NPR: On the Media – Punishing Propagandists

Propaganda is best defined as media content, in particular ads, designed to support one group over another, usually political groups or philosophies.

This podcast treats the subject of new legislature on propaganda, particularly in political campaigns.

The main themes are new legislature on propaganda, some key propaganda practices, and the blatant inaccuracies featured in propaganda, usually based on faulty statistics that were not carefully verified.

Propaganda is often the stuff of political campaigns, and most people know how to recognize it and take it with a sizeable grain of salt, if it is even credible at all. Some propaganda takes on no burden of proof or efforts to be verified at all, often spouting off misinformation and falsehoods as if they were fact. This is now simply to be expected; when we hear political ads, there is not much expectation of honesty or integrity, and so when a piece of propaganda is accurate, there is no way to know for sure without extensive independent research.

Given the lack of predisposition that most have for doing said research, this practice has caused a sort of “boy crying wolf” effect, so that we now rarely believe the propaganda-laden media at all, at least fully. There are those who buy anything they hear, but I think as a people we are becoming skeptical of everything, even things that perhaps should be given a more serious ear.

Imagine if the nation’s propaganda were held to honesty. How would it affect you? Would it even be possible to verify?

I see a great potential for good in honesty. We would feel a greater trust for our leaders; whereas now their promises are all vain and empty, we would potentially feel that we could count on any promises made to be completed, so that rather than choosing the prettier words, we could choose the political package that most appealed to us.

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