It’s my assertion that due to the polarizing diction and rhetoric used during an election especially by the media, an ambiance is created where factuality isn’t important and vitriolic behavior and invectives saturate public discussion and communication .
I have seen the media utilize a lot of the following principles :
- Avoid abstract ideas – appeal to the emotions.
- Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases.
- Give only one side of the argument.
- Continuously criticize your opponents.
- Pick out one special “enemy” for special vilification.
Before I continue I should add that these were Adolf Hitler’s principles for the proliferation and dissemination of propaganda.
What is Propaganda?
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.
A History of Propaganda
- Gabriel Tarde‘s Laws of Imitation (1890) and Gustave Le Bon‘s The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1897) were two of the first codifications of propaganda techniques, which influenced many writers afterward, including Sigmund Freud.
- Hitler’s Mein Kampf is heavily influenced by Le Bon’s theories. Journalist Walter Lippmann, in Public Opinion (1922) also worked on the subject, as well as the American advertising pioneer and founder of the field of public relations
- Edward Bernays, a nephew of Freud, who wrote the book Propaganda early in the 20th century. Goebbel, the propaganda minister of the Third Reich was very influenced by Bernays.
The Nazis believed in propaganda as a vital tool in achieving their goals and of course we need look no further than the Cold War to see how fear was used to justify both the blatant disrespect of the sovereignty of countries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East as well as the diverting away of huge funds away from social interests to fund nuclear proliferation. During the Cold War era, the United States feared the spread of communism and, in some cases, overthrew democratically elected governments perceived at the time as becoming left-wing or unfriendly to U.S. interests.
I quote again the book The Media and Modernity where it says that the development of mass communication has had a largely negative impact on modern social life, creating a kind of bland and homogeneous culture which entertains individuals without challenging them. The best way to not challenge people is to constantly appeal to people’s emotions, in particular fear. Look at the following article titles. So far i have heard a lot of vitriol launched at Obama more so than Romney don’t know why though
Obama’s Obsession With Destroying Our Country Has No Bounds
Is President Obama Intentionally ‘Destroying’ America?
Claire McCaskill ‘helping Obama destroy country’
David Horowitz: Obama ‘Systematically Destroying Our Liberties’
Titles like these employ many of Hitlers Propaganda techniques. They avoid abstract ideas – and appeal to the masses’ emotions, they constantly repeat just a few ideas and use stereotyped phrases to do so. Finally they give only one side of the argument, continuously criticize the opponent (Obama) and as a bonus pick out one special “enemy” for special vilification: Claire McCaskill.
Pundits seem to be only there to give the idea that the news we receive is actually news but by virtue of the handful of outlets monopolizing mass media, the news is already ‘altered’ before it is even processed by the late night pundits.
Just my random though