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Microphones-2-.jpg This article is part of the Propaganda Portal project of Spinwatch.

Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels[1]. Simply put, Propaganda can be considered the deliberate use of any form of communication designed to influence the minds, emotions, and actions of a given group for a specific purpose[2].

Propaganda is often classified into three separate genres - White, Grey or Black - depending on the transparency with which it attributes its true authors. White Propaganda is correctly attributed to the sponsor and the source is truthfully identified. Grey Propaganda, on the other hand, is unattributed to the sponsor and conceals the real source of the Propaganda. The objective of Grey Propaganda is to advance viewpoints that are in the interest of the originator but that would be more acceptable to target audiences than official statements. Black Propaganda also camouflages the sponsor's participation. But while Grey Propaganda is unattributed, Black Propaganda is falsely attributed. Black Propaganda is subversive and provocative; it is usually designed to appear to have originated from a hostile source, in order to cause that source embarrassment, to damage its prestige, to undermine its credibility, or to get it to take actions that it might not otherwise[3].

The word 'Propaganda' has strongly negative connotations; people avoid using it to describe their actions because it is often associated with Deception and Disinformation[4].



  1. Richard Nelson (1996), A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States, pp.232–233
  2. Paul Linebarger (1954), Psychological Warfare, Combat Forces Press: Washington, DC. p.39.
  3. Kenneth Osgood (2002), Propaganda, Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, accessed 02 April 2015
  4. William Levinson (1999), An Introduction to Propaganda, Stentorian website, accessed 02 April 2015