Use of Propaganda in Bush's Speech 2006

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Communication Theory 3

The Use of Propaganda in George W. Bush’s
State of the Union Speech 2006

By
Parisa Taghipoor
ICV 2c

List of Contents

1. Introduction..............................................................................................................3

2. What is Propaganda? .............................................................................................3

3. Background of the speech.......................................................................................4

4. The use of propaganda in the State of the Union speech 2006...............................5
4.1 One-sided Perspective.........................................................................................5

4.2. Justification for war..............................................................................................7

4.3. Emotional appeal.................................................................................................8

5. Connection to the theory...........................................................................................9

6. How does the audience react?.................................................................................10

7. Conclusion................................................................................................................11

Reference List...............................................................................................................12

1. Introduction

If one thinks of propaganda the first association is mostly the way Nazi-Germany persuaded the people. But is propaganda only an outdated system of communication used by regimes that oppress the people living in the country? Or is propaganda also in use of countries that have democratically elected governments? In the following essay we would like to find out if propaganda was used in the United States in the context of the Iraq war. Therefore we are going to analyse the State of the Union speech of 2006. This essay will start with a definition of propaganda and background information of the speech. The propaganda aspects will be discussed in the next part of the essay. That part is subdivided in the subareas “one-sided perspective” of the speech, justifications of war in the speech, and emotional appeals. In the next part we will connect the speech to some communication theories about propaganda. Last but not least there will be a chapter about the reaction of the audience towards propaganda in the United States.

2. What is propaganda?

The term propaganda is difficult to define and there are many different attempts because of its broad meaning and different connotations. In general it can be said that it is one-way-communication with the purpose to influence and manipulate the receiver and lead his opinion to a certain direction. Propaganda is related to advertisement and public relations which goal is to promote a commercial product or brand. However, the term propaganda is more likely to be used in connection with politics and promoting ideas. There are many different ways to perform propaganda as well as there are various instruments and devices. Therefore, there it can be difficult to detect it because it comes in different forms and shapes. Propaganda is likely to appeal to emotions rather than to facts and information. By arousing the audience’s feelings about an issue it is often easier to persuade them than by giving many complicated facts. For example fear or euphoria can be spread amongst the audience to influence them. The information given tends to be simple but intense. Often it is generalized and contains only half-truths. For instance only the favourable facts are presented to the audience while the less favourable issues are being ignored. Also scapegoating and stereotyping is used to arouse prejudices amongst the audience to provide a target that is to be blamed. Another tool that is often used by...
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