From the Oxford Essential Dictionary, American Edition:
1. organized program of publicity, selected information, etc., used to propagate a doctrine, etc.
2. usually derogatory. ideas, etc., so propagated.
From the New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, Revised and Expanded Edition:
ideas disseminated to support a doctrine
From the American Century Thesaurus:
1. agitprop, disinformation, newspeak, rumours, lies.
2. advertising, promotion, publicity, public relations, puff, fanfare.
1. the systemic propagation of a doctrine or cause, or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
2. material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.
3. propaganda Roman Catholic Church. A division of the Roman Curia that has authority in the matter of preaching the gospel, of establishing the Church in non-Christian countries, and of administering Church missions in territories where there is no properly organized hierarchy.
From Encyclopedia Farlex.com:
Systemic spreading… of information or disinformation, … usually to promote a religious or political doctrine with the intention of instilling particular attitudes or responses. As a system of spreading information it was considered a legitimate instrument of government, but became notorious through the deliberate distortion of facts or the publication of falsehoods by totalitarian regimes, notably Nazi Germany.
The word comes from the activities of a special sacred congregation of the Roman Catholic Church…which sought to spread the faith and recruit members.
In the US in the 1980s, the term ‘public diplomacy’ was introduced.
Government-sponsored reports and articles were presented to the media as independent sources…
…black propaganda (a pack of lies), grey propaganda (half-truths and distortions), white propaganda (the truth).
Propaganda has been practiced since the earliest times, but modern mass media has made it much easier to appeal to wide domestic and foreign audiences…
You might be wondering why I just put you through so many definitions of the same word – propaganda. It is because I am endeavoring to better understand the term, its use, and the affect it has had on our culture. From there, I want to examine how the government, media, and entertainment industries are using propaganda to influence our points of view. The answers to all of these issues are crucial to our understanding of the opposition and the formation of a reasoned and honest rebuttal. As a political artist, I well understand the power of a strong and succinct image, that, through repetition, becomes an influential icon. In this way, the arts have become one of the most powerful influences on the American people and culture, with few of us aware of how it happened.
Ask yourself a couple of questions.
How did you form your personal philosophy?
What influences led you to the formation of those beliefs?
Did you verify facts, or merely accept ideas at face value?
Are you even aware of where you got the information, or when you first formed your beliefs?
If you cannot answer these questions satisfactorily, it is time for you to do some research. I am not here to change your mind, or convince you that I am right. You must form those conclusions for yourself. What I am here to do is accumulate the information I need to better understand how to explain and promote the concept of Liberty, why it is preferable to the nanny-state of big government, and how I intend to use my art to spread this message. Finally, I am encouraging all artists who share my views to step up and join the fight.
This is propaganda. I will not lie to you, and you are free to leave at any time. I hope, however, that you will verify my assertions and form your own opinions.
Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com and a contributing writer at the Big Dawg Music Radio Blog, BlogBytes. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com