Adventures in Everyday

The Legitimacy Farm – 6/7


The effects of the techniques of propaganda that I have discussed in this paper tend to instill in the media producers and the government a greater degree of legitimacy. Name-calling can lead to the increased perceived legitimacy of an in-group’s injustices towards out-groups, and can also discredit critics. Glittering generalities can lead people to attribute to policies and authorities an unwarranted degree of positivity, support and legitimacy. Transfer can increase individuals’ identification with a presenting group by its association with an in-group, which can lead to the use of exonerating cognitions and an increase in the perceived legitimacy of the presenting group. Testimonials from influential group members can rally support for the presenting group, which leads to the identification with the presenting group and the possibility for further use of exonerating cognitions. Finally, the plain folks technique can increase the likelihood of the use of exonerating cognitions, such as blaming in-group injustice on extenuating circumstances or increasing the negativity of one’s stereotype of the harmed group.

All of these techniques of propaganda can result in the increased degree of perceived legitimacy of the government and the media producers. It stands to reason, then, that if much of this legitimacy has been produced by manipulating the media, the media producing authorities are forced to continue to manipulate the media to their favor to prevent public outcry. Whether an elite class is orchestrating the entire process of media manipulation or whether these processes are the natural result of the success of propaganda techniques is not very important. In fact, I think such the supposition that an elite caste is controlling us can only lead to public discouragement – not societal change. Rather, seeing the effects of manipulation from a purely psychological perspective, and understanding how these processes can only move forward once they have begun, may lead people to look for ways to improve the system. For instance, people could begin to look more critically at their media, and try to see ways to change specific qualities of it. Alternatively, if people see the media as being controlled by an elite, they may be labeled “conspiracy theorists” or worse, and instead of targeting specific areas for improvement, they may focus on fruitlessly blaming shadowy groups like “the Illuminati” or “the New World Order.”

By Brendan Boehr

. . .

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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