Propaganda in America Essay
Propaganda is one of the most widespread forms of persuasion and influence. Propaganda makes its subtle appearance in magazines, newspapers, television, books, posters, billboards, numerous other locations. It has been around for centuries seeping into each generation over and over. Finally, we see the effects of propaganda on millions of Americans today as it influences our choices and opinions. Propaganda displays itself in four different forms such as testimonial, assertion, bandwagon, and plain folk. These are different forms, but each one serves an identical purpose.
The purpose is to convince and influence. At the same time, each form of propaganda has a certain hidden yet universal truth. The truth that propaganda can be manipulative, propaganda can be false and misleading, and propaganda changes one’s opinion or thinking to one side, the winning side. Propaganda has proved its truth of manipulation using the form of testimonial. Testimonial is a form of propaganda in which a respectable person or well-known public figure is associated with the advertised product. This form is very broad and can be found in a variety of products.
Ernie Ball guitar strings is one of these products. “Jimmy Page has relied on Ernie Balls strings for over 45 years both live and in the studio” (Ernie Ball). Jimmy Page is an unquestionably talented, influential, soulful, and versatile guitarist. The ad associates Jimmy Page with Ernie Ball guitar strings. They try to say that Ernie Ball strings are what made him so amazing. The ad states that Jimmy Page has ‘relied’ on Ernie Ball strings implying that the consumer can also rely on Ernie Ball guitar strings.
The consumer gets a sense that if Jimmy Page thinks these are good strings then I should too, but there is no way of telling if this is true or false as people usually don’t research the ad or what it is advertising. The company could have bent the truth because in the ad Jimmy Page didn’t physically say that he had been using these strings. Either way, the consumer ends up buying the strings. If the strings were a waste of money, the consumer could feel like he/she was lied to. They would no longer trust the company, and if they told other people about this nd those people told other people, it would end up with a mass of people saying that the company is not a reliable one. Therefore, the company’s sales would decrease. The consumer would lose trust in other companies, and they might be more wary of propaganda. Also, they might lose trust in Jimmy Page. Propaganda is makes people look at what’s on the outside, not on the inside where it conceals the manipulation and other truths. Propaganda also shows its placid, devious self in the form of assertion.
Assertion is another form of propaganda; it is popular in advertising and more modern propaganda. Again, Ernie Ball has used propaganda in this form. “The world’s most powerful strings have arrived” (Ernie Ball). The ad energetically and enthusiastically gives a statement disguised as a fact. The ad states that Ernie Ball strings are the most powerful strings, but they provide no explanation, no visual proof, and no evidence to back it up. Ernie Ball makes the statement seem like a believable one, so the customer does not need to check its authenticity.
There is nothing to prevent the customer from making the decision, not even a “if you take this you could die” warning. The consumer will be inclined to buy the strings, and will eventually buy the strings. If the product does live up to its expectation this is good for the company. The consumer might get the strings again, and if the word is spread that these are good strings, then more and more people will buy the strings. The consumer’s might also look into other products that the company makes. He/she might also like other companies associated with Ernie Ball and so on, and so on.
Many Americans today fall for propaganda like this, and propaganda doesn’t stop there. As propaganda continues to deceive the minds of Americans every day also using a more social and public form called bandwagon. Bandwagon is a common form of propaganda in which it is trying to convince the subject that one side is the winning side, because more people have joined it. McDonalds, a major fast food company, exemplifies this form of propaganda from television to billboards. “McDonalds: Over 99 billion served” (Young).
Here McDonalds states that they have served over 99 billion people implying that the company is extremely popular, further implying that the public must love McDonalds. If a consumer were to look at this ad, he/she would feel that this is a popular place to go looking at the sheer number of people going. McDonalds makes all the other restaurants look miniscule. He/she would feel McDonalds is the place to go, that there is no other restaurant better than McDonalds. The consumer develops a one sided opinion. This ends up with the consumer feeling much more inclined to buy at McDonalds.
If they love it, they will continue to go there. They might love it so much that they go there more and more resulting in a large amount of junk food consumption. Eating too much can result in obesity. Then the consumer would have to spend extra time and money to lose the fat. If he/she didn’t lose the fat, then he/she might be bullied, which would result in social and emotional problems, and possible suicide. Propaganda is small, but the effect it has is enormous, and Americans today are seeing more and more of each day.
Propaganda does not only remain in the common everyday advertising, it also shows itself in politics. This time propaganda disguises itself as one of us, and it uses the form of plain folk. Plain folk is yet another form of propaganda in which the propagandist tries to make contact with the common public. “Bill Clinton presents himself as an average American, by eating at McDonalds and reading trashy spy novels” (Propaganda Techniques). This is a form of Plain folk. Here Clinton convinces the public that his views reflect theirs, trying to show that he is one of the public, an average American.
He uses McDonalds as a place to prove how average he is. Many would think that being the president of the United Stated he would go to a fancy, extravagant place for a meal. Instead, he goes to McDonalds, a common place to eat, showing he is just a plain man, and being a plain man he is just like the average American, so he can understand your problems. A voter might feel that Clinton feels that shouldn’t be president because he would know nothing about every day struggles, but after seeing he is a humble man eating at a McDonalds, can have a change in opinion.
Now he/she might cast their vote for Clinton. Every vote counts, even one vote could make him win. This is a big decision; it is deciding who will be the figure head for America. The power to help America, the one who make our moves, the one who leads us, is all decided by our votes. The fate of the U. S depends on it, and propaganda influences the decisions that are made to determine this fate. Propaganda is not something that vanishes, it is always there. Maybe it is blatant or subtle, but it is always there.
Many people have fallen for propaganda. Some people fall for propaganda and brush it off as if nothing had happened; however, some people for it bad and sometimes it ends up ruining their lives. Propaganda doesn’t just harm and just halt there, it causes a chain reaction. One thing leads to another. Propaganda has been running amuck for the past century, today it becomes even more serious as it delves into matters such as politics. Propaganda gets to a person’s mind and can manipulate it, change the way they feel about something. Propaganda is something that you cannot fight unless you have knowledge.
Work Cited List
“Ernie Ball Artists – Jimmy Page. ” Ernie Ball. N. p. , n. d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. . R, James. “The World’s Most Powerful Strings Have Arrived!! Ernie Ball Cobalt Strings. ” The World’s Most Powerful Strings Have Arrived!! Ernie Ball Cobalt Strings A« Paul Bothner Music. Paul Bothner Music, 25 July 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. . Write Work contributors. “Propaganda Techniques” WriteWork. com. WriteWork. com, 30 October, 2002. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. Young, Paull. “McDonalds. ” 2006. JPEG.