Propaganda can be described as an information piece that seeks to publish our ideas in order to gain the attention of society’s members. The information that is given, however, is often deceptive as it is intended to help a particular person. People generally propaganda to achieve their perceived objectives and desires.
Ellul states that, while he/she has no understanding of the topic at hand, the average person still tries to ensure that he/she gives a view of all matters (David, 2006). As a result, he/she comes up with propagandas, which enables them to disguise their lack of judgments and incompetence in addressing the matters. Various scholars have come up with several theories that are aimed at explaining the concept of propagandas. Some of the arguments that have been put forward include the classical theory of propaganda and the Herman-Chomsky propaganda theory.
The classical propaganda theory dictates that people will always strive to come up with means of influencing the attitudes of the people around him/her. The theory suggests that the main reason why propagandas thrive so well is that they are usually driven by some political motives (Patrick & Thrall, 2007). Wood (2016) is of the opinion that propagandas are an effective means of manipulating people so that they can develop some preferred beliefs. Ultimately, the person who engineered the propaganda wins the favor of the societal members and even becomes their kingpin.
The Herman-Chomsky propaganda theory was developed by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman. The scholars point out that the media is the most reliable communicative power that people use to advocate for their social class interests and political ideals (Mullen & Klaen, 2010). According to Marmura, the media is always used in formulating ‘conspiracy theories’ that campaign for some preferred ideas (Marmura, 2014). Unfortunately, by doing so, the media ends up denying people the chance to identify the main issues that may have taken place in their community.
To sum it all, propagandas are misleading pieces of information that are used by some people in the society to advocate for their interests. At times, it involves the management of prevalent attitudes through the manipulation of symbols that may be very crucial in the community (Lasswell, 1927). Ellul (1965) argues that people fall prey to propagandas because they lack a comprehensive understanding of the issues taking place in the society. Some of the theories that have been used to explain propagandas include the Herman-Chomsky theory and the classical propaganda theory.
David. (2006). The edge of grace: Jacques Ellul on propaganda. Retrieved from http://www.edgeofgrace.net/2006/11/10/jacques-ellul-on-propaganda/
Ellul, J. (1965). Propaganda: The formation of men’s attitudes. Vintage Books.
Lasswell, H.D. (1927). The theory of political propaganda. The American Political Science Review. Vol.21. No.3.
Marmura, S.M.E. (2014). Likely and unlikely stories: Conspiracy theories in age of propaganda. International Journal of Communication. Vol.8.
Mullen, A., & Klaehn, J. (2010). The Herman-Chomsky propaganda model: A critical approach to analyzing mass media behaviour. Sociology Compass. Vol.4(4).
Patrick, B.A., & Thrall, T.A. (2007). Beyond hegemony: Classical propaganda theory and presidential communication strategy after the invasion of Iraq. Mass Communication & Society, 10(1), 95-118
Wood, A. (2016). Propaganda and democracy. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science. Vol.31. No.3.