Resources for studying propaganda

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A number of useful resources for studying propaganda are available, including web sites and books.

Powerbase resources

  • SpinWatch is the main website of Public Interest Investigations, which sponsors Powerbase.
  • How to research front groups provides helpful advice and a list of useful databases and other resources on the Internet.
  • Research using the web provides tips on searching the web and a list of useful databases for researchers.


  • Bill Chapman's Classroom Tools offers a variety of lesson plans and other materials for teachers looking for ways to help their students achieve media literacy in the information age, including a lesson plan on propaganda.
  • The Center for Cooperative Research seeks to encourage grassroots participation and collaboration in the documentation of the public historical record using an open-content model. Its research projects include a Complete 9-11 timeline with a section on war propaganda, as well as profiles of people, corporations, organizations, governmental bodies and political parties.
  • Museum of Public Relations: Created by the Specter & Associates PR firm, this site offers a largely sanitized stroll through the industry's history.
  • Nazi and East German Propaganda Guide Page: A collection of English translations of propaganda material from Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic.
  • Propaganda: Analysis, with current and historical examples, of rhetorical tactics often used by propagandists, based on the framework developed in the 1930s by the now-defunct Institute for Propaganda Analysis. Rhetorical techniques examined include name-calling, glittering generalities, euphemisms, transfer (propaganda technique)|transfer, testimonial, plain folks, bandwagon, fear and unwarranted extrapolation.
  • Vanderbilt Television News Archives is the world's most extensive and complete archive of television news. The collection holds more than 30,000 individual network evening news broadcasts from the major U.S. national broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN, and more than 9,000 hours of special news-related programming including ABC's Nightline since 1989. The archives are searchable by topic; you can view summaries of the program for free, and videotape copies are available for a fee.


  • Alex Carey, Taking the Risk out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty (Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1995), ISBN 0-252-06616-2. Carey analyses how the corporate elite has successfully sold its values to the rest of society, ensuring that the electorate stay 'soft' on business.
  • Guy Cook, Genetically Modified Language: The Discourse of Arguments for GM Crops and Food (Routledge, 2004), ISBN 0415314682. Cook exposes how GM foods and crops are promoted using selective use of words. Cook's methods of analysis can be applied to many fields in which propaganda is used, including terrorology and corporate science in general.
  • Stuart Ewen, PR! A Social History of Spin (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1996), ISBN 0-465-06168-0. Ewen examines the historical origins of the public relations industry.
  • Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Vintage, 1998), ISBN 0099533111.
  • Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 1999), ISBN 0-7619-1147-2. Jowett and O'Donnell offer a scholarly analysis of the history of propaganda from antiquity, beginning with Alexander the Great and ending with the first war in the Persian Gulf.
  • Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Penguin, 2008), ISBN 0141024534. Klein exposes how atrocities and disasters are created and exploited by those who aim to expand their wealth and power, under a cloak of ideology.
  • Clayton R. Koppes and Gregory D. Black, Hollywood Goes to War: How Politics, Profits and Propaganda Shaped World War II Movies (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990), ISBN 0-520-07161-1. Koppes and Black offer a fascinating examination of the relationship between the Roosevelt administration and Hollywood filmmakers, showing how propaganda influenced movies such as Little Tokyo, USA, Confessions of a Nazi Spy, Mr. Lucky, Mrs. Miniver and Casablanca.
  • William Lutz, Doublespeak (New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1990), ISBN 0-06-016134-5. Lutz, a professor at Rutgers University, shows how doublespeak jargon has polluted the public mindspace with phrases designed to obscure the meaning of plain English. Examples include revenue enhancement (tax increase), negative patient care outcome (death), and energetic disassembly (an explosion at a nuclear power plant).
  • Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995, ISBN 1-56751-060-4.
  • Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Trust Us, We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future (New York, NY: Tarcher/Putnam, 2001), ISBN 1-58542-139-1.
  • Andrew Rowell, Green Backlash: Global Subversion of the Environment Movement (Routledge, 1996), ISBN 0415128285. Rowell tells the story of how corporations and the extreme right fought to undermine environmentalism by framing and manipulating the debate.
  • Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1994), ISBN 0-19-510292-4.