Week 2. Defining Propaganda

We’ll contextualize the study of propaganda by considering the rise of so-called “fake news” and learn key definitions and terminology about propaganda as a communication concept.

January 31, 2018


  1. Reviewing Your Completed Work
  2. Introducing Mind Over Media: www.mindovermedia.tv
  3. Review and discuss EAVI 10 Types of Fake News graphic
  4. Defining propaganda PPT slides
  5. For discussion: Why are there are so many terms and definitions for propaganda?
  6. Preview Pathwright Class Participation activities and Quiz 1 (see below for details)
  7. Discuss: PETA “Animal Captivity is Slavery”

If you did not participate in the live class, you can watch the video here

After viewing, please use the conceptual model we used to analyze the PETA ad and select an example of propaganda from the Mind Over Media Website. Describe the example you have selected and show it uses the 4 propaganda techniques we discussed. Put your answer in the “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of of this page. No duplicates please.

PLEASE COMPLETE Week 3 (Origins of Propaganda) class assignments listed on the Pathwright website before Wednesday February 7 at 4 p.m.


Click the image to open the whole poster:

Screenshot 2018-01-28 13.23.46



  1. The example of propaganda I chose from the Mind Over Media website is a billboard with the Fox News logo that says “We deceive. You believe.” below it. This propaganda uses the technique of attacking the opponent. The propaganda simplifies information by making the claim that Fox News is deceitful without that necessarily being completely true. I would also say that it uses the technique of activating emotions as the message may result in confusion, fear, or even anger from the audience. They may be confused as to whether it is a real billboard, fearful that they cannot trust the media, or angry that someone may be attacking what they believe to be a credible news source.


  2. The example I came across on Mind over Media was of Barack Obama taking a jump shot at a basketball court. Behind him, there are dozens of people – ranging from photographers to kids and more watching on as he does. The caption noted how he just looked like a normal guy playing basketball, it also brought up the point that it looked staged, so it was interesting seeing the mixed caption. This could relate to the “simplifying information and ideas” technique in the sense that it sends a positive message by having the audience right on the court with him, promoting togetherness. The “attack opponents” technique was not used here. I don’t think it responds to audiences needs and values because it doesn’t resolve anything unless people take away the welcoming idea of the piece, which is Obama acting like a normal guy and welcoming to others. Additionally, it could activate some strong emotions by people being able to relate to Obama in this piece because of that “normal guy” idea. Overall the piece is certainly not harmful and I would say it is beneficial.


  3. The example i used is the example in the “rate” section of mind over media and was about a Facebook post about a women who is talking about McDonalds and her career as a EMT. This example uses activating strong emotions because to her she feels she’s not being recognized for her work of saving lives while workers at fast food restaurants are making more money and can’t get her order right. She uses the technique of simplify information and ideas because she is telling the truth about what happened but putting her own view on it. She also uses a technique of attacking these certain types of people who work at these places which is responding to audience needs and values. The post also uses a fourth technique which is used to attack opponents which she did by calling out the workers credibility and their character.


  4. Out of the six definitions of propaganda on the Mind Over Matter web page, I like both the Wikipedia definition as well as the definition given by Richard Alan Nelson. I like the Wikipedia definition because it is short and straight to the point. I enjoyed Nelson’s definition because it is a more in-depth analysis of the term propaganda. I think for someone who has not done much research and is not very sure what propaganda is, these two definitions could go hand in hand.

    I think propaganda has several different definitions propaganda is used in a lot of different situations. Propaganda can be used to persuade, positively or negatively. It could also be used to pull emotions out in people. In each different context, the definition can change.


