Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bill O'Reilly less nuanced than Father Charles Coughlin:

That's what an Indiana University study says:
Using analysis techniques first developed in the 1930s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Conway, Grabe and Grieves found that O'Reilly employed six of the seven propaganda devices nearly 13 times each minute in his editorials. His editorials also are presented on his Web site and in his newspaper columns.

The seven propaganda devices include:
  • Name calling -- giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence;
  • Glittering generalities -- the oppositie of name calling;
  • Card stacking -- the selective use of facts and half-truths;
  • Bandwagon -- appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd;
  • Plain folks -- an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are "of the people";
  • Transfer -- carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept; and
  • Testimonials -- involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.
The same techniques were used during the late 1930s to study another prominent voice in a war-era, Father Charles Coughlin. His sermons evolved into a darker message of anti-Semitism and fascism, and he became a defender of Hitler and Mussolini. In this study, O'Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than Coughlin.
That's saying something.

Nerds may remember there was a game called Wff 'n Proof that dealt with logic. There was another game from the company called Propaganda (for ages 11 and up!). I had, and still have it. In the game, you learn to recognize various techniques that are used to win an arguement - even when the facts are not on your side. And anyone who watches or reads O'Reilly can see that he uses them all the time.


Great post and surprise. I not only remember wiff n proof and propoganda games but still have them too ---always thought they should be part of everyone's education

By Anonymous LML, at 5/09/2007 4:37 PM  

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