Polish propaganda boomerang
Currently, in various articles and comments to them, terms such as "propaganda" and "propagandist" are very often used. Moreover, these words are almost always used to humiliate and offend an opponent, or someone who is discussed in this article.
Almost all of us have heard such phrases as "Putin's (Soros's) propagandist", "State Department (liberal, communist, Kremlin) propaganda" and a number of others. I think that people who use the above words understand them too simplistically. They probably believe that "propaganda" is when a pro-government journalist (or just a citizen) exaggerates the merits of the government and downplays its own shortcomings. This is partly true, but I have a rhetorical and rather mundane question for all readers: how many of you always tell the truth, only the truth and nothing else? Do the spouses tell each other the only truth, do not exaggerate anything and do not diminish anything? And children to their parents and fathers to their offspring also daily cut only the truth in the face?
Is it always necessary to tell only one truth? Try asking this question to yourself and answering it. I'm not sure that you will be able to give a clear and, moreover, an honest answer.
It would be interesting to look at a person who, being among the Vikings, listening to the sagas of the skald about the exploits of their ancestors who had gone to Valhalla forever, would declare that “all this is propaganda, and the ancestors of the Vikings were not entirely heroic, and their victories were not obtained by skill, but the fact that the enemy was filled with their corpses. " I think that the fate of such a "truth-teller" would be unenviable, and life would be very short.
Let us in modern realities, as a vivid example of how differently propaganda can be perceived in very similar situations, compare the events that took place in Belarus (Belarus) after the presidential elections with the recent rallies in Poland (Poland, Polska). The organizers of women's rallies (by the way, the most massive in stories modern Poland) themselves claim that they have largely borrowed the technologies used during the Belarusian protests. For example, the informal leaders of the women's strike that shook the country announced the creation of their advisory council (similar to the coordinating council of the Belarusian opposition). The leader of the Polish protests, Marta Lempart, explicitly states that she took the model of the Minsk events as a basis:
"We look at Belarus and see how important the coordination of actions is."
Thus, the glorification of the Belarusian events in the Polish press with the active participation of the official Warsaw led to the fact that the Poles themselves began to copy them. For two months after the Belarusian elections, Polish leaders at all levels made speeches with fervor about the need to fully support “peaceful protests” in the neighboring country, “protect women in Belarus who are heroically fighting for freedom”, and help them morally and financially. When the “Belarusian scenario” began to be implemented in Poland itself, the same national leaders began to angrily condemn their “peaceful protesters”, approving the use of police violence against them and threatening with harsh prison terms.
For several weeks, the Polish authorities demanded to condemn the “Lukashenka regime” for the persecution of Belarusian oppositionists. And now, Deputy Minister of Justice Michał Woś calls on the prosecutor's office to begin harsh repression against their own protesters, ominously saying in an interview:
“All prosecutors in Poland must treat the organizers of illegal gatherings as criminals. They will face up to eight years in prison due to threats to their life and health. "
“Here is such a squiggle,” as one well-known and extremely negative character put it. The policy of double standards in matters of propaganda is evident among Polish politicians.
Window dressing is not an element
However, let us return directly to the theory of the issue under discussion. Very often the local authorities are accused of "show off" as an element of propaganda when they put things in order for the arrival of someone from the higher leadership. On this occasion, you can ask another rhetorical question to the readers of the article, based on a simple life situation: "Don't you personally put things in order at home when you are waiting for guests?"
There is a small, but very active category of people in our society who always and in everything urge us to tell each other the truth, whatever it may be. And if you exaggerate or underestimate something, it means that you are a propagandist. That is, in the opinion of these "holy people", almost each of us is a double-hearted propagandist, if only because most people hide their personal shortcomings, and emphasize their advantages, even minimal ones.
You can cite many more different everyday examples when even the closest people do not tell each other the full truth, but these are all just emotional arguments on the topic of "propaganda". I propose to move on to the history of the issue and to some generally accepted scientific definitions and facts.
The origins of propaganda
The term "propaganda" comes from the Latin word prŏpāgare - to spread, to expand. It was originally used to describe the dispersal of plants into new territories. In the 1622th century, this word acquired a different meaning and began to be used to denote the spread of the Christian faith. Pope Gregory XV created the Congregation for the Propaganda of the Faith in 1988. This organization was responsible for coordinating the activities of Catholic missions on different continents and training missionaries. This organization existed under this name until XNUMX. Of course, the art of spreading and suggesting ideas existed long before the creation of the Congregation for the Propaganda of Faith, and most likely, the origins of such a phenomenon as propaganda should be sought in the history of the first human civilizations.
