DOCUMENT RESUME ED 312 689 AUTHOR Sproule J Michael

Document Resume Ed 312 689 Author Sproule J Michael-Free PDF

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Propaganda Five American Schools of Thought,J Michael Sproule. Department of Communication Studies,San Jose State University. San Jose California USA 95192 0112,408 924 5390,Presented at. The Biennial Convention of the World Communication Association. August 2 10 1989 Singapore, Grateful acknowledgement for support of this research is due the. National Endowment for the Humanities for a Fellowship FB. 21790 83 a Summer Stipend F 21734 82 and a Travel to. Collections Grant FE 21009 87 awarded to this author. PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE THIS U S DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. MATERIAL HAS BEEN GRANTED BY Office of Educational Research and Improvement. EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION,J Mick e 1 5pr CENTER ERIC.
r This documer I has been reproduced as,received from the Person or organization. originating it,r Minor changes have been made to improve. BEST COPY AVAILABLE reproduch in quality, 10 THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES Roues of view or opinions stated in this docu. INFORMATION CENTER ERIC ment do not necessarily represent official. OEM position or policy,Propaganda Five American Schools of Thought. by J Michael Sproule, One result of the revival of critical media studies in the.
United States has been the reemergence of propaganda as a. significant theoretical term for the study of social influence. Jowett 1987 Sproule 1987 Once a dominant rubric for. research into mass communication the concept of propaganda. became dormant in academe during the 1950s when social scientists. sought a less pejorative expression for their inquiries Doob. 1966 p vi 1982 Today s new terminological turn or, return presents critics with the unprecedented opportunity for. rediscovering a long disparaged but quite rich legacy of American. propaganda studies that began during the progressive era. The legacy of domestic American writings on propaganda. elucidates a number of enduring questions in communication. inquiry The continuing dialogue between progressive critics. media practitioners textual rationalists comunication scien. tists and political polemicists raises questions that inhere to. the transition of America from an agrarian republic to an urban. massmediated democracy For example does mass persuasion act. to conserve or corrode democratic life Taken together the five. schools of American thought on propaganda provide a broad. panorama of ideological diffusion and competition in the United. THE MUCKRAKERS AND THE BIRTH OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, Direct mass persuasion became possible during the post Civil. War period with the rise of modern communication technology. In the early 1800s social influence proceeded chiefly through. speechmaking and pamphleteering By 1870 however persuaders. realized that they could more effec ively reach the public. through newspaper coverage Baskerville 1979 Leonard 1986. Commentators on society were relatively slow to apprehend the. implications for democratic life of social influence exerted. through the content of news Notwithstanding the emergence of. press agents whose job was to slont the news in favor of their. clients Lord Bryce 1899 2 247 374 characterized American. politics as involving an informed electorate making its wishes. directly known to elected representatives Orthodox political. theory gave no explicit attention to news control and orches. trated propaganda campaigns despite the increasing ability of. political and social persuaders to exert an a priori influence on. public opinion, By 1900 heterodox progressives populists and socialists. began to cast doubt on the dominant view of America life as. grounded in rational democratic consensus The agitation of. these dissident groups for government regulation of the economy. alarmed commercial interests with the result that business. increasingly saw a need to speak directly to the public. Ivy Lee a young reporter saw an opportunity for journalists to. serve as public relations advisers to business organizations and. Lee became one of the first of the modern public relations. practitioners Lee recognized that newspapers were becoming. rational economic organizations and that reporters were increas. ingly interested in professional standards Lee convinced. his business clients that in the new era of professionalized. media organizations American business could no longer rely on. bribery and threats as avenues to good press coverage During. the coal strike of 1906 Lee was able to reverse the policy of. press silence that the coal operators maintained during the 1902. strike The result was to give management rather than the stri. kers control coer the public agenda Lee also persuaded the. Pennsylvania Railroad to abandon its policy of blocking news. coverage of railroad accidents He established a new policy of. assisting reporters with good facilities a helpful attitude and. copious handouts Hiebert 1966, Ivy Lee became a spokesman for the incipient practitioner. approach to propaganda Lee denied that the public relations. activities of powerful institutions in any way upset the balance. of forces in society First according Lee the essential. impact of public relations was to make business practices more. attuned to public opinion and therefore inherently more en. lightened Furthermore by keeping to their own ethical codes. public relations practitioners would prevent corrupt practices of. persuasion Lee s 1925 personal ethic of public relations. included never sending out a deliberate lie However Lee. argued that social truth was always relative no one could ever. completely ascertain the facts pertaining to an issue In like. manner Lee contended no one could determine in advance what was. in the best interests of the receiver of a communications In a. world of intellectual relativism Lee s remedy for problems of. propaganda was to have editors and publishers demand to know the. sources of the information and facts they printed, The emerging practitioner approach to propaganda typified.
