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The Effectiveness Of Negative Political Propaganda

1310 words - 5 pages

Propaganda is one of the most widely used and effective political tactics. It gives its user the ability to move people to action in both positive and negative ways, by either bringing praise or shame to a selected person or idea. Propaganda is used to “sell” a candidate or a belief to the public, whether by ruining the opponent’s chances of victory, or by falsely advertising an idea of their own as better than one of their opponents. Negative propaganda can be used to defame the opposition and place uncertainty around their vote. It can this type of advertisement is timeless and has been used ever since the very first government was established. Negative propaganda is one of the most effective political tactics because it warps the public’s ideas by using scandal, lies, or fear.
Much propaganda is aimed at belittling opponents, making them seem untrustworthy or idiotic. Name-calling is a tactic that gets the point across fast and can have a detrimental effect to the receiving side. One can see politicians of every race and gender being called “stupid”, “incompetent”, and other more colorful names. Edwin Diamond and Stephen Bates wrote, “Name-calling and invective are themselves nothing new in American political life. Washington was called a "Whore Master" and would-be-monarch; Jefferson a coward and atheist; Lincoln, a "rail-splitting baboon." Franklin O. Roosevelt, Jr., as a surrogate for John Kennedy in the West Virginia primary in 1960, declared Hubert Humphrey was a draft dodger.” (Diamond 327). This shows not only a wide variety of slander, but also that name-calling has always been a part of politics, even in the very first United States presidential election. In the 2010 presidential election, Sarah Palin, who was running for Vice President, was called a “Dumb tw*t” by Bill Maher on his show, “Real Time with Bill Maher”. If a candidate is being ridiculed so extremely, it is not surprising when the public gains negative opinions of them. Palin was often called “unintelligent” or “inept”, and, even though it was not the reason she lost the election, these instances did hold a large influence over the outcome; being McCain and Palin losing to Obama and Biden. From these examples, one can see that name-calling is used very effectively in politics by giving a voter a negative impression of the candidate.
Verbal slander is not the only effective form of propaganda. Posters, artwork, and books all have the potential to include false advertising. Many pieces of art seen every day have some sort of political propaganda or double meaning involved. During the communist reign in Russia, “One of the Soviet Union’s strongest recurring images was the hammer and sickle…which was designed to represent a uniting of factory and farm workers, and towns and country” (Gifford 45). The statue created to represent this message, called, Worker and Peasant Looking into the Glorious Communist Future, was used to create a false impression of communism being a...

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