Introduction/ INFLUENCE OF PROPAGANDA AND MASS MEDIA
Propaganda is a form of communication that aims to manipulate public opinion and shape people’s beliefs and attitudes toward a particular issue, product, or political ideology. Propaganda in mass media is a significant tool for shaping public opinion, as it can be disseminated on a large scale through television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet. This essay explores the influence of propaganda in mass media, supported by various studies and research.
The Definition and Nature of Propaganda:
Propaganda can be defined as “the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist” (Jowett & O’Donnell, 2014, p. 6). The use of propaganda in mass media is not a new phenomenon, and it has been used by governments, political parties, and corporations to influence public opinion for many years.
The Influence of Propaganda on Public Opinion:
Propaganda in mass media can have a significant influence on public opinion, as it is often disseminated to a large audience through various mediums. Studies have shown that exposure to propaganda can lead to changes in attitudes and beliefs, and even affect people’s behavior (Ferguson & Perse, 2000; Albarracín, Johnson, & Zanna, 2005).
One example of the influence of propaganda on public opinion is the use of political ads during election campaigns. Political ads are often designed to appeal to emotions rather than facts, and they can be very effective in shaping people’s beliefs and attitudes toward political candidates and issues (Stroud & Muddiman, 2014).
The Negative Effects of Propaganda:
While propaganda can be used to promote positive ideas and messages, it can also be used to promote negative or harmful ideas. Propaganda that promotes hate, discrimination, or violence can have serious negative effects on individuals and society as a whole. For example, propaganda that promotes racist or sexist ideas can contribute to the perpetuation of prejudice and discrimination (Tukachinsky, Romer, & Wakslak, 2015).
Critics of the idea that propaganda in mass media has a significant influence on public opinion argue that people are capable of critical thinking and are not easily swayed by propaganda. They also argue that individuals have the ability to choose what they expose themselves to, and can therefore choose not to be influenced by propaganda.
In conclusion, propaganda in mass media can have a significant influence on public opinion, shaping people’s beliefs and attitudes toward various issues, products, and political ideologies. While propaganda can be used to promote positive ideas and messages, it can also be used to promote negative or harmful ideas that have serious negative effects on individuals and society as a whole. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to be critical consumers of media, and to be aware of the potential influence of propaganda in mass media.
Albarracín, D., Johnson, B. T., & Zanna, M. P. (2005). The Handbook of Attitudes. Routledge.
Ferguson, D. A., & Perse, E. M. (2000). The World Wide Web as a functional alternative to Television. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 44(2), 155-174.
Jowett, G. S., & O’Donnell, V. (2014). Propaganda and persuasion. Sage Publications.
Stroud, N. J., & Muddiman, A. (2014). Emotional responsiveness to political ads: Effects of ad-elicited anger and anxiety on political participation. Political Communication, 31(1), 119-136.