Adventures in Everyday


The Legitimacy Farm – 5.2/7

Analysis of the IPA techniques of propaganda

Glittering generalities

The glittering generality technique may be thought of as the opposite of name-calling. The IPA stated, “While Name Calling seeks to make us form a judgment to reject and condemn without examining the evidence, the Glittering Generality device seeks to make us approve and accept without examining the evidence” (Delwiche, September 29, 2002, “Name-calling” c.f. Lee, & Lee, 1938). Certain words are imbued with extremely positive connotations. For instance, words like freedom, democracy, justice, and patriot are charged with especially positive emotion in western states, specifically in the United States. When politicians, commentators, news anchors, and religious leaders insert these words into another discussion, perhaps about policies, past or present group actions, or specific individuals, then viewers may unintentionally associate the subject matter with their emotional reactions to the glittering generality used. Most people naturally tend to describe their opinions and ideas in positive terms; but when a glittering generality is found connecting a specific positive word to a policy or idea that is intrinsically unrelated, one should be critical. An example is the title of the United States Patriot Act, which combines the word patriot, commonly understood to mean the love for and willingness to defend one’s country, with an act that allows law enforcement agencies to wiretap suspected criminals without consent or court warrant for a limited time.

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Table of Contents

1 Background

2 Abstract

3 Introduction

4 A Psychological Interpretation of the Propaganda Model

5 Analysis of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis Techniques of Propaganda

5.1 Name-Calling

5.2 Glittering Generalities

5.3 Transfer

5.4 Testimonial

5.5 Plain Folks

6 Discussion

7 APA-Style References


1 Comment

[…] This term ‘progressive’ used to describe the state of a culture is so common, and yet so: subjective, (often) ethnocentric, and even propagandic** (glittering generalities). […]

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