The term “propaganda” comes from Latin. Propaganda is always biased. It is a way of distributing information or conveying a message where the message is designed in such a way to make people feel in a certain way. It is a particular kind of communication strategy that circulates specific needs and desires. It is basically how you show something in a way that people start believing it. There are many researches that have been done on propaganda. It is not so important whether the information is true or false or if the cause is just or not — it is all propaganda. Most of the time, the information is confusing, biased and unfair. Because of this, propaganda is likely to make arguments last longer, and make it more problematic to resolve. It can appear as posters, television ads, and radio broadcasts. Propaganda is somewhat like advertising because it uses mass media to spread ideas. However on the other hand advertising is all about selling a product while propaganda is about the ideas and thoughts.
Propaganda theory states how propaganda functions in a mass media. The model attempts to see how the public is influenced, and how the social, monetary, political frames of mind are formed of individuals through propaganda. The main aim of propagandists is to change an individual’s perception in which he/she act and to leave them accepting that those activities are deliberate, that this behaviour and thinking are their own. The influence of propaganda is so strong that the margins are blurred and we do not know whether it is our own thinking or someone else’s.
Propaganda is often used in politics. This is because the politicians rely upon the votes of the public so they make sure to change individual’s perspectives. The usually use such tactics like making up false statements about their opponents to make themselves look great and other individual look bad. For example when we talk about supporting a specific political party, our thinking is developed in such a way that we have made a certain thought. Also, Hitler had made a successful propaganda against the Jews. He used to say that the Germans are the superior ones while the Jews are like animals. In one of the films of Fritz Hippler, Jews were shown disfigured and negatively portrayed whereas Germans are shown as beautiful people with brown hair and coloured eyes. All experiments also were used to be done on Jews without giving them anesthesia because they thought they were still evolving.
The word propaganda is often used in a negative sense, especially for politicians who make false claims to get elected or spread rumors to get their way. In fact, any campaign that is used to persuade can be called propaganda. The government produces many kinds of propaganda. Any kind of public service announcements about healthy living can be considered propaganda. Moreover, propaganda is used to brutalize and create hatred towards an opponent in the war by making false picture in front of the fighters and residents.
Types of Propaganda
There are three main types of propaganda that are:
- White Propaganda: it originates from a source that is distinguished effectively, and the information in the message will in general be accurate. It is generally, honest and straight. It depends on truth with authentic components, despite the fact that it does not tell every bit of relevant information. It does not hide its origin. In spite of the fact that what audience members hear is sensibly near reality, it is displayed in a way that tries to persuade the audience that the sender is the ‘hero’ with the best thoughts and political belief system.’ It is basically to distract the attention from risky events, that the deliberate defeat of possibly damaging information and thoughts are joined with deliberate promotion of positive information. For example, the government has increased the taxes but it claims the long-term benefits of it.
- Black Propaganda: it is the intentional and planned spreading of lies. It is basically the absolute lies where one cannot even find the origin of it. It just converts the real thing into a lie. At times the source is hidden or recognized to a false power and spread deceits, fabrications and deceptions. Black propaganda refers to being dishonest and the origin is hidden or fabricated. The main characteristic of this type of propaganda is that the individuals do not know that someone is affecting them, and do not realize that they are being pushed in a specific way. Black propaganda depends on the enthusiasm of the receiver to accept the trustworthiness of the source. For example, Bengal war happened and there was so much hatred between Pakistanis and Bengalis that no one still knows why was this so. It is very hard to find its origin. Another example is 9/11, no one still knows the origin of it. Some say it was the Jews who did it, some say Talibans were behind this and some say Americans. This is a perfect example of Black propaganda where there are only lies and no one can get to the origin of it. Also stereotyping a race by saying “Muslims are Terrorists.” The whole race cannot be terrorists.
- Gray Propaganda: it is information whose origin is always of questionable and accuracy is unsure. There is no clear sign of the origin. Characterized by its absence of clear source, the data contained in Gray Propaganda does not really need to be incorrect; it could be valid or false. Regular practice for Gray Propagandists is to publish an article in a magazine, specifying no source.
Techniques of Propaganda
- Name Calling: This type of propaganda is done by the usage of derogatory phrases to build negative opinion about someone. A title is created for any person, brand or organization and is made common through repetition. The aim is to create disliking of a group of people with the help of negative labels and verbal attacking thereby creating distrust towards their subject.
Example: There are certain brands that have rivalries with other companies who tend to follow the technique of name calling which has a strong impact on public preferences. For some its offensive, some find it funny. Another popular example in politics for name calling is of Osama Bin Laden, who is called terrorist in the entire world and along with him Pakistan is also referred as terrorist country.
