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Propagandists: What are they really saying?

by | Jun 26, 2010 | Archived Material, June 2010

Propaganda (Download it here Propaganda – Bernays) is a funny word.  When people hear it, they instantly think “Nazi Germany,” “Communists” or “Big Brother.”  In fact, that’s not the first thing you should think.  Propaganda got a bad rap after it was learned that the most successful student of the man who wrote the book (literally) on mass influence was the propaganda minister for the Nazi Party.  You may have heard the name Joseph Goebbels before, and you may have even read Propaganda here.   These are not new facts to many here.

Propaganda is a dirty word until you know what they call it now.

As a propagandist, what would you do if your beloved science came under scrutiny?  You’d follow the rule book, of course.  Change the name and completely disavow and separate yourself from the bad stuff.  We don’t use the word “propaganda” anymore to describe mass influence.  We use “marketing.”  Have you ever been a marketing target?  Of course you have.  You are a consumer.  To marketers, you are a mouth which needs too much food, a butt which needs too many clothes and too comfortable a car, an empty head to fill with political nonsense, and a source of revenue for the countless companies with a product.

So, what are they really saying when they market?

Marketers appeal to emotion first.  The images are always happy or imperative.  Have you seen a commercial for any prescription drug and happened to listen to the side effects?  It’s a strange juxtaposition indeed to have a happy couple dancing down a beach in some tropical paradise while a subdued announcer’s voice tells you the myriad ways you’ll die if you take this medication.  Marketers know the happy couple is visual and the verbal portion will go unnoticed.

What they say when they say “BUY!” is simple.  They say that the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) of not having their product can be alleviated simply by owning it.  Once you do, you’ll be happy.  Microsoft is king when it comes to spreading FUD about free alternatives.  Linux is more stable and can do more than Windows without the constant threat of hackers, viruses, trojans and worms, yet how many of you use it?  Is it because someone told you that Linux is free, therefore inferior?  What about the rumor that it’s hard to learn?  You won’t be able to run your favorite software…  All hooey.  Since you never investigated for yourself, you bought the FUD.  Microsoft has gone so far as to contradict itself by saying both, “Linux is based on 1960’s technology and Windows is new.” and “Linux is too new and therefore untested.”

Government, food producers, car manufacturers, religions and even your close friends will sell the FUD on a daily basis just to keep you from straying from the consumerist path.  Are you listening?  This is the truth.  Every message you receive from any media outlet is a scientifically formulated assault against your inhibitions.

Ask yourself a few questions.  Do you act based on fear of consequences, or on hope of future outcomes?  Sadly, the future is not on most people’s minds.  How many of the thoughts you think, when they result in an emotional response, are actually your own?  If you sit and think about it, you’ll find that most of the impassioned speeches you give are based on FUD or some other clever marketing tactic, not your own reasoned thought.

Your homework is the following:

  • Watch the film “Supersize Me” by Morgan Spurlock.  Tell us your impressions.
  • Watch the film “The Future of Food” and tell us your impressions.
  • Watch the film “The Corporation” and again, tell us your impression.

What were they selling with each film?  Was it FUD or hope?  If these films, whose intent is to shake up the status quo, used any FUD, why?

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