Khin Maung Aye
The use of propaganda has come into existence during the First World War along with the advent of modern media outlets. Propaganda – spreading ideas, information or rumours for a politically motivated objective – was refined into an art. Mr Edward Filene helped establish in 1937 the Institute of Propaganda Analysis, the goal of which was to help educate the American people as well as to understand the techniques by which propaganda is spread. Filene and his fellow researchers have identified the seven techniques for the propagandists to employ in fulfilling their objectives be they political or economic, social or educational.
One technique known as name calling involves application of negative or discriminatory words. The propagandists use such words to incite people into suspicion and prejudice. The objective is to cause a general dissatisfaction for a group of people. This technique is frequently employed in ridiculing cartoons or writing.
Another technique is use of slogans or simple catchphrases. Propagandists use slogans to make generalized statements which attract their audience. Generally, such statements include the notions of love, honour, glory, peace, family values, freedom, patriotism – anything general enough to inspire pride.
Another famous technique is called transfer. A transfer links a reversed symbol with an idea that is wanted to promote. A testimonial makes an association between a respected or authoritative person and the cause. The expectation is that the respected person can impose his ideas upon other people. It is, in fact, something like an endorsement by a celebrity of a product. There is also a technique called the plain folks, the objective of which is to make the audience convinced that the spokesman is like them and shares their woes and concerns. Application of plain language and mannerisms can build trust by his followers. The sixth technique is known as bandwagon. In truth, this technique capitalizes on the human drive to be part of a crowd, a member of the winning team. The propagandists, creating the illusion that there exists the widespread support, expect those sitting on the fence to join the cause. Last but not the least, the card stacking technique involves mere use of those facts that support their ideas. By stacking cards against the truth, the propagandists can control the beliefs of their audience.