Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The Problem of Factuality by Ellul

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Problem of Factuality by Ellul

Ellul believes that if you base your propaganda on truths the enemy cannot go against your message, which the enemy might try to do if it wasn't the full or complete truth. To do this Ellul says
"the propagandist must insist on the purity of his own intentions and, at the same time, hurl accusations at his enemy. But the accusation is never made haphazardly or groundlessly." (The Characteristics of Propaganda p. 29)
Which to me basically means you need to show why your enemy is evil without lies. This way if challenge the enemy cannot turn your listeners against you. If you had lies or half-truths and the enemy could prove it then your statement and propaganda does not have a powerful message.

2 Comments:

Blogger CBarr said...

I think you make a valid point that the truth is of utter importance in what is presented to the listeners in order to maintain credibility, but with the way the truth can be spun and maniuplated (through editing for instance), is there an undeniable way to know whether or not the truth is being told?

1/30/2006 9:28 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

Yes there are ways of determing the truth of a statement. You need to use more than one source of information. This is why Ellul emphasizes the importance of mass repetition and using all the mass media for a propaganda campaign, the goal is to drown out those other sources that might allow an objective determination of the facts. Of course, that takes a lot of time, effort, education and determination. These are not qualities that everyone shares.

1/31/2006 12:23 AM  

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