- Total propaganda is a phenomenon which takes place when all the
media act together and bring about a complete change in perspective
of the weltanschauung (paradigm) of the society. Almost no one
disagrees with the belief. In fact, few people are even aware that
they have the belief. One way to detect whether the phenomenon is total propaganda is to observe how dissenters are treated. There will always be a few people who won't go along. At a minimum they will be mocked and ridiculed. Hatred toward dissenters is often encouraged. They might get fired or have their businesses targeted. Laws might be passed to try to censor them. In extreme cases they might be jailed or even executed. (So far, people aren't executed for their beliefs in the U.S., but this happens elsewhere.)
- It must be pointed out that the claim being made is not always false. Rather, it is the means of arriving at the conclusion that is wrong. Rather than using reason, methods of manipulation are used.
- A few examples:
- Smoking is bad.
- The "green movement." Notice how every product is sold as being green in some way, whether it actually is or not.
- Global warming.
- Vertical propaganda is that which comes directly from the source
to the target audience. It is analogous to lightning striking the
- Examples are any advertisement, a campaign speech given
by the candidate, press releases from political action groups.
- Horizontal propaganda takes place when the vertical propaganda
has taken hold among a few members of the target audience. It
then spreads among the group, either by word of mouth or by example.
It is analogous to a fire spreading from the point of the lightning
strike. This is the bandwagon effect.
- Both vertical and horizontal propaganda are needed for the propaganda
to be effective.
Propaganda also serves to reinforce beliefs. For instance, people
who listen to Rush Limbaugh are mostly those who already agree
with his perspective. His function is to help maintain and strengthen
the beliefs of the converted.