Adventures in Everyday


The Legitimacy Farm – 5.5/7

Analysis of the IPA techniques of propaganda

Plain Folks

The plain folks technique refers to an authority who presents him or herself as an average citizen – personable, approachable, and “for the people.” Perhaps the most vivid examples of this technique can be seen in the mannerisms of President Bush. Bush is well known for his occasionally unrefined use of language – so well known, in fact, that idiosyncrasies in his speeches have come to be referred to as “Bushisms” (CNN, 2003). The CNN article “Don’t misunderestimate Bushisms” (2003) lists a few examples: “misunderestimate,” “embetter,” “resignate,” and “foreign-handed.” These words may be honest slipups by the President, but they may also be a case of the plain folks technique. The President is also known to frequently give the thumbs-up, to listen to his iPods, and to be a Christian. The result, regardless of the President’s true intent, is that people are more likely to see him as “a regular guy,” with the interests of “the regular guy” in mind.

Exonerating cognitions can be affected by the plain folks technique. For instance, when one seeks to justify their group’s injustices towards out-groups, one may be more likely to blame extenuating circumstances in cases where their official leader appears to be “an average guy.” This is because it is more difficult to blame gross injustices on an average person, who is so similar to oneself.

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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

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