Propaganda and Democracy Essay

510 Words 3 Pages
What is the impact of propaganda on our democracy? When examining the relationship between propaganda and democracy it important to define each term.
Propaganda is a protean term, its definition varies widely. The word propaganda could refer simply to an active process of mass persuasion or it could carry more negative connotations. In general, a distinction is drawn between propaganda and persuasion.
Like persuasion, propaganda is designed to influence opinion rather than purely communicate fact; however, there are several important differences between the two. Persuasion utilizes critical argument and weighs all sides of an issue. On the other hand, propaganda is entirely one sided. While a persuasive message works best with a focused
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Now, compare the amounts of propaganda and debate that are a part of American politics. Take for example the presidential campaigns: through various media sources the people are exposed to a bombardment of one-sided political ads. In contrast, there are only a few short debates comparing all sides of the contest.
     This one-sided nature of the majority of political media allows people to listen only to opinions that match their own and omit anything they disagree with. It is possible for people to consume only media that reinforces their preconceived notions and never challenges their thinking. Voters can make up their minds without ever having heard all sides of an issue.
     The good news for American Democracy is that the people are exposed to many different sources of propaganda. The propaganda itself has an almost democratic form. Anyone can produce propaganda for nearly any point of view. The myriad sources, contradictions, and oppositions within the propaganda have the potential to stir the debate and critical thinking that it tries so hard to avoid. As a New Your Time editorial once observed, “What is truly vicious is not propaganda but a monopoly of it” (Snow, 2001).
     The relationship between propaganda and democracy is far from ideal. Propaganda has most certainly has a negative effect on democracy. However, the

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