not to be timid on the growth package; the way to deal with the deficit is to have a robust enough growth package so we get more revenues coming into the federal Treasury... This, in essence, is the same strategy: using rhetorical linkages in place of factual arguments. Bush plays on two facts: tax cuts are likely to stimulate some growth in the economy, and a growing economy will produce more tax revenue at a constant level of taxation. By repeating the phrase "more revenues coming into the Treasury" alongside a push for his tax cut, Bush implies a link between tax cuts and increased government revenues. Finally, Bush has made similar attempts to link the budget deficit to the war on terrorism in general and the war in Iraq in particular. Based on data from the Congressional Budget Office, the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

(CBPP) calculated in April that, relative to the surplus of $360 billion for fiscal 2003 that CBO predicted in 2001, $340 billion has evaporated because of the recession and technical adjustments to the estimate, $205 billion has been lost due to tax reductions, $90 billion has gone to the war in Iraq, homeland security, and the broader war on terrorism, and $70 billion has gone to non-war related budget increases, leaving a deficit of $345 billion. (CBO recently estimated that the fiscal 2003 deficit would climb over $400 billion, due to lower-then-expected revenues and the $61 billion in new tax cuts for 2003 which go into effect this year; as of publication, CBPP had not updated its predictions.) Yet Bush has repeatedly suggested that the war is in large part responsible for the current budget deficit, while carefully avoiding any mention of tax cuts. For example, on May 6 he stated: And, yes, we've got a deficit because we went through a recession. You see, a recession means you get less money coming into your treasury. When the economy goes down, there's less tax revenues coming to the Treasury. Secondly, we've got a deficit because we're at war. And one thing is for certain about this Commander-in-Chief, we will spend whatever is necessary to win the war. We owe it to every soldier in the American military to make sure they've got the best pay, best equipment, best possible training. We owe it to the families of the military to make sure that they're as well protected as possible. So our expenditures went up because of the emergency in war, and revenues went down. That's the ingredients for what they call a deficit. As with the examples above, what Bush is saying isn't technically untrue. But the detailed enumeration of the expenditures for the war, combined with his conclusion "So our expenditures went up because of the emergency in war, and revenues went down," not only omits the second-largest cause of the deficit - tax cuts - but also suggests that without the spending on the war, there would be no deficit (which is untrue). The casual listener would be left with the impression that it is the war in Iraq that is in large part responsible for the deficit. (Bush made nearly identical claims in speeches on April 24 and May 5). In two other cases, Bush has even suggested that the war is responsible for the recession itself. On May 2, he claimed that "A recession means the economy has slowed down to the extent where we're losing revenues to the federal Treasury. We got a recession because we went to war." And on May 12 he made a nearly identical statement that "We have got a recession because we went to war." Not only is such a claim false - an official committee at the National Bureau of Economic Research has dated the beginning of the recession to March 2001 - but it also contradicts a series of questionable claims by Bush that the recession started in January 2001. While it is possible that Bush unintentionally misspoke, the implication is the same as the quotes above: the war is responsible for the economic downturn. Bush has become a master of making statements that are factually true but misleading, while escaping criticism for doing so from the press corps. This is partly a result of the deference generally granted to the president. Bush's reputation for imprecise speech may also make reporters reluctant to criticize his words so closely. And because his claims are often phrased in complicated and confusing ways, they

are difficult for the press to directly refute. Nonetheless, the implications of the President's strategically ambiguous statements must be addressed. Update 6/21/04 10:26 PM EST: The analysis of Bush's letter to Congress has been updated to note that it replicates the language of the certification mandated in the resolution authorizing military action against Iraq, and to quote the relevant portion of the passage in full.

straw man

Straw man The straw man fallacy occurs when a statement misrepresents or invents an opponent’s view (sometimes even the opponent is invented) in order to easily discredit it. The straw man fallacy does not consist of stating an opponent's position, but only in stating it inaccurately. The straw man argument is intended to give the appearance of successfully refuting the original argument, thus creating the impression that it has refuted a position that someone actually holds. A straw man is constructed expressly for the purpose of knocking it down. [1] Wikipedia lists several different ways to set up a straw man: 1. Present one of your opponent's weaker arguments, refute it, and pretend that you have refuted all of their arguments. 2. Present your opponent's argument in weakened form, refute it, and pretend that you have refuted the original. 3. Present a misrepresentation of your opponent's position, refute it, and pretend that you have refuted your opponent's actual position (for an example see this Google debate on Communism and the Environment). 4. Present someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, refute their arguments, and pretend that you've refuted every argument for that position. 5. Invent a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs that are criticised, and pretend that that person represents a group that the speaker is critical of.[2] Richard S. Dunham illustrates the use of the straw man fallacy in politics in “Bush Attacks a Dem Straw Man:” “Politicians love to have silent, passive punching bags during election years. That's why the GOP is pounding Mr. Tax-and-Spend. One thing good about a straw man: You can keep punching away at him all you want, and he'll never hit you back. That's one reason politicians love to cart straw men around with them on the campaign trail…Good rhetoric. Trouble is, Mr. Tax-and-Spend Democrat doesn't really exist, so he never speaks or talks back. None of the top Democrats on Capitol Hill is willing to

