Psychological Operations Field Manual No.33-1
"Propaganda Techniques" is based upon "Appendix I: PSYOP Techniques" from "Psychological Operations Field Manual No.33-1" published by Headquarters; Department of the Army, in Washington DC, on 31 August 1979
Vagueness. Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application.
Rationalization. Individuals or groups may use favorable generalities to rationalize questionable acts or beliefs. Vague and pleasant phrases are often used to justify such actions or beliefs.
Transfer. This is a technique of projecting positive or negative qualities (praise or blame) of a person, entity, object, or value (an individual, group, organization, nation, patriotism, etc.) to another in order to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. This technique is generally used to transfer blame from one member of a conflict to another. It evokes an emotional response which stimulates the target to identify with recognized authorities.
Least of Evils. This is a technique of acknowledging that the course of action being taken is perhaps undesirable but that any alternative would result in an outcome far worse. This technique is generally used to explain the need for sacrifices or to justify the seemingly harsh actions that displease the target audience or restrict personal liberties. Projecting blame on the enemy for the unpleasant or restrictive conditions is usually coupled with this technique.
Name Calling or Substitutions of Names or Moral Labels. This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable.
Pinpointing the Enemy: This is a form of simplification in which a complex situation is reduced to the point where the "enemy" is unequivocally identified. For example, the president of country X is forced to declare a state of emergency in order to protect the peaceful people of his country from the brutal, unprovoked aggression by the leaders of country.
Plain Folks or Common Man: The "plain folks" or "common man" approach attempts to convince the audience that the propagandist's positions reflect the common sense of the people. It is designed to win the confidence of the audience by communicating in the common manner and style of the audience. Propagandists use ordinary language and mannerisms (and clothes in face-to-face and audiovisual communications) in attempting to identify their point of view with that of the average person. With the plain folks device, the propagandist can win the confidence of persons who resent or distrust foreign sounding, intellectual speech, words, or mannerisms.
If the propaganda or the propagandist lacks naturalness, there may be an adverse backlash. The audience may resent what it considers attempts to mock it, its language, and its ways.
Social Disapproval. This is a technique by which the propagandist marshals group acceptance and suggests that attitudes or actions contrary to the one outlined will result in social rejection, disapproval, or outright ostracism. The latter, ostracism, is a control practice widely used within peer groups and traditional societies.
Virtue Words. These are words in the value system of the target audience which tend to produce a positive image when attached to a person or issue. Peace, happiness, security, wise leadership, freedom, etc., are virtue words.
Slogans. A slogan is a brief striking phrase that may include labeling and stereotyping. If ideas can be sloganized, they should be, as good slogans are self-perpetuating.
Testimonials. Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role (expert, respected public figure, etc.) of the individual giving the statement is exploited. The testimonial places the official sanction of a respected person or authority on a propaganda message. This is done in an effort to cause the target audience to identify itself with the authority or to accept the authority's opinions and beliefs as its own. Several types of testimonials are:
Official Sanction. The testimonial authority must have given the endorsement or be clearly on record as having approved the attributed idea, concept, action, or belief.
PROPAGANDA TECHNIQUES WHICH ARE BASED ON CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CONTENT BUT WHICH REQUIRE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE PART OF AN ANALYST TO BE RECOGNIZED
A double-cutting edge. This technique has a double-cutting edge: It increases
the credibility of the US/friendly psychological operator while decreasing the credibility
of the enemy to the enemy's target audience. Advanced security clearance must be obtained
before using this technique so that operations or projects will not be jeopardized or
compromised. Actually, propagandists using this technique will normally require access to
special compartmented information and facilities to avoid compromise of other sensitive
operations or projects of agencies of the US Government.
Though such news will be incredible to the enemy public, it should be given full play by the psychological operator. This event and its significance will eventually become known to the enemy public in spite of government efforts to hide it. The public will recall (the psychological operator will "help" the recall process) that the incredible news was received from US/allied sources. They will also recall the deception of their government. The prime requirement in using this technique is that the disseminated incredible truth must be or be certain to become a reality.
Insinuation. Insinuation is used to create or stir up the suspicions of the target audience against ideas, groups, or individuals in order to divide an enemy. The propagandist hints, suggests, and implies, allowing the audience to draw its own conclusions. Latent suspicions and cleavages within the enemy camp are exploited in an attempt to structure them into active expressions of disunity which weaken the enemy's war effort.
- The powerlessness of the individual. (This may be used to split the audience from the policies of its government by disassociating its members from those policies.) This technique could be used in preparing a campaign to gain opposition to those government policies.
- Leading questions: The propagandist may ask questions which suggest only one possible answer. Thus, the question, "What is there to do now that your unit is surrounded and you are completely cut off?" insinuates that surrender or desertion is the only reasonable alternative to annihilation.
- Humor: Humor can be an effective form of insinuation. Jokes and cartoons about the enemy find a ready audience among those persons in the target country or military camp who normally reject straightforward accusations or assertions. Jokes about totalitarian leaders and their subordinates often spread with ease and rapidity. However, the psychological operator must realize that appreciation of humor differs among target groups and so keep humor within the appropriate cultural context.
- Pure motives. This technique makes it clear that the side represented by the propagandist is acting in the best interests of the target audience, insinuating that the enemy is acting to the contrary. For example, the propagandist can use the theme that a satellite force fighting on the side of the enemy is insuring the continued subjugation of its country by helping the common enemy.
- Guilt by association: Guilt by association links a person, group, or idea to other persons, groups, or ideas repugnant to the target audience. The insinuation is that the connection is not mutual, accidental, or superficial.