  5. Week 2 “Leave a Reply”

    Using the conceptual model found above, it is clear that the PETA ad uses the four techniques of propaganda. First, the activates strong emotions in the audience. By referencing the dark history of slavery and by expressing the poor treatment of animals in captivity, the ad elicits strong feelings of sympathy and even guilt from the audience. Second, the ad responds to the audience’s needs. People have a strong need to feel like they are making a difference and to feel that they are benefiting the greater good. By imploring the audience to take a stand against animal “slavery,” PETA is fulfilling the audience’s need (the need to do something to help society). Third, the ad simplifies information and ideas. In order to make the comparison between slavery and the poor treatment of animals in captivity, PETA greatly simplifies the two issues, as they are, in fact, probably more dissimilar than they are similar. Unfortunately, this simplification runs the risk of being insensitive, and, thus, backfiring. Last, the ad attacks opponents. In its ad, PETA states that any person who buys a ticket to a zoo, an aquarium, or the like is supporting animal cruelty. In doing so, PETA attacks its opponents by, essentially, insulting the moral character of anyone who does not act in accordance with their views.

    From the Mind Over Media website, I selected a picture from a non-smoking campaign. The ad is a picture of a girl with a cigarette; the cigarette smoke is forming a noose around her neck; the text a the bottom reads: “Kill a Cigarette and Save a Life. Yours.”

    This piece of propaganda address some but not all of the four aforementioned techniques. First, the ad does activate strong emotions in the audience. The audience does not want to see a girl killing herself, nor do they want to imagine them killing themselves with a cigarette. Thus, this add instills in the audience, what I would call, a sense of resiliency, as we feel empowered to save a life by eliminating cigarettes. Second, this ad responds to audience needs. Very simply, a basic human need is survival. The ad says that, by quitting smoking, you can save your life. Third, the ad simplifies information and ideas. There are only eight words in this ad, and they are in very small print at the bottom–almost as an afterthought. The message of the ad is simple, clear, and direct. However, the ad does not use the fourth technique previously discussed; this ad does not attack opponents. There are no claims or statements made about, for example, cigarette companies. Instead, the message of the ad is about support and strength, not about offense.


  6. Hello! So I chose to look at the #Unitedforpeace – Keep Democracy Alive video. In the video, it started out with a young girl running around, the video kept showing different people in different areas of the world and what they would be doing within their everyday lives. There were people playing sports, fishing, kids playing, people interacting, and different jobs in different areas.They kept going back to show this one little girl running around. By the middle to the end of the video this little girl stopped running and looking up to the sky and put her hands over her heart, they then showed people all over the world doing the same thing and how they can all unite for peace. This video demonstrates the techniques of propaganda by 1 – (activating strong emotions) It was successful in doing this because everyone they showed in the video was happily living there life, there was no scenes of war or hatred but people just living. The scenes with the children and people interacting gave the feelings of hope and peace. It was all tied together by the music they played in the background, it was just instrumental but it was calm and built as the point of the video built with it. According to the Mind Over Media website, this video’s purpose was to activate emotions. 2 – (simply information and ideas) by showing people just living their day to day lives it is believable. The little girl running around the streets of where she lived, the men playing soccer, the man fishing, two women sitting at a cafe, they are all simple ideas that show how people spend their days. 3 – (respond to audience needs and values) this video is appealing to every cultures and groups within society. The use of many different types of people and ways of life will allow for anyone watching to connect and see someone that reminds them of what they do for a living, what they like, where they live. 4 – (attack opponents) the videos purpose was to show how people can live in a democracy in order to build a democracy in Tunisia. The ad isn’t directly taking down anybody, it’s not insulting anyone or any type of government, it is showing how people in the world live, act, and come together for a purpose. They use these simplistic roles of the people living in Tunisia (sports, cafes, children) in order to show what a democracy could do for their people.


  7. One example of propaganda that I saw on the Mind Over Media site was an ad that ran in the Cape Times newspaper in South Africa. The ad shows a model covered in bruises, wearing a dress that was an internet trend a few years ago because there was conflict about whether it was white/gold or blue/black. The text on the ad says, “why is it so hard to see black and blue” and then beneath it, “the only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.” This propaganda activates strong emotions because it shows a woman that has clearly been a victim of physical violence. It also gives the viewer the upsetting statistic that one in six women are victims of abuse. I feel like this ad also does a good job of simplifying information and ideas because it is very straightforward, and there is not a lot of text to read. I rated this propaganda as beneficial because it gets the intended message across without being too graphic or upsetting to its audience.