endorse a tax increase during a downturn. But by attacking a straw man, and repeating the attack often enough, Bush hopes to inextricably link Democrats to tax hikes.”[3] The straw man technique can actually be used legitimately as a starting point to refine an idea as illustrated below. In this case there is no deliberate deception; the idea is known to be inaccurate by all parties: “In software development, a crude plan or document may serve as the strawman or starting point in the evolution of a project. The strawman is not expected to be the last word; it is refined until a final model or document is obtained that resolves all issues concerning the scope and nature of the project. In this context, a strawman can take the form of an outline, a set of charts, a presentation, or a paper.”[4]

Other Disinfopedia Resources • distraction • red herring

External links • Wiki reference • Wikipedia reference • Richard S. Dunham, “Bush Attacks a Dem Straw Man: Politicians love

to have silent, passive punching bags during election years. That's why the GOP is pounding Mr. Tax-and-Spend,” Business Week Online, January 22, 2002. • strawman in software development

third person reference

tie down

unwarranted extrapolation

Unwarranted extrapolation Recognized as a logical fallacy, some propaganda predicts with certainty future events based on a few select circumstances. [1]

The tendency to make huge predictions about the future on the basis of a few small facts is a common logical fallacy. As Stuart Chase points out, "it is easy to see the persuasiveness in this type of argument. By pushing one's case to the limit... one forces the opposition into a weaker position. The whole future is lined up against him. Driven to the defensive, he finds it hard to disprove something which has not yet happened. Extrapolation is what scientists call such predictions, with the warning that they must be used with caution. A homely illustration is the driver who found three gas stations per mile along a stretch of the Montreal highway in Vermont, and concluded that there must be plenty of gas all the way to the North Pole. You chart two or three points, draw a curve through them, and extend it indefinitely."(Chase, 1952) This logical sleight of hand often provides the basis for an effective fear-appeal. Consider the following contemporary examples:

• • •

If Congress passes legislation limiting the availability of automatic weapons, America will slide down a slippery slope which will ultimately result in the banning of all guns, the destruction of the Constitution, and a totalitarian police state. If the United States approves NAFTA, the giant sucking sound that we hear will be the sound of thousands of jobs and factories disappearing to Mexico. The introduction of communication tools such as the Internet will lead to a radical decentralization of government, greater political participation, and a rebirth of community.

When a communicator attempts to convince you that a particular action will lead to disaster or to utopia, it may be helpful to ask the following questions:

• • •

Is there enough data to support the speaker's predictions about the future? Can I think of other ways that things might turn out? If there are many different ways that things could turn out, why is the speaker painting such an extreme picture?

urgency to buy

using celebrities

Using celebrities

In a guide to “using celebrities” in drug promotion campaigns Fiona Hall and Lucie Harper from the UK PR company Shire Health London - explained in the trade publication, Pharmaceutical Marketing, that celebrities could ensure media coverage of a marketing campaign. “Celebrities can be very powerful tools in increasing publicity around a launch or campaign, particularly when you do not have a strong news story and need a famous personality to drive initial interest in your messages,” they wrote. However, in countries where direct-to-consumer advertising is banned, celebrities can't endorse a brand name product. Nor, they warn, are they cheap. “Celebrities cost a lot of money, often between £15,000 to £25,000 for three hours of work, so you need to weigh up how else you could use this money to influence your target audience,” they wrote. “Celebrities should be managed carefully as there are risks involved. Are they going to stay on message, or is there a possibility that they could be involved in a scandal in advance of your launch?,” they warn. Even making celebrities available for interviews carries risks. “It may be sensible not to involve them in 'off the cuff' questions from journalists. Try to pre-plan interviews so your celebrity is not caught off guard,” they wrote.

