Political Propaganda; I Give You Bitter Pills in Sugar Coating. the Pills Are Harmless. the Poison Is in the Sugar. -- Stanislaw Lec

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian E. Cristobal

OF course, we are daily bombarded with propaganda and information, from advertising to public relations, so it's important for an enlightened public to distinguish between the two. A useful distinction: It's propaganda when dispensed by the other side, and information when it's peddled by our side.

Fortunately, knowing this will not put an end to propaganda.

Once again I turn to the irritable John Ralston Saul: Propaganda is "the means by which the thousands of organizations in corporatist society communicate with each other and with the general public.

"From its origins in the Vatican Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Congregati de propaganda fide), a body devoted to spreading the Christian doctrine in foreign lands, the idea of substituting propagation for explanation was seized by the Heroic national leaders of the late eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Propaganda married romanticism with facts, which seemed to replace any need for understanding. With the invention of marketing tools such as the press release, advertisements, sound bites, PR firms and press officers, this rather exclusive way of influencing people was quickly available to anyone with a budget. …