The Media And The Use Of Propaganda In War

1496 words - 6 pages

In researching the existing literature pertaining to the issue of the media and propaganda, there must first be proper definitions for the terms 'propaganda' and 'media' in the context of politics and war. Next follows an analysis of the different articles and works already undertaken on the subject of the media's role (as a propaganda tool) and the effectiveness of this specific form of propaganda. Thereby also concerns several pending questions regarding the different human perspectives of propaganda that is spread by the media. Lastly, there is the review of literature in relation to propaganda as a whole.Definitions of the media and propagandaIn identifying the topic scope, the term 'media' refers to the plural of the word 'medium' (Pearsall 1999). In this context, the 'media' is defined as 'the main means of mass communication in forms of television, newspapers and the radio.' (1999: 884).Petley states, that the term 'propaganda' refers to 'the deliberate use of newspapers, television and other media to influence people's attitudes (2000:26). Petley also states that propaganda is '[used] often [by] employing lies and distortion'. Pratkanis and Aronson share similar views on Petley's statement, suggesting the idea of propaganda being carried out 'through manipulation of symbols and of our most basic human emotions' (1992:13).Literature on the media and propagandaIn researching existing works regarding the use of the media to spread propaganda in war, we have seen the different perspectives of the authors. Dietz suggests that propaganda is a literary war tool, serving similar purposes as the Nazi's arsenal of weapons (1934: 299). However, Dietz defines propaganda as '[a way] to communicate the nature and content' to the people 'in the most simple and understandable way'. This acts as a contrast to Delwiche's material (2002), which suggests that propaganda is a manipulative tool rather than a form of communication.These contrasting views link to the role of the media as discussed by Petley (2000:26). As we see, there are two different perspectives regarding the role of the media and propaganda--one which sees the media and propaganda as a useful communicative tool; the other which sees the media and propaganda as a form of mass indoctrination. Noting that Dietz was a Nazi German and that Delwiche is a historian, we can question the credibility of both sources. How reliable would Dietz's material be? It is ironical that Dietz was a propagandist too. Delwiche, on the other hand, is a propaganda analyst. In all, both materials are useful and thus, will all be utilized in preparing the research paper.Existing material on political war propagandaPropaganda comes in various forms. In the case of the proponents of propaganda, their advantages were that the targeting of audiences could apply every citizen, through media such as posters and flyers, radio shows, and film. Petley states that propaganda took on the 'negative connotations' mainly in the...

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