- Glittering Generalities: This propaganda uses techniques with positive connotations, including catchy phrases, slogans which escalate and amplify quickly it has to be designed in a way which can be accepted by the people without any proof or questions. The technique also consists of vague statements and emotional appeal so people don’t look for concrete reasons.
Example: Starbucks: ‘The best coffee for the best you’ is trying to sell the coffee by telling the consumers that since they are best so they deserve to have best coffee. The ad is glittering because they are claiming they offer the best coffee and there is no one like them.
- Transfer: This type of propaganda is where the qualities of a person or a product are projected to an object or other things. It depends on the propagandist whether an idea is to be linked with something positive to gain popularity or negative to demote it. In the propaganda either a celebrity or a politician is endorsed in order to promote one’s message.
Example: During the times of World Cup, or T20 cricket matches Pepsi ads have patriotic songs like ‘Josh e Junoon or Dil Dil Pakistan’ and the Pakistani flag waving in the background. Upon seeing the flag and listening to the songs you feel a sense of patriotism and the greatness of the flag. Therefore the Pepsi bottle subconsciously makes you think that it is as awesome as the Pakistani flag. You see what happened there? The ad company purposely displayed the Pakistani flag and the song with their product to manipulate you. This is an ad technique called transfer.
- Testimonial: It is one the most favored propaganda techniques as it includes celebrity endorsement to promote a particular idea. Famous person or a celebrity vouches for something viewers generally take the credibility; this therefore boosts the trust and belief of the consumer towards the product. The popularity of the person recommending the product or the idea helps in enhancing of the sales without addressing about the facts of the products. The technique not only involves celebrity but also the experts like doctors or engineers.
Example: Lux soap is one of the leading brands of soaps, because they have been endorsing celebrities like Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan and Saba Qamar the list goes on and people tend to use Lux soap a lot. However one of the laboratories researched claimed that using Lux soap can make your skin dry and rough. Yet, this technique not always uses celebrities. At times, the propaganda uses some specialists like doctors or dentists etc. The idea behind it is that when experts are recommending people would trust them. At times, a few brands may likewise use figures like specialists and designers for promoting their brands. For example Sensodyne toothpaste ad shows a doctor/ dentist in which she is suggesting to use this toothpaste for sensitivity in teeth.
- Plain Folks: This technique is about where ordinary people promote products and ideas. The goal is to make audience believe that the product, service or the idea is for everyone. This idea is used by both the advertisers and the politicians; the public believes it more because the ideas are reasonable for the general public as they are attracted on the basis of their common values.
Example: Shaukat Khanum Hospital- Cancer awareness ad campaigns: The inclusion of women and children is one of the easiest ways to attack people emotionally and drag their attention. Therefore, Shaukat Khanum Hospital endorses small children and helpless women suffering from cancer in order to collect donations and Zakat.
- Bandwagon: This technique about the psychological influence and how people build opinions or choose sides not according to their beliefs and values but instead what the general public believes in or in other words whatever the trend is. It’s all about persuading the target audience to follow a certain trend or take action and to create a desire and urge to become the part of a crowd. Also at times they offer low evidence or lie about the amount of support they have.
Example: Oral B toothpaste: The ad claimed, “Australia, you’ve made the switch.’ It states that the Australians who are smart have realized the superior benefits of Oral B toothpaste, therefore switching from the brands they were loyal to, previously.
- Card Stacking: The hidden agenda behind this technique is to fool the target audience by omitting certain facts. It is the downplaying of any possible negatives or side-effects. In addition to, it is manipulating information so that one item looks better than the other. Also to make people realize that if they chose the other side they will have to face consequences in terms of loss.
Example: Nestle company introduced a baby formula in South Africa. People were convinced that the baby formula was better than the mother feed however Nestle failed failed to realize that due to poor water conditions they were unable to feed the babies in clean water, which resulted in death of infants. It is pretty unethical to make innocent people believe that powder milk consisted more nutrients than the mother’s milk. However this resulted in the death of infants.
Analysis: The USA and its allies decided to enter Iraq in 2003 with military power so as to coup/ expel Saddam Hussein’s rule of dictatorship. The main argument according to George Bush’s speech for invading Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s ownership of weapons of mass destruction and the access to them. Actually the fact was that Saddam Hussein’s government did not own weapons of mass destruction. As indicated by Duelfer et al. 2004: 1, Saddam wanted to end sanctions while safeguarding the capacity to reconstitute his weapons (WMD) when sanctions were lifted.’ Furthermore, it was stated that the previous regime had no formal composed plan for the renewal of WMD after sanctions. Nor was there a recognizable gathering of WMD approach creators or organizers separate from Saddam. Rather, his lieutenants comprehended WMD renewal was his objective.