In the most ancient states of Greece and Rome, there was a developed political culture, which used methods that can be called agitation and propaganda. However, in its modern recognizable form, propaganda began to form only in the New Age, which was facilitated by the development of technology, as well as secular and political life.
The rationalistic worldview and ideas of the philosophers-enlighteners of the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries formed a demand for the emergence of new methods of convincing other people of the correctness of some views and the falsity of others. The development of printing during this period created the technical prerequisites for the dissemination of ideas through propaganda. Periodicals appeared, as well as new genres of political pamphlets and cartoons.
Since the time of the Great French Revolution, propaganda techniques have been widely used in political struggle, both on the part of the state power and on the part of the opposition. In the era of wars and revolutions, new methods of agitation and propaganda appear: oral (spreading rumors and News) and written (newspapers, proclamations, posters and leaflets). The visual arts also contributed to the formation of images and ideas necessary for propagandists.
The propaganda influence reached a new scale during the First World War. The governments of the belligerent powers needed millions of recruits to fight this war, as well as the general support of the population. The scientific and technological revolution led by that time to the appearance of the telephone, telegraph, radio, cinematography and large-circulation press. But the main prerequisite for the success of mobilizing the population was the spread of primary and secondary public education, which shaped the mentality of nationalist-minded law-abiding citizens.
In addition to verbal and written appeals, government and political organizations widely used posters with recognizable images and emotionally charged appeals to create patriotic sentiments.
The most recognizable is the American propaganda poster of Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer, with the words "I want you to serve in the US Army." Similar posters with an appeal to enroll in the army as a volunteer existed both among the Reds (“Have you signed up as a volunteer?”) And among the Whites (“Why are you not in the army?”) During the Russian civil war.
The world war, which ended with the collapse of four empires, the October Revolution and the civil war in Russia, the formation of new states, mass parties and movements - all these phenomena, which changed the world beyond recognition, forced us to take a fresh look at the issues of propaganda influence.
During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Paul Joseph Goebbels proved to be true masters of propaganda.
All Nazi propaganda was built on false theses, repeated many thousands of times. Key points:
- the racial superiority of the Germans (this thesis is an absolute lie, but a lie that the Germans believed in);
- the presence of a threat (from Jews and from communists).
All this was supported by propaganda brochures, which published photographs of exceptionally beautiful German men and women, symbolizing health and strength. And when they talked about the conspiracy of the Jews, they gave the names of the bankers.
Radio (speeches of the leaders of the Reich) had a powerful propaganda effect.
After World War II, propaganda became a powerful ideological weapon.
In our time, this concept includes the influence and achievement of the intended goal by influencing the consciousness of individuals, groups of people or society as a whole. Such techniques make people do what they want them to do. In this case, the individual behaves as if he made this decision himself.
Now not only politicians, but also scientists are interested in the problem of propaganda. The main thing became clear to sociologists and psychologists (and just sane people): in the hands of malicious politicians, propaganda turns into an instrument of manipulation, exaggeration and outright lies.
The ideological cane of the state
The word "propaganda" evokes various feelings, mostly negative, among people unfamiliar with the theory of government.
At the same time, propaganda is a naturally existing part of the state structure, therefore, there is nothing out of the ordinary in this.
To believe that any propaganda is a sign of an exceptionally weak and totalitarian state, at least, is not sufficiently expedient. In those countries that are considered democratic, state propaganda is developed, perhaps no less strongly than in those that are considered totalitarian, only it is more veiled and does not seem as obvious as, for example, in North Korea. Propaganda educates people and therefore propaganda is ambiguous. It's like a parent: if you were brought up, for example, by a heavily drinking asocial marginal, then the chances of becoming a respected member of society are much less than if you were brought up by a harmoniously developed kind person.
Initially, propaganda does not have a clear evil or good direction, it is a way to convey an idea to as many people as possible, using the simplest and most effective methods. Its direction already depends on the goals of the propagandist himself. For example, someone can use this tool to popularize the idea of a healthy lifestyle, and someone - to instill the ideology of the superiority of one race over others.