  8. A form of propaganda on the Mind Over Media website that I found very interesting was an ASPCA poster. On the poster was a picture of a chicken and the words “Tell the Chicken Industry: Faster slaughter means more suffering.” It also said, “Big Chicken wants to kill more birds per minute. causing painful deaths for chickens, risking workers safety, and threatening food safety.” At he bottom of the poster was the a hashtag that said, #slowthecluckdown and also the option to sign their petition. I think this poster did a good job of activating strong emotions. I think many people will feel angry or concerned when they see this poster. Even if people are not animal lovers this poster can still evoke feelings of concern for ones food safety or the workers in the factories. Also, I believe this poster responds to the audience’s needs and values. The majority of people in the US are meat eaters, therefore they have a need to make sure that their food is safe to eat and free from contamination. Additionally, people mostly value the ethical treatment of animals and would not like for them to suffer more than necessary. This poster also does a good job of simplifying information and ideas. It gave the audience necessary information in very little words. Key words in the sentences were bolded which makes it simpler and easier to read. Lastly, this poster was definitely attacking their opponent. In the poster they address their opponent directly but calling large chicken corporations “Big Chicken.” It is very clear which corporations the ASPCA is against. Overall, I thought this poster was beneficial and did a good job of highlighting the issues in our chicken industries today.


  9. While looking over the Mind Over Media website, I found many examples of propaganda. One example that I found very interesting was the poster about teen pregnancy. It pictures a little boy with tears in his eyes. The captions read “I am twice as likely to not graduate high school because you had me as a teen.”

    Using the conceptual model we used to analyze the PETA ad, I selected this example because it clearly uses the 4 propaganda techniques that we discussed. The first technique is activating strong emotions. This specific ad was successful in doing this because it chose to use a picture of a crying child. Children in general, evoke emotions in young adults and we feel even more sentiment to a crying child. It catches the attention of the viewer. The second technique is the idea of simplifying information and ideas. This poster did so by using basic information such as the “twice as likely” statement. You know the exact point that this individual or organization are trying to portray. The third technique is responding to audience needs and values. Children are very appealing to all people. Children are a part of everyone’s life. They are trying to send a message for the good of the next generation. The fourth technique is attacking opponents. Although this poster doesn’t necessarily attack opponents, it is stating facts about what could happen if teens have children.


  10. After viewing the mind over media website, the post that stuck out to me was the picture of a Native American man with a straight face and the quote “Let me get this straight. You’re afraid of refugees coming to America, killing you and taking your property”. This meme really stuck out to me because it is just a simple dull colored portrait with bold letters.

    Using the model we used to analyze PETA I analyzed this post.The first technique it used was activating strong emotions; in this case, the maker of this meme didn’t use the looks of the post to draw the audience in. It’s the strong, blunt statement that definitely sparks emotions. When reading it, the audience immediately realizes that it’s referring to terrorism and then immediately you realize that it is a comment directed to Americans who invaded America and took it from them. The second technique is the idea of simplifying information and ideas. This poster used a short and concise message to portray such a serious issue. The third technique is responding to audience needs and values. The poster makes the audience think about how similar this is to terrorism and it really sparks the values within each audience member about something that isn’t common to think about. The fourth technique is attacking opponents and this post is definitely shows this but in a more shocking, simple way, that is effective because it leaves the audience thinking.


