A citizens guide to understanding corporate media propaganda techniques

Posted: January 11th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian

by Earthblog News

Following this brief introduction is an attempt to enumerate powerful propaganda techniques being used on the American public by the corporate or so called “mainstream” media. Give this a good read, and my guess is that after you are armed with this important information, you will be able to spot these techniques as they are being deployed against you. The best way to counter propaganda is to understand the techniques and how they are used.

framing the debate

Debate a legitimate issue, and ostensibly have both sides represented, but instead on the continuum of opinion, have one from the middle and one from an extreme view and thus contain the debate to meet your ideological framing and goals. Alternatively, have a strong debater for one side, and a weak debater for the point of view you would like to suppress.

programming the viewers attitudes

This is one of the most common propaganda techniques. Cover a story, complete with your ideological spin, and then follow up with interviews of  “ordinary people” who support your point of view but frame it as the popular point of view or the only point of view. The viewer walks away with a powerful form of sub conscious attitude programming.


This is another common technique in use today. Instead of covering stories that matter, cover irrelevant, trivial stories about entertainers or celebrities and blow them up into grand productions so you don’t have to discuss anything that really matters, or when something happens that you don’t want to discuss but ordinarily would be forced by popular opinion to discuss, generate a distraction which you discuss instead.

fluff and ice cream cones

Run feel good stories about puppies and teddy bears. Regardless of what really happens or the actual state of affairs, convey the message that all is good, America is great, and things are the same as they always have been. Leverage what people like and what people are compassionate towards to build  trust and leave the viewer feeling happy and complacent. Always.

artificial reality

By framing the entire programming of the network, you can create an artificial reality, posing as the truth.

Ex:  xyz is a desired reality or propaganda point….

good looking, likable, trusted newscaster – “I believe xyz and I think the majority of Americans are right there with me”. Not. This is pure propaganda in it’s most overt form.

direct programming

In this method, a story is covered with the specific intent of a viewer walking away holding a desired point of view. The actual coverage of the story as compared to the truth could range from slightly true to entirely untrue.

special interest ads posing as news stories

In this technique, a special interest advertisement will be crafted as if it is a news story and presented as such.

the big lie technique

Tell a lie so large that no one will question the authenticity because of the size of the lie


This is a simple technique. For news that doesn’t fit your agenda, or news that might cause your advertisers or special interest supporters to withhold support, for news that might not fit with the overall story line and talking points…just don’t cover the story. Alternatively, if a high profile person carries an opinion or message you would like to suppress, don’t ever invite that person as a guest.

friendly fire

Repeatedly have as guests, people who strongly support your causes, or alternatively have weak debaters appear to represent causes you don’t support

historical revision

Omit unflattering feedback and generate your own positive feedback

winning the viewer

Attempt to foster goodwill and viewer loyalty by covering fluff stories using likable or attractive people and personalities in a way that ordinary viewers or readers can identify with. In this way, people are more likely to swallow the dope.

emphasis and repetition

Cover stories which match your agenda over and over and over……and over.


invite often, people with so called “credentials”, who pose as “experts”, “professors” or other lofty titles who support the network point of view as if it is the truth. Often, these so called experts will have a financial or career interest, or some other political or ideological affiliation regarding their point of view that is not disclosed.

repeating a lie

George Orwell said that if you repeat a lie frequently enough, people will take it to be true


People or personalities whose opinion or positions are to be suppressed are subtly (or not so subtly) vilified and sabotaged, usually by over blowing a trivial issue relating to something people are sympathetic to

keep only team players

If a newscaster, commentator or journalist or editor has the wrong opinion, fire them and replace them with someone with the correct opinion.

imbedded editorial views in news stories

In Journalism, the editorial page is where opinion is expressed, but editorial views can be subtly introduced into “news” to program the viewer or reader

lies as truth

Run  a story or headline that you know isn’t true to support your point of view. In a subtler form, mis translate or misquote to suit. Alternatively, publish or sponsor polls intended to give a desired result.

deciding who is sane on behalf of the viewer or reader

portray points of view you would like to suppress as extreme, or crazy, dangerous or not legitimate. If necessary, call in one of your “experts” for emphasis

advertising as news

Run goodwill stories about advertisers, or for that matter about your parent company, as if you are covering news or human interest stories.

the hostile or friendly interview

Interview people whose views you support in a friendly manner. Interview people whose views you would like to suppress in a hostile manner. This technique is most effective when kept low key.A variation of this techinique is to invite a guest for an “interview”, then have an aggressive personality talk over them the whole time and repeat as truth things they never said or things they said out of context.

humor as a propaganda tool

feature comedic acts or jokes that support your point of view. Alternatively, feature humor that is in poor taste which supports your point of view or ideological agenda.

unflattering (or flattering) handles

corral an entire group of people into a pidgeon hole, by crafting handles that carry positive or negative connotations.