The effectiveness of propaganda lies in the fact that it operates with extremely simple and understandable things. Appeals to the basic concepts of human morality, such as good or bad, friend or foe, restoration of justice and fear of something.
Simply put, propaganda is the dissemination of any information in order to form a stable opinion about something in society or in a certain part of it. People who engage in propaganda are called propagandists.
Each full-fledged state with a developed functioning of the authorities plans its own course for the distant future. Propaganda is one of the main levers of mass control. The purpose of propaganda is to show people in various ways what the state needs or to convey to them a certain idea that is supported by the same state.
To fully understand the topic of propaganda, two types of propaganda should be distinguished.
The first of these is direct propaganda. It is used to simply introduce an opinion into the public masses as a completed fact.
The second is indirect propaganda. She sets out the facts and her own opinion. In most cases, direct propaganda (surprisingly to many) is more effective. However, it often completely eliminates the need to think.
Considering and analyzing the methods and methods of propaganda, one can refer to the "Encyclopedia of Propaganda Methods" by Viktor Sorochenko, which popularly describes the most common methods. Here are just a few of them:
"Anonymous authority". The well-known phrase "British scientists have found out ..." characterizes this method in the best possible way. The phrase has long acquired a humorous connotation and is rarely taken seriously, but such clichés as “according to scientists; the researchers found out; etc. " still inspire confidence in the audience, although "the information conveyed in this way is in most cases a lie."
“References to non-existent authority give it solidity and weight in the eyes of ordinary people. At the same time, the source has not been identified, and the journalists bear no responsibility for the false report. "
"This technique allows the media to preserve the illusion of objective coverage of events, but at the same time devalues the significance of what happened, creates an image among the mass audience about this event as something insignificant, not worthy of special attention and, moreover, public assessment."
That is, serious and terrible incidents are reported by journalists quite calmly and casually:
"If you need to accustom people to violence, blood, murder, atrocities of all kinds, then a fine-looking TV presenter with a calm face and an even voice, as if casually, informs you every day about the most serious atrocities."
Stop thief. The purpose of the admission is to mingle with your pursuers. A striking example is the experience of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the period of William Egan Colby (1970s). When this organization was accused of terrorism, murders, explosions, overthrow of governments, drug trafficking, and undercover failures, the CIA, led by Colby, ran ahead of the whistleblowers and began to expose themselves so zealously that the whistleblowers themselves barely reassured them. So W. Colby kept the CIA. The same technique is used to discredit, when the perpetrators, feeling the failure, are the first to raise a cry and direct the people's anger in the other direction. This technique is often used by "human rights activists" and "fighters against the mafia", whose task is to disorganize the public.
“Eyewitnesses of the event”. Can be called upon to help create emotional resonance, that is, by influencing feelings.
“A classic example is the Persian Gulf. In October 1990, a fifteen-year-old girl told the world media that she saw Iraqi soldiers take fifteen babies out of the hospital and put them on the cold floor to die. The girl's name was demonstratively hidden for reasons of the safety of her family. US President George HW Bush used the story of dead babies ten times in the forty days before the invasion of Iraq (Republic of Iraq). The Senate discussion on approving the military action also repeatedly returned to this fact. It was later revealed that the girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, a member of the Kuwaiti ruling family. Later it became known that most of the other "witnesses" were prepared and exhibited by the famous firm "Hill & Knowlton". But this no longer worried anyone. "
"Shifting emphasis". I consider it necessary to quote only one passage:
“Well-armed Palestinians with fists attacked peacefully tanks Israeli soldiers. The soldiers received severe mental trauma. The Palestinians escaped with light deaths. "
And this is only a small part of the "Encyclopedia of Propaganda Methods". I don't think it's worth reprinting all of it here. And whoever wants to can read this book on their own.
In addition to the above, the following can also be attributed to the main forms of propaganda impact:
"Hanging labels". This is a method in which a negative, but understandable label is glued to a person or a group: a Nazi, a fascist, a liberal, etc. Which, in turn, makes people judgmental or negative towards the bearers of such a label, in this way the very humanity and significance of these people is understated.
"Using words of virtue." These are words that are deliberately added to concepts in order to divert attention from facts. For example: "famous scientists", "according to" experts "," scientific "," strong opinion ". These inserts urge a person to believe in any statement, since it is based on the conclusions of "authoritative" scientists or a stable paradigm.
