Propaganda as Effective Arms in Information War

Jowett and O’Donnell (2006) defined propaganda as a form of communication that attempts to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of a propagandist (p. 1). The full Jowett and O’Donnell’s definition of propaganda is that it 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. In propaganda, elements of informative and persuasive communication are combined and this characteristic distinguishes propaganda as a specific class of communication (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 1). In the most neutral sense, propaganda means to disseminate or promote ideas (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 2). In Latin, it only means to propagate or to sow (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 2). However, the propaganda of the Roman Catholic Church in opposing the spread of Protestantism resulted to the loss of neutrality in the word propaganda and the word has acquired a pejorative meaning (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 2). The other terms which are considered synonyms for propaganda are lies, distortion, deceit, manipulation, mind control, psychological warfare, brainwashing, and palaver (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 2-3). In addition, in the early 21st century and even earlier, the terms that imply propaganda included spin and news management (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 3). Spin is associated with the manipulation of political information while news management covers even non-political matters (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 3). Propaganda is often used as the catch-all term for all suspicious rhetoric (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 3). It is also the description for organized persuasion by large organizations employing poor, non-existent, or flawed logic (Jowett amp. O’Donnell, 2006, p. 3). According to Standler (2005), the tools employed by propaganda includes name-calling, glittering generalities, transfers, testimonial, plain folks, card stacking, band-wagon, an insistence of only a binary choice, and pejorative labels. These tools, however, works on the mind.

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