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Propaganda can effectively be used as a means of enforcing and forging conformity by influencing the perception and behaviors of the public. In our contemporary society, propaganda is not only still being used in the authoritarian societies but is sometimes applied by the media advertisements to influence the target customers into buying particular products. In the past, propaganda was normally used to influence the beliefs and opinions of the society particularly on the issue of religion (Herman and Chomsky, 1994).
The history of large-scale use of propaganda dates back to the periods during the World War II when many countries such as Germany began to use institutionalized propaganda as a way of enforcing or moving individuals from conforming behaviors. In this regard, the governments employed the use of propaganda to convince their citizens to conform to their decisions and policies through consensus. Consequently, political propaganda has gradually emerged and is increasingly used by governments in their attempts to either encourage or discourage particular forms of behaviors among their citizens. For example, political propaganda has sometimes been used to discourage people from smoking or engaging on some anti social behaviors. Such kinds of propaganda may take the form of Television and Radio broadcasts, posters, billboards as well as other communication media (Delwiche, 2003). On the other hand, the contemporary use of propaganda to achieve conformity and consensus include the persuasion of the public through media advertisements, as well as other forms of media manipulations that are often designed to convince the society into conforming to a particular pattern of behavior. Modern propaganda is used in virtually all sectors from bogs to public relations and marketing companies.
In the business world, propaganda is itself a booming business that is significantly important for both the political and corporate individuals. This is particularly with regard to the fact that the contemporary society is readily accessible to a wide range of communication means and therefore the society can easily be lured to conform through the persuasive techniques of the media rather than through the use of force. Generally propaganda has increasingly become an important component of the mass consciousness and as well as a means of manipulating the mode of behavior and thought. In other cases, the use of propaganda has been largely responsible for the overwhelming support that some of the questionable government policies have given by their citizens. With regard to advertisement propaganda, the traditional commercial adverts have increasingly developed to include some propaganda that is usually disguised as real news and advertisements. Generally, advertisement propagandas often take of subjective articles intended to mislead and persuade the public to conformity as opposed to informing the target audience.
Additionally Propaganda can be used to change or influence the way people comprehend a particular situation or issue in order to make their actions and expectations conform in a particular way. In this context, propaganda can sometimes take the form of a censorship where by instead of occupying the minds of people with misleading information, the information regarding the opposite side of view can be prevented from reaching the target individuals. This is a form of using confusion and deception as opposed to persuasion.
The way propaganda works is simple to persuade and convince the audience by putting a particular kind of idea on their minds and make them conform to a given belief or perception. In this regard, the audience may be sometimes persuaded to take one side of the argument and be convinced that it is the truth. Propagandists have also been known to employ a number of techniques in their attempts to change the conforming behaviors of particular groups of people.
According to Jowett and O'Donnell (1992), one of the most commonly used propaganda method is the name calling technique. In this context, the propagandist may also seek to divert attention of the people by criticizing the other side of the story while at the same time tactfully avoiding some questions. For example name-calling involve the use of negative branding and labels such as terrorists, radicals among others. Another common propaganda technique is known as bandwagon. This is usually a situation where the people are persuaded to conform to a particular view by presenting to them the best side of a particular issue. In the event where the information regarding the opposite side of view is prevented from reaching the target individuals, propagandists can only present the details as well as the information that may positively change the public opinion and the bad side of the story is completely left out. This is generally known as card stacking and it is a popular technique that is commonly employed in the political advertisements and campaigns.
In conclusion, propaganda is an important tool that is effectively used lure people into conforming to particular beliefs or lines of thought through persuasive techniques of the media rather than through the use of force. Sometimes however, propagandists may only present the details that may positively change the public opinion and the bad side of the story is completely left out.