Friday, 30 April 2010

That's The Way To Do It


This from Winnower at Newsoutlines is a very telling and worthy read on the nuts and bolts of propaganda and how it has been applied to the McCann case.
You are invited to participate in supplying further examples should you so desire.

Techniques of Propaganda Generation used in the Madeleine McCann case

Excerpts from SourceWatch
And examples from the Madeleine McCann case
(More to follow - suggestions and insights are welcome.)

A number of techniques are used to create messages which are persuasive, but false. Many of these same techniques can be found under logical fallacies since propagandists use arguments which, although sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid.

Some time has been spent analyzing the means by which propaganda messages are transmitted, and that work is important, but it's clear that information dissemination strategies only become propaganda strategies when coupled with propagandistic messages.

Identifying these propaganda messages is a necessary prerequisite to studying the methods by which those messages are spread. That's why it is essential to have some knowledge of the following techniques for generating propaganda:

Appeal to fear:

Appeals to fear seeks to build support by instilling fear in the general population - for example Joseph Goebbels exploited Theodore Kaufman's Germany Must Perish! to claim that the Allies sought the extermination of the German people.


* Efforts to portray children as vulnerable to "stranger abduction" when, in reality it is almost always the case in child abduction or abuse cases that a family member or someone closely known by the child is the perpetrator.

* "Rural kids have traditionally been given the freedom to roam miles. High-profile cases like the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, however, are making a lot more parents reluctant to let their children out of their sight. Is it a case of taking sensible precautions or are we unnecessarily curtailing their freedoms and denying kids an important part of a country childhood?" 6 July 2007, Farmers Weekly

* MSPs using Maddie's case to reinforce their efforts to create European Amber Alert system.

* Cinema ad for Madeleine that was running prior to family films (pulled after a successful campaign by Mumsnet)

Appeal to authority:

Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position idea, argument, or course of action.


* Gordon Brown
* Tony Blair
* Brian Kennedy
* Sir Richard Branson
* the Pope
* "the trip to Washington" etc.


Bandwagon-and-inevitable-victory appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to take a course of action "everyone else is taking." "Join the crowd."

This technique reinforces people's natural desire to be on the winning side. This technique is used to convince the audience that a program is an expression of an irresistible mass movement and that it is in their interest to join.

"Inevitable victory" invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already, or partially, on the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is the best course of action.


* In the McCann case, the British media has done a superb job attempting to convince the British public that the majority of British citizens "support the McCanns".

* By removing discussion from news sites, the voices of those questioning the McCanns were silenced and in the void, the media continued to print articles inferring or outright stating that the majority of people supported the McCanns.

* As the former head of "Media Monitoring" for the British government, Clarence Mitchell has used this technique with a great deal of success. (See: McCann Family PR Offensive)

Obtain disapproval:

This technique is used to get the audience to disapprove an action or idea by suggesting the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience. Thus, if a group which supports a policy is led to believe that undesirable, subversive, or contemptible people also support it, the members of the group might decide to change their position.


* Media Monitoring Unit.....more