Propaganda Techniques

Propaganda Techniques

Organized techniques of propaganda (a.k.a. weaponized deception) have been successfully applied in politics and war since at least World War One - and probably since the dawn of war.  Although few people understand propaganda today, books on propaganda and were best sellers in the 1920's.  Propaganda is so powerful it was used to trick the educated and egalitarian people of Germany into a disastrous Second World War some 20 years later after their disastrous participation in the First World War. 

Today, few people recognize the techniques of propaganda, the fact that they are almost constantly immersed in propaganda, or that the reason that others "shun" them etc. stems from the well known behavior of humans when trapped in propaganda-manufactured pseudo-environments.


AD HOMINEM: Personal attack.

AD NAUSEAM: Regurgitate until accepted.

AGENDA SETTING: Statements "suck all the oxygen" out of news and debate.

APPEAL TO AUTHORITY: [Leader name] likes it, you do too.

APPEAL TO FEAR: Be afraid, be very afraid.

APPEAL TO PREJUDICE: Opponents are [prejudicial statement].

APPEAL TO PRIDE: You are better than they are.

ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE: The flying object is unidentified so it must be from another galaxy. 

BANDWAGON: Everybody's doing it so it's good.

BEGGING THE QUESTION: Brawndo has electrolytes

BIG LIE: "If you tell a big lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed."

BLIND I: Cheering actions loathed if taken by opponents.

BROKEN RECORD: Eternally repeat a lie and it eventually becomes accepted as truth.

CHERRY PICKING: Hype tiny supporting evidence, ignore massive opposing evidence.


CRISIS MANIPULATION: Spectacular politics buries damaging facts.

CULT OF PERSONALITY: Leader accepted/portrayed as religious figure.

DECEPTION: Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie (foundation of most propaganda techniques).

DICTAT: Leader said it, therefore it is true (even if obviously false).

DISINFORMATION: Incorrect information is intentionaly disseminated (see muddy the water).

DISTRACTION: Change the subject.

DOOR IN THE FACE: Slight reduction in massively inflated price achieves sale.

EUPHEMISM: Friendly sounding terms blunt ugly facts. "Imprisoning opponents is a kindness."

EUPHORIA: "We are winning!" (whether winning or not).

EXAGGERATION: "No one has ever been more successful than me."

FALLACY OF COMPOSITION: Since one [person type] does it, all persons of that type do it.

FALSE COMPARISON: Guns are like hammers.

FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, AND DOUBT: Support [dictator name] or things will go badly.

FLAG WAVING: Appeal to patriotism.

FOOT IN THE DOOR: Give a tiny gift, expect lifetime loyalty.

GASLIGHTING: Calculated deception causes targets to doubt their perceptions.

GISH GALLOP: Rapidly bombarding with complex ideas.

GLITTERING GENERALITIES: Enthralling statements with no actual meaning.

GUILT BY ASSOCIATION: Cab driver seen as guilty as murderer.

HALF TRUTH: The sky is not blue - at night.

INTENTIONAL VAGUENESS: Broad statement allows audience to hear what they want to hear.

LABELING: Dividing people against themselves (left/right, liberal/conservative).

LOADED LANGUAGE: WTC attack site called "ground zero" (term describes site of a nuclear detonation).

LOVE BOMBING: Provide new family, destroy real family.

MANIPULATING THE NEWS: Relentless whining about reporting results in skewed future coverage to reduce complaints.

MISINFORMATION: Incorect information is unintentinoally repeated witout intnetnion to deceive. 

MILIEU CONTROL: Social environment creates control (see love bombing, flag waving, pseudo-environment).

MINIMIZATION: Enemy agents are harmless.

MUDDY THE WATER: War is peace (see deception, disinformation, gaslighting, etc.).

NAME CALLING: My opponent is a [dirty name].

NON-SEQUITUR: "Some lies are so false they are true."

OBFUSCATION: Making the simple complex.

OPERANT CONDITIONING: Programmed imitation of leaders.

OVERSIMPLIFICATION: There is no alternative to war.

PLAIN FOLKS: Join us common people.

PROJECTION: Accusing opponent of crime you are committing.

PSEUDO-ENVIRONMENT: Situation in which questioning shared incorrect beliefs results in loss of family, friends jobs, etc.

QUOTES OUT OF CONTEXT: "My opponent says I lie" becomes "I lie."

RATIONALIZATION: "We had to kill the dissidents to save others."

RED HERRING: Claiming compelling but unrelated "shiny object" invalidates facts.

SCAPEGOATING: Assigning blame rather than addressing facts, accepting responsibility, or seeking solutions.

SLOGANS: "Bumper sticker" arguments, "Stop plate tectonics."

SMEAR: Attacking opponents' character (see labeling).

STEREOTYPING: They are [stereotyped group], therefore they all do [stereotype].

STRAW MAN: Creating a false premise then attacking it.

TESTIMONIAL: Celebrity support.

THIRD PARTY: Partisan plays independent.

THOUGHT TERMINATING CLICHE: She may be correct, but common sense ain't common.

TONE ATTACK: Ignore facts, attack opponent's delivery.

VICE WORDS: Unkind incorrect words, "demonic" enemies.

VIRTUE WORDS: Kind incorrect words, "angelic" allies.

WHATABOUTISM: Ignore facts, charge opponent with hypocrisy.