PROPOGANDA (written May 18th 2003)

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Is a way of presenting information that while intrinsically may be true, though in some cases not, is presented in such a way as to sway the audience’s opinions as to a certain topic. All information, to an extent, is filtered through in this way, though some more than others.
To sway a person’s opinion a piece of propaganda has to make contact with them on a deep psychological level, and appeal to one or more of basic senses, these usually relate to the fear, power, ethics, or trendiness constituted in a topic, or, equally the lack of some of these elements. It has to be very definite and make a perceived (even if not real) sense on an intellectual level for people to agree with it, otherwise, as in the case of vast numbers of people protesting against the war, people will not see the sense and will not swallow the propaganda.

In the situation with the Second Gulf War, of course in the west we were constantly fed, by our governments, information, and dis-information to convince us as to why a war was needed – this being that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, that he is connected with Al Queda, that he is brutal to his citizens, and that he defied American will.
While I don’t think that anyone would argue as to the fact he treated his citizens badly and that he defied America, there was no proof of the weapons or terrorist connections, which is why people began to question the war, this also became more heated as our governments in the UK and USA did not listen to the fact that before the war the majority of public opinion was against the war – democratically this should have been taken deeply into account. This also led people to question therefore was it actually okay for Saddam to defy America.

The governments with their propaganda used it to try to frighten us through fear of attack and a feeling of powerlessness against terrorists, and a moral stand that “the West is right”, as well as the moral plan to rescue Saddams citizens from his oppression, to persuade people to support war, and when war started they made people who didn’t support the war feel like they were traitors to our troops, and gave the anti war movement this image.

The anti war people also used fear as a propaganda element – fear that the war would spread, that terrorism would increase, they told us that “the people have the power”, that it is wrong for one country to try to lord it like America was doing, and that there would be massive civilian deaths. One result of the anti war movement is that in popular imagery now; George Bush jr is also often depicted as a dictator.

People will always have their individual opinions, but ones out look on life is always formed by the information that you receive about the world, and propaganda is about the manipulation of information