External links • Fiona Hall and Lucie Harper, “Using celebrities”, Pharmaceutical

Marketing, July 1, 2003. (Hall is managing director and Harper associate director at Shire Health London.

talking points

Talking points Similar to a white paper talking points are ideas, usually compiled in a short list with summaries of speaker's agenda for public or private engagements. Public relations professionals sometimes prepare "talking points" for executives or other corporate clients to help the client better conform public presentations with advice of the PR counselor. • Talking points explained at The Daily Show


Vagueness Vagueness is a frequent indicator of propaganda in news reporting. "Remember the following first rule of disinformation analysis: truth is specific, lie is vague," writes Gregory Sinaisky. "Always look for palpable details in reporting and if the picture is not in focus, there must be reasons for it."

External links • Gregory Sinaisky, "Detecting Disinformation, Without Radar," Asia

Times, April 3, 2003.

video news releases

Video news releases Video news releases (VNRs) are video clips that are indistinguishable from traditional news clips and are sometimes screened unedited by television stations without the identification of the original producers or sponsors, who are commonly corporations, government agencies, or non governmental organizations. While expensive compared to the cost of a traditional news releases they allow a sponsor to present their message without being filtered by journalists. They are commonly used unedited by small regional television stations that have limited budgets for news production or are understaffed. While some stations have a policy of not using VNR's, public relations practitioners commonly cater for this by also providing a series of clips designed to be used as stock footage. A tricks of the trade guide to VNR's in PR Week explained "don't try to fool producers by acting as though your VNR is not being pitched for promotional purposes". "If your VNR has one or two product mentions, tell the producer immediately, but gear the bulk of the pitch toward why the piece is relevant now, what makes it newsworthy," the PR Week guide explained. By way of example, the guide pointed to a VNR produced by MediaLink to promote Jennifer Lopez's perfume, Glow. The VNR, concentrated on Lopez "as a Hispanic role model and one of People magazine's recently rated most beautiful people. The story aired on E!, Good Day Live, Extra, VH1, and even some Hispanic stations in Canada."

The head of Medialink's VNR production unit, Michelle Williams, told PR Week "the viewer will take away something visual before they take away something audio. Instead of plugging a product by talking about it, showing it in use". Introducing a discussion on the topic, host Bob Garfield offers "At least viewers can rest assured that stories they see on the local news are journalistically pure. Or can they? The convergence of public relations ingenuity and broadcast stations' budgetary exigencies has yielded another dubious hybrid: the Video News Release -- a P.R. bonanza, and the news business's dirty little secret." In the discussion: Larry Moscowitz is the founder and president of MediaLink, one of the world's largest producers and distributors of VNRs: "We determined prima facie and scientifically and electronically that every television station in America with a newscast has used and probably uses regularly this material from corporations and organizations that we provide as VNRs or B-Roll or other terminology we may use." Former CBS correspondent Deborah Potter is director of the News Lab, the Washington, D.C. nonprofit dedicated to quality local television: "They allow newsrooms to do less of their own work without fear of running out of material before the end of the hour. It's a concern, and it ought to be a concern, frankly, for viewers if much of the material that they're starting to get on the news isn't news." Candace White, marketing professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and co-author of a 2001 study about VNRs, says the same self-interest that encourages news directors to use VNRs dictates that the material is used responsibly: "I trust news producers to be able to weed out true news value; I give them credit for being able to recognize blatant sales pitches. Our study found that the corporate videos were used the least, and the ones about health and safety were used the most." John Stauber "believes the use of VNRs amounts to systematic deception of viewers, both by the hidden interested parties behind them, and by news organizations with impure motives themselves": "All public relations is not sinister or evil or bad. But I think the important thing to understand is that indeed all public relations is propaganda."

Selling changes to Medicare In early 2004, Home Front Communications (HFC) was identified as the company that produced two video news releases for the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) promoting the benefits of the recently passed but very controversial Medicare law. The VNR's featured scripts produced by the administration with two people posing as 'journalists' doing what purported to be interviews.[1] A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, Kevin W. Keane, told the New York Times "the use of video news releases is a common, routine practice in government and the private sector, ... Anyone who has questions about this practice needs to do some research on modern public information tools." [2] The revelation of the U.S. government using a VNR prompted six Democratic Senators, led by Senator Edward Kennedy, to write to the heads ABC, NBC, CBS, WB, CNN, UPN, Fox and the National Association of Broadcasters calling on them not to broadcast the tape. [3]