  11. Propaganda is more noticed because it is easier for individuals especially companies to get their goal across. It is used to reach a larger number of media users. Their is a specific four techniques that propagandists use to achieve their objective. These four include activating strong emotions, responding to audience needs, simplify information, and attack the opponent. An ad that stood out to me from “Mind Over Media” was a alternate McDonald’s poster. The name of the company was changed to weight while the logo of the company was flipped upside down to showcase a “W” instead of a “M”. Their motto was always changed from “I’m Lovin’ It” to “I’m Gaining It”. Automatically, this triggers strong emotions to not only consumers of McDonald’s but also people who are trying to lose weight. Society grasp a huge expectation on staying fit and healthy which this ad satisfy a need of a changed healthier lifestyle. This type of propaganda speaks many volumes without dramatically altering to original ad. The famous colors of the fast food restaurant stayed the same of yellow, red, and white. The information was simplified and it implies that McDonald’s was the issue of society’s weight gain. This is a specific attack towards the company and this piece of propaganda boycotts not only this fast food chain but others as well. Overall, I personally think this ad was beneficial to getting a point of across that fast food is not the healthiest choice and it will make you gain weight.


  12. From the Mind Over Media website, I selected a picture from the Trump campaign and appeared on a Facebook post. The image contained bowl of skittles. Above the bowl it says “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” “That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” And below it is the Trump Pence logo with the tagline “Make America Great Again!”. Although this is unethical, it is an effective piece of propaganda. It simplifies immigration (refugee) policies by implying that letting a few in (or grabbing a handful) can lead dangerous extremists. It attacks all Syrian refugees by reducing them pieces of candy and ultimately putting refugees and extremists in the same category. It evokes strong emotions by comparing something trivial like candy to something dangerous. Lastly, it responds to the audience needs because it appeal to the audience sense of safety, meaning that if you don’t grab any candy or you don’t let any refugees, you will be safe.


  13. I watched the “He said she said” New York Times ad-it exemplifies the idea about truth telling and the importance of finding the truth and links the company with the value of quality information. when you think of NYT you think of the truth and nothing more because the truth is powerful and cannot be denied.

    This ad uses strong emotions because of the repetition of “He said she said” and further saying “the truth has power” the truth has a voice” “the truth will not be threatened”
    Simplify info- straightforward to the point- words repeat but it is clear what the ad is saying.
    Responds to audiences need of reliable news source
    Attacks opponents because there are so many sources of fake news or false informatuoin it shows that you can count on the New York Times to have the truth.

    I said it was a beneficial ad.


  14. The definition of propaganda that resonates with me from the Mind of Media website is:
    “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”
    -Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell

    The piece of propaganda from this website that I have chosen to describe is the photo of Kathy Griffen holding a bloody Trump head. “This was a picture created by Kathy Griffin, and it is an image showing Kathy Griffin with a fake, bloody head that resembles President Trump. This appeared on TMZ and many other media outlets.” I remember when this photo was put on the internet and people immediately were enraged — even if they did not support Trump. Eventually, Kathy Griffen came out with an apology message due to this photo she released. The 4 propaganda techniques include: 1. activating strong emotions; 2. responding to audience needs and values; 3. simplifying information and ideas; 4. attacking opponents. This piece of propaganda definitely uses all of these techniques.

    1. This piece of propaganda activates very STRONG emotions — I would say anger is the best choice. When released, this photo made Trump supporters extremely angry and outraged someone would put up such a gruesome photo. Furthermore, it made some people against Trump riled up and get into a kind of “down with Trump!” mode. Then, there were also people that didn’t even support Trump, however, were astounded that someone would put up such a vile photo threatening someone’s life.
    2. I believe Kathy Griffen tried to appeal to people against Trump as her audience. She tried to meet their needs and values of being against him, by saying “I’m with you,” as she slandered Trump by holding a bloody head.
    3. The notion that Kathy Griffen was absolutely not with Trump was simplified, as she didn’t need words to go with this photo. It is extremely clear in this piece of propaganda that Kathy Griffen hates Trump and is for his demise as a political candidate…and maybe even as a person.
    4. Attacking opponents was completed here because Griffen’s opponent is clearly Trump. She is seeking a powerful look which she accomplishes by wearing blue (Democratic Party representation) and holding a bloody Trump head.

    This is an extremely powerful piece of propaganda that evoked emotions of millions; that’s why it works. Though it backfired in many ways, this piece of propaganda by Kathy Griffen worked.


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