Wednesday Quiz

For the quiz over propaganda terms and techniques, use this Quizlet to review.

Thursday Test

There will be two sections on the propaganda exam this Thursday: one in which you match authors to their quotes and one in which you write massively well-developed responses to four paragraph-length questions taken from the list below. You should be prepared to answer each question with specific information from our notes and discussion and to provide relevant examples to support your analysis. I can’t imagine being able to respond really well to any of the questions with less than 7-8 sentences.

As always, the notes are available in the Dropbox.

Potential Paragraph Questions

  1. Using Jacques Ellul’s “current events man” and Neil Postman’s theory about television spectacle, explain how the news media fails to educate the public in the United States.
  2. Construct an argument in which you prove Chomsky and Herman wrong. Why might their model not work? Be sure to offer multiple, defended points of opposition. After all, these guys do have PhDs.
  3. Using at least three of the things we’ve discussed and read in class, explain whether or not you believe that the proliferation of messages in our culture undermines democracy. Why or why not?
  4. Both Chomsky/Herman and Jacques Ellul argue that propaganda functions differently in totalitarian and democratic societies. Explain how they believed the propaganda functioned in each. (Note: this is more about broad differences. You don’t need to get into all the specific techniques for this question).
  5. George Orwell believed that our language was being debased, facilitating the growth and power of propaganda in our society. What specifically did Orwell believe about language and its relationship to propaganda? Does he believe we can fix it?
  6. Jacques Ellul contended that “continuous propaganda exceeds the individual’s capacities for attention or adaptation and thus his capabilities of resistance.” Explain how Ellul believed propaganda was continuous, how it exceeds our capacity for resistance, and whether or not his argument is correct.
  7. Chomsky and Herman believe that the modern media “frames the debate.” Explain what this term means and the implications of this framing on a democratic society.
  8. Neil Postman argued that American society was choosing its own propaganda through entertainment. Explain what Postman meant, and evaluate his claims about the propagandistic impact of our infotainment culture.
  9. How, according to Chomsky and Herman, do sources and ownership compromise media coverage in the United States?
  10. Explain what Jacques Ellul meant when he argued that propaganda relies on a scientific approach to exploit the psychology of citizens?
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