The DHHS incident also re-ignited debate amongst journalism and media organisations about the production and use of video news releases. The Association of Health Care Journalists decried the use of VNRs. In a media statement AHCJ President, Andrew Holtz, described the identification of a government contractor as a reporters as "a triple assault on public trust." "This practice lowers the standards of public service to that of common hucksterism, displays a lack of respect and understanding of the role of journalists in a free society, and undermines the credibility of both journalists and public officials," he stated. [4] The President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Peter Bhatia, wrote to Tommy G. Thompson, who is responsible for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protesting against the "deceptive methods" used by DHHS in the VNRs. "It is fair, of course, for the government to communicate with citizens via press releases on video as well as in print. It is not ethical or appropriate, however, to employ people to pose as journalists, either on or off camera," Bhatia wrote. ANSE argued that the lack of identification of the government as the source "is outside the bounds of ethical behavior for HHS or any other government agency" and urged Thompson to "discontinue use of this misleading practice." [5] The Radio-Television News Directors Association, was more pragmatic and re-stated its policy developed a decade earlier. "RTNDA does not endorse the use of so-called video news releases, but neither do we reject their use, as long as that use conforms to the association's Code of Ethics," their policy states. The code of ethics states that "sound journalistic practice calls for clear identification of all material received from outside sources, including material distributed in the form of video or audio news releases." [6] The Government Accounting Office (GAO) found that the VNR produced by Home Front Communications for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) - a part of the Department of Health and Human Services - on changes to Medicare violated the ban on government funds for on publicity and propaganda. In its report the GAO wrote "CMS explained to us that HHS hired Ketchum, Inc., to disseminate information regarding the changes to Medicare under MMA. Specifically, HHS contracted with Ketchum to assist HHS and its agencies with a 'full range of social marketing activities to plan, develop, produce, and deliver consumer-based communication programs, strategies, and materials.'" [7] In its report the GAO explained that "HFC wrote the VNR scripts, which were reviewed, edited, and approved by CMS and HHS. ... HFC completed all production work, including filming, audio work and editing. The final VNR packages were reviewed and approved by CMS and HHS." While CMS defended its funding of the VNR's to the GAO on the grounds that it is a “standard practice in the news sector” and a “well-established and well-understood use of a common news and public affairs practice”, it was an argument they rejected. "While we recognize that the use of VNR materials, with already prepared story packages, is a common practice in the public relations industry and utilized not only by government entities but also the private and non-profit sector as well, our analysis of the proper use of appropriated funds

is not based upon the norms in the public relations and media industry," the GAO's General Counsel, Anthony H. Gamboa, wrote in the agency's decision. "In a modest but meaningful way, the publicity or propaganda restriction helps to mark the boundary between an agency making information available to the public and agencies creating news reports unbeknownst to the receiving audience," he wrote. "We conclude that of the three parts of the VNRs, one part--the story packages with suggested scripts--violates the prohibition. In neither the story packages nor the lead-in anchor scripts did HHS or CMS identify itself to the television viewing audience as the source of the news reports. Further, in each news report, the content was attributed to an individual purporting to be a reporter but actually hired by an HHS subcontractor," the GAO found. A spokesman for the HHS, Bill Pierce rejected the GAO findings and defended the practice on the grounds that how the material was used was for the news producers and editors to decide. “Each of those segments were separated into video and audio tracks. We left it there for producers to decide…” Pierce said. “They could have stripped out sound and put in voiceover, they could have put a voiceover in providing attribution. That’s why we produced it the way we did,” he told The Hill. [ [8] Material from the VNRs were used on forty television stations.

External links • Sara Calabro, "PR technique: Winning over television's gatekeepers", • • •

• •

• •

PR Week, January 19, 2004 . Robert Pear, "U.S. Videos, for TV News, Come Under Scrutiny", New York Times, March 15, 2004. "Medicare VNRs trashed as propaganda", O'Dwyers PR Daily, March 16, 2004. Association of Health Care Journalists, "Journalists Cry Foul: Association of Health Care Journalists faults government stealth ads", Media Release, March 17, 2004. American Society of Newspaper Editors, "ASNE protests HHS video press release", Media Release, March 18, 2004. Radio-Television News Directors Association, "RTNDA Urges Caution and Disclosure When Using Video News Releases", Media Release, March 18, 2004. Government Accounting Office, “Matter of Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Video News Releases”, May 19, 2004. Michael S. Gerber, "GAO calls Medicare video news releases illegal propaganda", The Hill, May 20, 2004. Mark Sherman, "Administration ads violated law", The, May 20, 2004 . (This is an Associated Press story)."The Bush administration’s promotion of the new Medicare law through videos made to look like news reports violated a prohibition against using public money for propaganda, Congress’ General Accounting Office said Wednesday."

