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Propaganda

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Propaganda

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:55 pm

• propaganda •


Pronunciation: pra-pê-gæn-dê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. An organization or movement for the propagation of a particular set of ideas, doctrines, or practices. 2. The information disseminated by such an organization, promoting a particular point of view.

Notes: This word has fallen into disuse by the media in recent years, but not because this kind of biased information has disappeared. It is alive and well in advertising and politics. The adjective for this noun is propagandistic, and the personal noun is propagandist. We even have a verb: propagandize.

In Play: You'll never hear anyone say anything like this: "Here, take this brochure; it is just a bit of propaganda for my new, improved snake oil." But that is exactly what advertising is: biased information about a product put out by the company selling it. You might hear something like this: "Don't listen to a thing that old propagandist tells you: all he says about that political party he belongs to is just propaganda."

Word History: Today's word is the feminine gerundive of Latin propagare "to propagate". It came to prominence in the title Congregatio de propaganda fide "Congregation for propagating the faith" (1623). This title belonged to a now obsolete committee of cardinals responsible for foreign missions, so originally, propaganda carried no pejorative baggage. The pejorative sense crept in with the response to the books and pamphlets of Fascism, Socialism, and Communism in the 1920s and 1930s. Latin propagare comprises pro- "before, in front of" + pag- "to fix", an inflectional form of pango "to fasten, drive in (a stake)". The original concept was apparently fixing the information before the person you wish to convince. (Thank you, Jackie Strauss, for reminding us of this Good if now unsavory Word.)
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Re: Propaganda

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:52 pm

My high school civics text defined propaganda as information or ideas intended to influence people. Obviously it was hard to forget that alliteration.
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Re: Propaganda

Postby bamaboy56 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:25 pm

I've always thought of propaganda as a mild form of brainwashing, or at least a stronger form of trying to influence others. Aren't history writers practicing a form of propaganda? History is usually told by the victors.
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Re: Propaganda

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:37 pm

So is any form of advertising and political campaigning.
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Re: Propaganda

Postby Slava » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:12 pm

bamaboy56 wrote:I've always thought of propaganda as a mild form of brainwashing, or at least a stronger form of trying to influence others. Aren't history writers practicing a form of propaganda? History is usually told by the victors.

This is pretty much what I planned to say. I'd go a bit further and say propaganda is what the recipients call it. The providers call it enlightenment or information.
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Re: Propaganda

Postby Slava » Wed May 07, 2014 7:35 pm

Here's a nice paragraph from Michelle Berdy's column in The Moscow Times:

Most of the time, the word has a negative connotation in Russian. In fact, in a dictionary of political terminology, the word is defined in part like this: "Пропагандой" назывались попытки тоталитарных режимов полностью подчинить науку и вообще всякое знание интересам государственной политики ("Propaganda" was the term used to describe attempts by totalitarian regimes to completely subordinate science and any other knowledge to the interests of state policy).

Kind of sounds familiar, no?

Here's the whole piece: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/a ... 99793.html
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Re: Propaganda

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed May 07, 2014 10:45 pm

The difference between propaganda and advertising is the political slant of propaganda. Otherwise both propaganda and advertising are attempts to convince people to buy what you're selling. You naturally show your product in its most positive light.
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