Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Propaganda and the Truth

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Propaganda and the Truth

Jacques Ellul makes many key points throughout his piece. "The Characteristics of Propaganda." One part that I found to be interesting was titled "Propaganda and Truth." This section deals with the concept of propaganda being "a series of tall stories, a tissue of lies, and that lies are necessary for effective propaganda." Ellul says that this creates two attitudes in our society. One attitude being one in which people believe they will not fall for the false information because they are able to distinguish between facts and things that are false. The second attitude is that all people don't believe anything they read because everything that is out there is false.

However, Ellul states that Lenin proclaimed a "formula" that works. Simply, "in propaganda, truth pays off." He says that truth leads to facts and that those pieces of information which are not true are "intentions" or "interpretations."

I found this part to be interesting because when most people think of propaganda, a very common thought is false information. However, here Ellul is stating that truth is a very important building block to effective propaganda.


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