Disinfopedia Resources • infomercial


viral marketing (word of mouth)

Viral marketing Viral marketing is a technique that uses word of mouth or email to reach and affect an audience. Some forms of viral marketing have existed for centuries. They are mentioned in annals of Greek Athenian histories and are a common strategy in marketing and media relations techniques. The goal of a viral marketer is to create "buzz" about a product or idea, so that the idea spreads widely. If effective, viral marketing may require very little effort on the part of the propagandist, as the recipients of the message become the primary agents who spread it to other people. On the other hand, the weakest thing about this form of marketing is that it is hard to control. Like the "telephone game" that children play, the message may change as it passes from ear to ear.

Examples • • • • • •

Rumours Chain letters with warnings "Leaked" information Gossip Urban myths Secondhand versions of official reports

Case study #1: Mobility and urbanization of American society at the beginning of 20th century unwittingly helped spread the syphilis, which was a major public health disaster by the twenties. Penicilin was still two decades away. Having the disease almost certain meant a painful death. It was

feared and was not tolerated. After the World War I the tobacco companies expanded business into advertising to women, with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company being at the forefront with its Camel brand. Very fierce competition ensued. Competitors apparently used the following technique of word of mouth and fear to counter advertise: Two "strangers" would enter an establishment such as pharmacy through separate entrances, and independently from each other. A discussion will "incidentally" commence about Reynolds' cigarettes, and one person would express fear that there is a danger of catching syphilis from smoking Camels, because there is a confirmed epidemic among the factory employees. Discussion would be picked up by bystanders, and fear relayed to others. Radio was in its infancy at the time, and many people were illiterate, with no access to newspapers. Such technique must have been actually used, since at one point Reynolds advertized a $10,000 prize for exposing the perpetrators.

External links • • "Disease Mongering," PR Watch, 1st Quarter 2003, includes notes on

"buzz". • "The Irresistible Outbreak of Trust", Wedgewise Viral Marketing

eBrief, contains a summary of the first 100 search engine results for "Viral Marketing" (over 120 articles summarized), available for free download.

A more sinister alternate meaning for the term viral marketing arose when it was revealed that various drugco vending antiviral therapies for HIV had worked to suppress research into the malaria therapy for AIDS. By doing so, some argue, they permitted the spread of the HIV virus to do the marketing of their drugs for them, as there was no effective or cheap alternative therapy.

white papers

White paper A document prepared by an interest group detailing arguments related to a particular issue. White papers guide allies in their public and private efforts to argue their interests, and sometimes serve as persuasive documents for presentation to media organizations or to other targets of a persuasive effort.


Logical Fallacies In order to understand what a fallacy is, one must understand what an argument is. Very briefly, an argument consists of one or more premises and one conclusion. ... A fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoning. [1]

References on Logical Fallacies 1. 2. 3. 4.

Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies Dr. Michael C. Labossiere's Fallacies The Atheism Web's Logic & Fallacies Wikipedia's Logical fallacy

Persuasion technology arms races The use of audiovisual technologies in mass persuasion is supported by scientific research, involving use of proprietary databases, audience response measurement, sociological research and a growing understanding of the biological basis for human behavior. Persuasion technology of some form is employed by most groups attempting to change minds on commercial or political matters. Tools like Disinfopedia, Wikipedia, consumerium,, and are all attempts to equalize information and technology access.

Recommended Books • • • •

Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion, Anthony R. Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson Coercion: why We believe what They say, Douglas Rushkoff How To Marry The Rich, Gini Polo Sayres Influence: Science and Practice, Robert B. Cialdini

External links • •

Notes from Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion Institute for Propaganda Analysis offers analysis, with current and historical examples, of rhetorical tactics often used by propagandists, based on the framework developed in the 1930s by the IPA. Army Field Manual 33-1: Psychological Operations (partial contents)

• • • • • • • •

Psyop and Military Links Alantic online, An Optimist After All These Years, An interview with Douglas Rushkoff Public Broadcasting Corporation, Coercion: why We believe what They say, Excerpted from the "Advertising" chapter of Douglas Rushkoff. Carol Giambalvo's Cult Information and Recovery : Taken from Influence. Science and Practice, Robert B. Cialdini FreeRepublic's Propaganda techniques Thinkquest's Wartime Propaganda Answer the &$%#* Question! Columbia Journalism Review Propaganda Communist Chinese Paintings (site in french)

2 Propaganda-techniques  

Table of contents [hide] 1 Rhetorical techniques 2 Other techniques/terms 3 Logical Fallacies 3.1 References on Logical Fallacies 4 Persuasi...

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