He is a “conspiracy theorist” (negative connotation) used to tar anyone who contradicts the party line

He is a “goldbug” (negative connotation) used to subliminally encourage the idea that someone favorable to owning gold is a kook or single minded extremist.

use the power of words to emphasize or de emphasize acts or information

The crowd was “peppered” with hellfire missiles

divide and conquer

create simple minded divisions between groups of people to keep them distracted and arguing among themselves over mostly trivial issues.

using anonymous sources

Generate “news” using anonymous sources. This technique could range from mis quoting, to outright fabrication and lying. ie. an anonymous source that is entirely fiction and created to generate a certain reaction or artificial reality.

using guided imagery

This is an advanced technique which is now pervasive in all PR, Advertising and corporate programming as well as central banking. The idea is a takeoff on the idea popularized by George Soros which is that “markets influence events they anticipate“. By the same token, there is an assumption that if the people are told something as if it is true, then it will in fact become true. You could call this moulding public opinion. An example of this would be saying as if it is fact, “70 percent of the country is in favor of xyz”. The idea is that this repeated, will have the effect of causing the public opinion to actually be that. Another would be “we have green shoots” or “the country is out of the recession”, with the idea being that if you state this as fact, then people will have more confidence and spend and it will become true.

using music, lighting and effects

Music and lighting effects can be powerful promoters of feelings and emotion. Both are heavily employed, and deployed against the public. For example, when promoting the party line, be sure to have the music set to create all the right feelings and emotions. Create emphasis by dramatic lighting or by talking loud and fast of soft and somber. Have your points of view represented by people who are just like you.

fabricated evidence

This technique is practiced by promoting as self sourced or repeating evidence that could range from non existent to fabricated. This could include doctored photographs to include, exclude or exaggerate information, audio recordings and video productions, as well as dossiers or written documents. Any or all of which promoted as “the truth” and may in fact have only some basis in truth or be entirely fabricated. It could in fact have been a paid for promotion.

leveraging the media empire

The media empire can be used by the parent company for advertising, propaganda and goodwill. This is a very broad arena where subtle or overt techniques can be used. You can use your music empire to promote your viewpoint or more importantly, eliminate alternative points of view. You can advertise for your theme park in the name of news. You can promote your ideals with a consistent message throughout your subsidiaries and enterprises. You can promote or demote points of view you agree or disagree with. As media empires become ever fewer, ever larger, and ever more powerful, this tactic becomes more and more potent.

serialization of a related chain of events and the memory hole

This technique works to reconcile incompatible truths by deconstructing all events to a serial chain, and discarding all past information unless not doing so proves particularly useful. This is what George Orwell referred to as the “memory hole” where if you remember the past version of the truth, then the current version of the truth is not compatible with that version of the truth; therefore there should be no memory of the past unless it is a reverse engineered version. Otherwise, incongruences are generated. At least the news isn’t covering it. That’s the point. You are supposed to forget the past and concentrate on what you are being told today. It’s all a serial chain of sound bites and propaganda intended and engineered to give desired current results.

cooking the headlines

Headline tickers offer endless opportunities for revisionist or deceptive news and fast, efficient propaganda programming. There are more people reading the headline tickers than are following the actual stories. For example, hundreds of people in an airport may be just following the headline ticker….people receiving a news stream on the internet may be only looking at headlines. Therefore, if you can cook the headlines you effectively get “propaganda leverage”. Furthermore, people remember the headlines without necessarily following the actual story.

technique #1. – deceptive headlines designed to convey a certain message, but based on an actual event

technique #2 – false headlines ie “WMD found in Iraq”. Over 70 percent of the US population came to believe that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, and the reason is that headlines were running which repeatedly made that claim, although it was entirely untrue.

technique #3 – embedding propaganda as reasons in headlines, ie “stocks soared today because…(made up propaganda reason follows)”

repetition and trust

There are 300 million Americans in the United States and yet spanning the entire corporate media, the people invited on as regulars could fill a gymnasium. The point is that if “trusted” sources are developed and cultivated by the corporate media, people will come to believe what they say, regardless of what they say or how wrong they have been in the past. Propagandists are held out by the corporate media to the public as “experts” who do not represent the centrist views of the majority of Americans, have been wrong about nearly everything they have ever said, and these people are never held to account. At the same time, people who have been correct or people who have views that represent mainstream America remain off the people’s radar, never or rarely invited as guests except maybe for a hostile interview.

In sum total this technique can be used to generate a heavy handed dose of artificial reality.

subliminal messages

Anything you say while wearing an American Flag lapel pin is patriotic.

The topic of subliminal messages could probably justify a post in itself. In short, at the subliminal level, advertisers and the media like to link things together. In general, they want to link positive things, things you want to be, things you see yourself as, things you support, things you desire or desire to be, to themselves, to the dope they are pushing, or to their advertisers. If they are doing their job well, you will never even be aware it’s happening.

Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.“– Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials


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