Propaganda Essay

1038 Words May 10th, 2016 5 Pages
Propaganda as defined by Jowett and O’Donnell “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” (Prop, 7). In this definition, similar to others, the words “shape”, “manipulate”, and “direct” tend to spur an uneasy feeling for many. Propaganda, which “is associated with bad things or evil forces,” (Pers 33) has such a negative connotation that people who disagree with a message will publicly label it as propaganda to make the audience feel threatened by the communicator and by the message delivered by the enemy. Historically, propaganda has been known to be the cause of war and deaths. But, can propaganda ever …show more content…
A great example is tobacco marketing. Propaganda related to smoking uses celebrities, beautiful women and masculine men to persuade people that smoking “can make them appear defiant and strong willed” (Pers, 34). Such images blind viewers from the truth. It’s hiding the fact that smoking tobacco can cause early aging, lung cancer and other health problems. Similarly, when an authority figure delivers a persuasive message in order to gain self-happiness it is considered unethical. In the Persuasion book authority is defined as “a person’s position in a social structure. It involves the ability to dispense rewards and punishments” (Pers, 237). We saw this to be extremely common with popes and kings and queens who would abuse their authoritative figure to demand money and riches from the people. Simply because someone holds a title does not give them the right to deprive people of their riches and basic needs. Historically, propaganda has revealed how evil it can be and how unethical it still can be. Yet, times have also shown otherwise. In history, when we read about war we assume propaganda only served to cause it and escalate it. But, propaganda has proved to have acted ethically at times. In relation to the end of World War II, didn’t propaganda play a role? Had the Allies or Americans not

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