In the USA, President George W. Bush needed to defend on numerous events the verdict to assault Iraq. Many supported him while others disagreed. For defending his decision George W. Bush frequently used political speeches, as a method for displaying his thoughts and requesting support. Moreover, government officials and politicians will in general convince individuals into supporting their political activities, choices, apparently with the guide of propaganda.
The purpose of this research paper is to evaluate the language in George W. Bush’s political discourse, dated 19 March 2003, so as to uncover various components of propaganda, therefore the selection of expressions, words utilized.
In this article, Propaganda is explained in detailed. As it is already explained above, it is basically a word that can be related with numerous authoritarian systems, such like Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It may likewise be related with the circumstance after the World War II, enduring till 1989, the alleged ‘Cold War’. According to Compton’s Encyclopedia & Fact-Index definition (1992:609), propaganda is ‘a message that is expected basically to serve the interests of the person who is sending the message. It might likewise be characterized as the spreading of information so as to impact general public and to control other individuals’ trust.’
On the contrary, according to Steuter and Wills (2008: 18), propaganda is not about spreading information but collecting reactions and emotions. In politics, propaganda is viewed as “the instrument by which the governments induce the general population.” As should be obvious from the above mentioned, propaganda is viewed as a message or as a procedure.
According to Jowett and O’Donnell 2012:3), the purpose of propaganda is to “convey a message or a thought to the public with a related objective.” For example, some government official trying to make an atmosphere of protection and safety, despite the fact that the war is about to happen, or some company selling its product and challenging its competitor. When George W. Bush delivered his speech on Operation Iraqi Freedom, he deceptively also had this belief to the public with a related objective.
Examples of Propaganda in George Bush’s Speech
The ideology and purpose of the propaganda campaign: the ideology in George W. Bush’s speech can be decided by examining the speech to check if there are previous fights, future goals or references to esteem framework. He clarified in the start of his speech the explanation of attacking Iraq. Bush gives a recommendation that Saddam Hussein is to some degree a danger that may release war. Moreover, Bush reinforced his case by saying that: “the allies and people of US would not live helpless now in such a regime that compromises the peacetime with weapons of murder. We will meet the threat with our navy, army and air force.” George Bush exposed the main reason in his political speech, to defend the verdicts to attack Iraq. As per Jowett and O’Donnell (2012: 292) ‘the motivation behind propaganda is to accomplish approval of the propagandist’s ideology by the individuals’.
The context in which propaganda occurs: the speech was delivered on March 19, 2003, in which George W. Bush mentioned about the risk for the USA and the reason for attacking and occupying Iraq. USA and its allies took the decision to enter Iraq with military force. Basically the reason for entering in Iraq was that USA was at risk brought about by Saddam Hussein’s ownership of the weapons of mass destruction. In this setting he gave his speech, announcing the reasons of interfering in Iraq, as well as mentioning the risk for the USA.
The target audience: it the fellow citizens/ residents. He mentioned by saying that his fellow citizens must defend the world from the serious threat and that these dangers and threats to the nation will overcome. He guaranteed that they will acknowledge no result but success. As to George W. Bush’s speech where the interference in Iraq was justified, he addressed the entire American nation.
Special techniques to maximize effect: it is by all accounts essential to see what George really said in his speech. His speech is examined with the one of four special techniques to maximize effect i.e. “group norm.” He mentioned that he has faith in qualities and standards. He explains that he has no determination in Iraq but only to protect the people from the threat. Later in the end of his speech, he promised to given them freedom and to safeguard it.
So basically all what George W. Bush has said in his speech, there is no proof for it other than his own officials. What’s more, since we realize the government was occupied with a far reaching effort of dishonesty and propaganda in the run-up to the Iraq war, there is little motivation to trust them. Saddam Hussein was considered to be in charge of assaults on the US. George had let them know again and again that it was a demonstration of self-conservation, for in the event that we didn’t attack, at that point, Saddam Hussein, who most likely had something to do with Sept. 11, 2001, would assault us with his weapons of mass destruction.
It was appealing to see that a few components of propaganda were utilized in the content. The ideology is seen, where George W. Bush calls attention to that Saddam Hussein’s system is a risk to the world with the alleged ownership of WMD. To conclude it can be said that propaganda elements were used in his speech in a broadened way. One may sensibly assume that the use of propaganda was deliberate and George knew that it could have an impact on his group of viewers.