Celebrity Reviews. This is a propaganda method, when an idea is pushed by popular and well-known personalities with a large target audience. The bottom line is that fans should take all the information from the idol, without doubting its authenticity and correctness (well, my idol can't be talking some nonsense).
"Deification". This is giving an idea or a person a sacred meaning, creating an image of sacredness or divinity. For example: "This is ours, God-given land, and we must ...", "God-given right to ...".
"Belonging to the majority." This is the way in which the idea is presented as the general opinion of the masses. For example: "By general opinion", "According to the majority of respondents ...", "In the opinion of the people ...". These sayings urge a person not to get out of the pack, not to be special and to trust the opinion of the majority.
Repetition is the mother of agitation
The means used for propaganda are standard:
- Internet (YouTube, social networks, telegram channels, Zen and other means of Internet communication);
- newspapers and magazines;
- visual agitation.
First of all, propaganda is a process that involves:
- subject - a group of society that seeks to impose its point of view on another social group;
- object - the target audience to which the campaigning actions are directed.
The main difference between propaganda and the usual dissemination of information is the presence of a goal in favor of which the propaganda activity is carried out (that is, the presence of intentionality), plus systematic repetition.
A simple schematic example: Petrov in his public speech stated that Ivanov was not a very smart person. A one-time mention of this fact is just information for your information.
But if Petrov asserts this at every crossroads, attracts television, throwing leaflets, etc., trying to ensure that a certain audience believes in his statements, then his activities will be classified as propaganda.
Propaganda can be of two types:
- positive: it brings generally accepted values to the masses (for example, the promotion of a healthy lifestyle);
- negative: manipulates the emotions and minds of people to create a certain, often negative attitude in various sectors of society.
As a rule, the main area where propaganda is actively used is politics.
After all, it is politics that needs the means to manipulate people. Political propaganda can be both positive and negative. The percentage of this mixture depends on the goals pursued by this or that party, this or that politician.
Positive propaganda is used to inform and educate society.
Negative propaganda is designed to exacerbate the contradictions existing in society on racial, national, social grounds. This leads to a split in society. Such a society is easier to manipulate. This is what propagandists who represent someone's interests are trying to achieve.
As stated earlier, propagandists are people engaged in propaganda. Their main goal is to form the necessary public opinion among a certain group of the population. For people to trust a propagandist, he must master the art of manipulating people and at the same time be close and understandable to them.
Advocacy is effective if the following conditions are met:
- there is a clearly formulated goal (in my opinion, this is the most important condition that is completely absent in our country at the present time);
- the means of communicating the promoted interests are maximally accessible to the target audience (for example, for young people, the Internet is the optimal channel for delivering propagandistic information; for middle-aged and older people - television);
- the promoted theses are easily understood by the target audience and are related to its pressing problems, which is why propaganda materials are prepared by specialists, among whom there are psychologists;
- the imposed information is difficult to refute (as a rule, it is logical, confirmed by real examples).
Instead of a conclusion
In the collapse of the USSR, propaganda played a significant role, quite subtly organized by the countries of the collective West. During the destruction of the Soviet Union, the main forces of propaganda were thrown into denial and demonization of everything that was Soviet. In the future, this could not affect modern Russia either. The intensity of anti-Soviet propaganda has now slightly decreased, but it is still everywhere: in films, books, on television, in history textbooks, etc. And this propaganda works. To be convinced of this, it is enough just to talk to current people.
In today's realities for Western countries, the basis for state propaganda is mainly Russophobia, as a continuation of anti-Soviet propaganda.
However, propaganda is somewhat more than the preferences or delusions of certain powerful leaders. This is a global phenomenon that surrounds every person throughout his life.
Propaganda is an inevitability under any system and under any power, the question is only in its direction. Therefore, you should not unconditionally trust everything that the media and propagandists tell you, both from the authorities and from the opposition.
If we ourselves renounce positive and constructive propaganda within our society, then the propaganda destroying our country will be imposed on us from the outside - as they say: “a holy place is never empty”. And, unfortunately, it has already been imposed on us in part: it can be seen with the naked eye.
Your own opinion (preferably based on facts, and not on speculation and emotions) may or may not coincide with the generally accepted opinion. It's okay, but it's yours.