I have been reflecting on my propaganda posts thus far and have realised that I have not clarified my belief that Propaganda per se is not inherently bad. My motivation is to explain how it is used to persuade and influence us so that we are not passive victims of it.
Propaganda can be used by organisations to do good by using its techniques to get a positive message across. It can be used in an honest or a dishonest way and it can be used to get a negative message across. Cropping photos to hide the background is a dishonest use of Propaganda if we lie about what was actually happening in the scene that was cropped. Photoshopping a Politician to look better however is a relatively mild deception that the average person would pick up.Helen Clark’s image is a great example. People said she looked great in the image but everyone knew that she didn’t really look like that.
In school I was always one of those students who questioned everything. I took nothing at face value. I wanted to know the teachers’ bias so that I could adjust my judgement accordingly. When a female teacher who had never married and lived alone made strong feminist statements that were anti men, I weighed up the fact that her beliefs had possibly impacted on her ability to find a life partner as she was not gay. Perhaps then, I reasoned, her views were not healthy and went too far. I therefore rejected outright her more extreme views and gave careful consideration to the other points she made.
Another teacher was a wonderful and inspiring English teacher. I was very influenced by him and he encouraged me to become a teacher. However one day when I was in the seventh form we had a student teacher in the class for a week. He was quite good looking and I mentioned this to my teacher in a joking way when I was alone in the classroom with him. He responded that if I wanted him to he would introduce me to the young teacher who was finishing at our school that day. I knew that my teacher had got a 17 year old student pregnant when he was a young teacher and had married her so with that knowledge of his bias in mind I declined his offer.
We are bombarded with messages every day through advertising and through the media.If we understand that we are being sold to we are in a stronger position than if we are unaware of their purpose. If we question what we see and hear we can form our own conclusions. Being aware of bias means that we can make better decisions.
I am going to go all teacher on you and give you an exercise to do. I am going to give you a number of headlines from different Media sources about the Gaza conflict. My challenge to you is to try to ascertain the Media Bias from the headline. If there is a clear bias then the article is likely also to be biased.
NOTE: Some headlines may not contain bias they may simply be factual. Some contain emotive words while others do not.
Ask yourself how each headline makes you feel. Does it colour your view before you even start reading the article that would go with it?
Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan
Gaza fighting flares, UN, Israel debate truce
Shells hit UN school in Gaza, kill 15
Israeli shells hit second school killing 19, UN says
Gaza conflict: Israel ‘hits Jabaliya school refuge …
Bombing damages Gaza’s Catholic parish school :
Gaza: ’100 Palestinians Killed In One Day’
European Jews face rising tide of anti-Semitism in Gaza
US-Israeli relations become more poisonous by the day
Death falls from the sky for eight children at Gaza camp
Israel posts footage from ‘inside Gaza tunnel’
UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire
Diary: The man ranting about â€˜lies from Gazaâ€™ is economical with the truth
Israel is finding it harder to deny targeting Gaza infrastructure
PLO announcement of 24-hour Gaza ceasefire disavowed by Hamas
Let cricketer Moeen Ali wear his â€˜Save Gazaâ€™ wristband
Israel undermining its support in the west, Philip Hammond says
Interestingly when doing my online search for Gaza headlines I did not come across any mentioning the rockets being sent into Israel or the damage and deaths that they were causing.
Also rather fascinating was this blog article I found, that was written precisely because of a headline.
It is a very revealing read as the writer objects to what he sees as a bias in the headline but to me I saw it as a clarification once more information came to light. However the new headline does not fit the Blog writers bias or world view so it upset him.
See how powerful a headline can be.