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What are some well-known propaganda techniques?

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Quick Answer

Some well-known propaganda techniques include name-calling, glittering-generalities, testimonial and plain-folks. Propaganda techniques are methods used to strengthen the spread of an idea supporting a cause, whether religious, political, civil or commercial. Propaganda seeks to manipulate its recipients' feelings and reasoning.

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Name-calling attaches a negative label or description to a subject in order to help a propagandist avoid supporting his or her opinion with actual facts. Rather than addressing real issues, name-calling serves to degrade a subject through the use of negative language. Political attack ads commonly make use of name-calling to criticize opposing candidates. Glittering-generalities is essentially a reversal of name calling, which uses positive words to reinforce a subject's character. Glittering-generalities are words like "good," "fair" or "honest," which have little objective meaning but can neither be proven nor disproven.

Testimonial is another popular propaganda technique which makes use of a famous or popular personality to support a person or thing. Celebrity endorsements are a common example of testimonials. This technique depends on the public's respect for a celebrity spokesperson, often completely independent of that spokesperson's knowledge of the person or product being supported. The plain-folks technique takes a similar approach, but uses ordinary people instead of celebrities. By showing average citizens supporting something or someone, the propagandist draws a connection between the subject and the common people, rendering the subject more relatable.

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