by Ivy Lee prompted critical comment from the American muck. rakers The muckrakers were a new breed of social critics who. aimed to provide factual realistic appraisals of industrial. urban society As popular writers the muckrakers were personal. ly acquainted with the folkways of journalism and they func. tioned as press agents of progressivism Not only did the. muckrakers expose corrupt practices in business and government. they were sensitive to how anti progressive forces increasingly. relied upon techniques of modern media influence to maintain. their social advantages Representative of the muckraker s. discovery of propaganda as enemy to reform was Ray Stannard. Baker s 1906 essay on How Railroads Make Public Opinion. This article culmination of a five part series on railroad. corruption exposed details of the behind the scenes public. relations campaign launched against regulatory legislation. then pending in Congress Knowing that the fountainhead of. public information is the newspaper a group of railroads hired. a public relations firm to keep track of newspaper coverage and. to visit editors The firm also sent out self serving articles. noting when they were printed as news Avoiding direct bribery. the railroad campaign nevertheless employed economic pressure on. newspapers by encouraging local businesspersons to write letters. or sign petitions against further regulation of railroads. Taking the typical muckraker s view of institutional. persuasion Baker argued that public relations practices repre. sented a threat to democratic social influence Baker argued. that the covert nature of public relations prevented practi. tioners from likening themselves to lawyers in a court of. public opinion Moreover by its nature public relations served. particular as opposed to general interests Muckraker Will. Irwin later identified two overt dangers to the accuracy o f. news First since modern business demands mutual favors. newspapers inevitably avoided offending their major advertisers. Irwin 1911 1969 p 52 Second since editors and publishers. typically associated with the wealthy and powerful they there. fore tended to assimilate upper class views Irwin recommended. increased professionalism as the route to reform in journalism. The collision of corporate persuasion and muckraking. produced an intellectual ferment from which sprang the earliest. two American schools of thought on propaganda the practitioner. school represented by Ivy Lee and the progressive school. advanced by the muckrakers The two schools concurred that. twentieth century social influence increasingly would take the. form of co optation of such ostensibly neutral channels of public. information as the news Characteristic of the practitioner. school was a treatment of institutional social influence as. normal outgrowth of traditional American boosterism and self. advancement Codes of ethics by practitioners would prevent. public relations from threatening society In contrast the. progressive school held public relations practices to be in. herently unfriendly to democracy Progressives believed that. news was tainted by the infiltration of partisan ideologies. therefore journalism contributed to an inherently corrupted. public opinion Progressives saw vigilance by reformers as the. only real antidote for twentieth century propaganda vigilance. expressed in muckraking articles in the new large circulation. THE GREAT WAR AND FUROR OVER PROPAGANDA, U cil 1915 matters of propaganda were of significant. interest only to progressive reformers and to intellectuals The. propaganda struggles of the Allies and the Central Powers. however acted to bring news control and covertly orchestrated. persuasive campaigns to the attention of the general public At. the outset of World War I both the Allies and the Central Powers. developed propaganda campaigns to advance their respective causes. among citizens of the United States the world s most powerful. Aiming to secure both arms and a military alliance Britain. set up a propaganda operation in the U S directed by novelist. Gilbert Parker Squires 1935 Parker s propaganda bureau began. by providing America s opinion leaders with a variety of pam. phlets and publications defending the Allied position and. attacking Germany for her brutality and alleged war atrocities. Parker s group further identified Americans sympathetic to the. Allied cause encouraging these individuals to make statements. and take action in support of the Allied cause The British were. so successful in covering the tracks of their propaganda opera. tion that pro Ally Americans did not realize until after the. war that they had participated in an orchestrated program of. political warfare, Agents of the Imperial German Government and their cohorts. in the German American and Irish American communities realized. that their best hope was to cultivate neutralist sentiment in the. U S Like the British pro German propagandists sent out copious. pamphlets and also encouraged American opinion leaders to express. opinions and take actions favorable to Germany Viereck 1930. However the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915 ultimately. deprived German propagandists of an open minded public Further. undermining the German propaganda was its close administrative. connection with espionage and sabotage Unlike the English who. kept their propagandists well separated from their espionage. agents the German propaganda cabinet in the U S kept close. links to covert bribery espionage and sabotage In a series of. articles August 15 8 1915 the New York World published. documents exposing the covert efforts of leading pro German. propagandists The series showed that the pro Germans worked. to establish newspapers and news services finance professional. lecturers and moving picture shows and to enlist the support of. American citizens and publish books for the sole purpose of. fomenting internal discord among the American people to the. advantage of the German Empire How Germany 1915 p 2 The. result was to make American supporters of Germany such as George. S Viereck editor of The Fatherland appear little more than. hirelings of Berlin German activities as revealed by the. World set the tone for how Americans first understood modern. propaganda Americans saw propaganda in simple partisan terms. as expressed in the phrase The German propaganda Propaganda. was understood as the use by enemy agents of secret subsidies and. bribery to corrupt public opinion through tainted publications. Postwar disillusionment in the United States set the. context for a broadening of the idea of propaganda The opening. of the war archives of the defeated Central Powers provided a. flood of secret diplomatic correspondence that contradicted the. wartime Allied gospel that the war had been the result of a. German Austrian plot Accompanying revisionism on the matter of. war guilt the postwar years saw a blurring of the previous. dichotomy between presumably truthful Allied persuasion and false. German propaganda Postwar exposes showed that many tales of. German war atrocities were exaggerated mythical or even faked. by Allied propagandists Ponsonby 1928 Viereck 1930. The end of the war led to a rethinking by American intellec. tuals and the general public of America s own office of war. persuasion Baker argued that public relations practices repre sented a threat to democratic social influence Baker argued that the covert nature of public relations prevented practi tioners from likening themselves to lawyers in a court of public opinion Moreover by its nature public relations served particular as opposed to general

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