DEFINITIONPROP Distinguishing the Old Propaganda From the New
Propaganda never has been easy to define. There are, indeed, as many definitions of propaganda as there are definers, and they express every interest, activity, and area of knowledge.
It is no different in this case; traditional definitions that were conceived in mass cultures and in academic cloisters are less applicable to popular cultures and in diverse settings. To achieve functional definitions of the old and the new propagandas we must review the nature of all propagandas and their functioning in a popular culture.
The Ross Perot political movement in 1992 offers that opportunity. Many who joined the Perot movement did so in considered ways. They gave up their long-held attachments to political parties to seek more open and direct communication, a sense of community, and a propaganda of self-actualization that promised fuller participation in the political process. This proactivity and sense of inclusion is the essence of the new propaganda.
Members of the movement had a voice and could communicate with Perot. That was portrayed on the Larry King Live television show when Perot said he would not run unless his followers placed him in nomination, thus empowering each member of the movement. But the new propaganda was transformed into the old propaganda when Perot took on the role of one per-