What Was One Purpose of Propaganda?


Quick Answer

The primary purpose of all propaganda is to convince the public or a segment of the public to accept the message of the propaganda distributor without question. This message might support a war, claim that one race is superior or insist that a political opponent is evil or unqualified.

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Full Answer

The use of propaganda dates back to at least ancient Egypt and Ramesses II's successful campaign proving he "won" a battle against the Hittites. In modern times, it's been used to drum up support for countries during both world wars and every modern war since at least Napoleon's time, most often by demonizing the enemy.

Advertisers use a broad range of propaganda. For instance, they use testimonials and folksy approaches to convince potential customers that their products are valuable and useful. On product packaging, graphic bursts emblazoned with "New!" or "Organic" try to convince consumers that certain items are better or worth more than competing items. Politicians are perhaps the most prolific users of propaganda when running for office or working to support a point of view. From name-calling and demonizing their opponents to only telling partial truths, the entire repertoire of propaganda techniques can easily be seen in the political bag of tricks.

Propaganda often uses logical fallacies as techniques. For example, name-calling is a clear ad hominem attack, and the either/or fallacy, in which the propagandist insists there's no middle ground in an argument, is commonly used to polarize political debate.

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