Mao's wife supported the artistic direction set by the . The conceptual dogmas and theatrical conventions provided by the that she supported also became the standard in the visual arts. For the stage, she formulated the 'three prominences' (三突出, stress positive characters; stress the heroic in them; stress the central character of the main characters). In the arts, this was translated as: the subjects were to be portrayed realistically, and they were always to be in the centre of the action, flooded with light from the sun or from hidden sources. Moreover, when we look at the propaganda posters of these years, it always seems as if we, the spectators, are looking upward, as if the action is indeed taking place upon a stage.
Logically, the became responsible for art. This art should unite and educate the people, inspire the struggle of revolutionary people and eliminate the bourgeoisie. Art had to be guided by , its contents had to be militant and to reflect real life. Proletarian ideology, communist morale and spirit, revolutionary heroism were the messages of a new type of hyper-realism that took precedence over style and technique and that differed in all aspects from art creation until then. In the paintings of the time, the color red featured heavily; it symbolized everything revolutionary, everything good and moral; the color black, on the other hand, signified precisely the opposite. Color symbolism continued to be important in the following years, not only in visual propaganda, but in printed propaganda as well.
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As the first "total war," the First World War required the mobilization not just of armies but of whole populations to become active in the war effort. As well as convincing those on the home front of the necessity of war, a different kind of propaganda was directed at the enemy, often through leaflets and newspaper articles: "Those who can be reached by paper can also be reached by bombs" (115). Eventually, radio became a powerful propaganda medium because it ignored national borders (much like the internet). "Tokyo Rose" was a team of twelve women whose broadcasts on Japanese radio were intended to make American troops homesick and lonely. However, during WWI the newsreel (developed by Charles Pathé in France) was one of the most successful media in mobilizing public opinion: "Because the newsreel's coming of age coincided with the outbreak of war, the link between movie news and propaganda was firmly established from the outset" (104). The mixture of visual realism and blatant mythologizing in many WWI propaganda newsreels by the British, Russians, and Germans was a genuine cinematic innovation that would later evolve into the WW II "documentaries" of at the National Film Board of Canada.
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Brewer states, a "propaganda campaign seeks to disguise a paradoxical message: war is not a time for citizens to have an informed debate and make up their own minds even as they fight in the name of freedom to do just that." pg....
As the proliferation of anti-war propaganda on the internet demonstrates, the propaganda campaigns of the 20th C. have had some unintended consequences in raising the consciousness of citizens regarding their sense of duty to the state. Increasing awareness of gender roles and human rights, of the state's ability to shape messages, of the instability of history as a record of events--all eventually become foregrounded by propaganda. As new media like the internet emerge and the methods of propagandists begin to leak into the mainstream, it is predictable that new methods of censorship and control will emerge in times of crisis. Without censorship and the exploitation of mass media, the propaganda of war faces a hard sell. In the meantime, do you want to play a game of Oh Hell with my new deck of ?
Since it is well understood that in certain contexts of eristic (combative) discourse, such as in a courtroom or with electoral campaign literature, truth presentation will be selective, some greater leeway can be allowed before calling this discourse ”propaganda,” because the message recipients will be on guard and the other side will be presented. The case for this leeway collapses, though, when an eristic presentation is disguised as heuristic (truth discovery) discourse – for example, by concealing the true source.
A very common technique in propaganda is to disguise the source of messages designed to influence people. ”Fake news” involves video material that resembles a TV station’s news format, but is paid for and produced by an interested party, with no acknowledgement of this fact. As another example, so called ”Astroturf” protest groups resemble spontaneously formed community groups but are secretly created and controlled by an interested party.
The goal of propaganda is not necessarily to create conviction. The intent may merely be to create uncertainty and inaction among those who would otherwise be staunch opponents of some political, economic, or military power. Falsehoods repeated endlessly can have this effect. A common goal is to encourage forgetfulness about some things and artificially stimulate attention to others. Music, pageantry, imagery, catch-phrases and slogans can all be utilized to capture and sustain the attention and impart feeling to a target audience, often without the target being conscious of any manipulation. To succeed, propaganda generally needs to escape detection.
Lies are an obvious form of propagandistic communication, but deception can often be achieved by one-sided, selective presentation of truths that, taken together and in isolation from other truths of contrary import, create a false impression. To mention one country’s attack on another, without mentioning that the other was the first to attack, is an example. Censorship can be an important component of propaganda by suppressing facts that, in the minds of the target, would create discord with those beliefs or attitudes that the propagandist wishes to impart.
Propaganda here becomes distinguished from ordinary attempts at persuasion by the use of means that are discreditable, including manipulating a target audience with a view to gaining or maintaining power over them. Typically, for propaganda in its negative sense, the interests of the audience are subordinated to those of the propagandist. Such things as truth, education, clarity of reasoning and adequacy of information sources become treated as secondary. Propaganda in this pejorative sense can be defined as an organized attempt, through communication, to affect beliefs, attitudes or actions of a target audience by means that circumvent or suppress the target’s ability to understand and evaluate the truth of a pertinent matter.