War, Media, And Propaganda : A Global Perspective

3135 words - 13 pages

Theoretically speaking, a community united under one common goal is unstoppable. If everyone in the United States was on the same wavelength of thought, we would be able to triumph over anything that stood in our way. If only we could truly be United States and stand under one common goal. Perhaps the government should strive for that through advertisement on every television set, radio station, and magazine in the nation. Take a step back. Does the premise for which the advertisement would be published not sound like fascism? We are constantly being bombarded by extremely biased advertisement. #1 Recommended by Dentists, this is the product you should buy, This product will you make you irresistible to women; all of these statements are created and promoted by their private corporations, but what happens when a government advertises something more than a product? What happens when a government promotes a central idea in order to gain support? As stated by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Propaganda is “the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.” We can easily point out examples. During World War II, the “When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler” poster was released promoting the idea that the nation should save gas for the war effort by car-pooling with one another. One cannot forget the iconic poster depicting Uncle Sam beckoning people to join the United States Army. Something like that could not happen today, right? Wrong. According to an article by Eric Schmitt from the New York Times published on December 3, 2005, “The military acknowledged…in a briefing for a ranking Senate Republican that news articles written by American troops had been placed as paid advertisements in the Iraqi news media and not always properly identified.” Not only are modern day governments capable of publishing propaganda, they are currently doing just that. In this paper, one will see examples of propaganda of the past, its effects on modern day society, and modern day examples of propaganda that are effecting all of us at this very moment.
Most of the memorable propaganda in the United States’ history was created during World War One and World War Two. The government went so far as to create an agency to control the content and imagery of these posters called the Office of War Information (OWI) in June 1942 (Bird, Rubenstein). These posters were centered on different messages. According to Shoemaker, “If one picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the story a million posters can tell! With the sights and sounds of advertising today, it is hard to imagine that a single printed poster once encompassed the lifeline to all propaganda possibilities. Its benefits always played to a large audience, but particularly during the first and second World Wars, when there was compelling need to encourage patriotism and ultimately, direct the actions of men, women and children.” Shoemaker...

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