a principle familiar to propagandists is that the doctrine to be instilled in the target audience should not be articulated: that would only expose them to reflection, inquiry, and, very likely, ridicule. The proper procedure is to drill them home by constantly presupposing them, so that they become the very condition for discourse.
- Noam Chomsky
It is easier to dominate someone if they are unaware of being dominated. Colonised and colonisers both know that domination is not just based on physical supremacy. Control of hearts and minds follows military conquest. Which is why any empire that wants to last must capture the souls of its subjects.
- Ignacio Ramonet, The control of pleasure, Le Monde diplomatique, May 2000
But the issue of propaganda can go beyond just war, to many other areas of life such as the political, commercial and social aspects:
When there is little or no elite dissent from a government policy, there may still be some slippage in the mass media, and the facts can tend to undermine the government line. ... We have long argued that the "naturalness" of [the] processes [of indirectly pressing the media to keep even more tenaciously to the propaganda assumptions of state policy], with inconvenient facts allowed sparingly and within the proper framework of assumptions, and fundamental dissent virtually excluded from the mass media (but permitted in a marginalized press), makes for a propaganda system that is far more credible and effective in putting over a patriotic agenda than one with official censorship.
It is much more difficult to see a propaganda system at work where the media are private and formal censorship is absent. This is especially true where the media actively compete, periodically attach and expose corporate and government malfeasance, and aggressively portray themselves as spokesmen for free speech and the general community interest. What is not evident (and remains undiscussed in the media) is the limited nature of such critiques, as well as the huge inequality of the command of resources, and its effect both on access to a private media system and on its behavior and performance. (Emphasis Added)
- Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent; The Political Economy of the Mass Media, (Pantheon Books, New York, 1988), pp. xiv, 1-2.
The use of words is integral to propaganda techniques. Dr. Aaron Delwiche, at the School of Communications at the University of Washington, provides a web site discussing propaganda. Delwiche recounts how in 1937, in the United States, the Institute for Propaganda Analysis was created to educate the American public about the widespread nature of political propaganda. Made up of journalists and social scientists, the institute published numerous works. One of the main themes behind their work was defining seven basic propaganda devices. While there was appropriate criticism of the simplification in such classifications, these are commonly described in many university lectures on propaganda analysis, as Delwiche also points out. Delwische further classifies these (and adds a couple of additional classifications) into the following:
A vivid example of such use of words is also seen in the following quote:
Since war is particularly unpleasant, military discourse is full of euphemisms. In the 1940's, America changed the name of the War Department to the Department of Defense. Under the Reagan Administration, the MX-Missile was renamed "The Peacekeeper." During war-time, civilian casualties are referred to as "collateral damage," and the word "liquidation" is used as a synonym for "murder."
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