- Pictorial and photographic propaganda: A photograph, picture, or cartoon can often insinuate a derogatory charge more effectively than words. The combination of words and photograph, picture, or cartoon can be far more effective. In this content, selected and composite photographs can be extremely effective.
- Vocal: Radio propagandists can artfully suggest a derogatory notion, not only with the words they use, but also by the way in which they deliver them. Significant pauses, tonal inflections, sarcastic pronunciation, ridiculing enunciation, can be more subtle than written insinuation.
Lying and distortion. Lying is stating as truth that which is contrary to fact. For example, assertions may be lies. This technique will not be used by US personnel. It is presented for use of the analyst of enemy propaganda.
Simplification. This is a technique in which the many facts of a situation are reduced so the right or wrong, good or evil, of an act or decision is obvious to all. This technique (simplification) provides simple solutions for complex problems. By suggesting apparently simple solutions for complex problems, this technique offers simplified interpretations of events, ideas, concepts, or personalities. Statements are positive and firm; qualifying words are never used.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTENT WHICH MAY BECOME EVIDENT WHEN NUMEROUS PIECES OF OUTPUT ARE EXAMINED
Change of Pace. Change of pace is a technique of switching from belligerent to peaceful output, from "hot" to "cold," from persuasion to threat, from gloomy prophecy to optimism, from emotion to fact.
An idea or position is repeated in an attempt to elicit an almost automatic response from the audience or to reinforce an audience's opinion or attitude. This technique is extremely valid and useful because the human being is basically a creature of habit and develops skills and values by repetition (like walking, talking, code of ethics, etc.). An idea or position may be repeated many times in one message or in many messages. The intent is the same in both instances, namely, to elicit an immediate response or to reinforce an opinion or attitude.
Fear of change. People fear change, particularly sudden, imposed change over which they have no control. They fear it will take from them status, wealth, family, friends, comfort, safety, life, or limb. That's why the man in the foxhole hesitates to leave it. He knows and is accustomed to the safety it affords. He is afraid that moving out of his foxhole will expose him to new and greater danger. That is why the psychological campaign must give him a safe, honorable way out of his predicament or situation.
Terrorism. The United States is absolutely opposed to the use of terror or terror tactics. But the psychological operator can give a boomerang effect to enemy terror, making it reverberate against the practitioner, making him repugnant to his own people, and all others who see the results of his heinous savagery. This can be done by disseminating fully captioned photographs in the populated areas of the terrorist's homeland. Such leaflets will separate civilians from their armed forces; it will give them second thoughts about the decency and honorableness of their cause, make them wonder about the righteousness of their ideology, and make the terrorists repugnant to them. Follow-up leaflets can "fire the flames" of repugnancy, indignation, and doubt, as most civilizations find terror repugnant.
In third countries. Fully captioned
photographs depicting terroristic acts may be widely distributed in third countries
(including the nation sponsoring the enemy) where they will instill a deep revulsion in
the general populace. Distribution in neutral countries is particularly desirable in order
to swing the weight of unbiased humanitarian opinion against the enemy.
The enemy may try to rationalize and excuse its conduct (terroristic), but in so doing, it will compound the adverse effect of its actions, because it can never deny the validity of true photographic representations of its acts. Thus, world opinion will sway to the side of the victimized people.
Friendly territory. Under no circumstances should such leaflets be distributed in friendly territory. To distribute them in the friendly area in which the terrorists' acts took place would only create feelings of insecurity. This would defeat the purpose of the psychological operator, which is to build confidence in the government or agency he represents.
The above sections may be referenced directly in urls, etc.
Both inductive and deductive arguments, even when properly formed, may result in invalid conclusions if the terms of the argument are not properly formed. The study of these sorts of errors (called fallacies) is called rhetoric. There are seven main fallacies:
Fallacy of Relevance: The argument does not relate to the issue it is supposed to be addressing.
Accident & Hasty Generalization: This fallacy occurs by moving from the group to the individual (when the group characteristic is not universal), and from the particular to the universal. For example, People in this neighborhood have incomes above $100,000; you live in this neighborhood, so your income must be above $100,000 may or may not be trueit depends on whether the group characteristic (income above $100,000) is a universal (in order to live in this neighborhood, you must have an income above $100,000) or a generalization (the average income in this neighborhood is above $100,000). Similarly, This crow is black, so all crows are black may or may not be trueif all birds in the family crow must have black feathers, then it is true; but if the color of the feathers is accidental (e.g., can there be albino crows?), then it is not.
Complex Question: This fallacy occurs when two (or more) questions are combined into one, such as Have you stopped beating your children yet? This assumes two questionsHave you ever beaten your children? and If so, have you stopped beating your children?
Begging the Question: This fallacy occurs when the answer to a question assumes what the question was asking in the first place, rather than providing proof (circular reasoning). For example, Your work does not meet performance standareds because it is unsatisfactory. (And why is it unsatisfactory? Because it fails to meet performance standards!).
Irrelevant Conclusion: This is similar to begging the question, except that a conclusion is offered which appears to answer the question, but it does not necessarily come from the data which were offered in evidence. For example, Look at all the effort I am putting forth; of course Im an effective manager! (as if effort and effectiveness were the same thing).
Fallacy of Ambiguity: A shift in the meaning of the middle term creates the appearance of a valid argument:
Excerpted from URSI 609--Applied Quantitative Analysis by Tony Filipovitch
(The claim that there are seven main types of fallacies, followed by a listing of only six is how it appears in the original. I'm not sure if this is a gaffe, a clever joke, or an example of one of the types of fallacies. Perhaps a fallacy of ommission.)