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Unit V
The Media
Influencing Government
State Government
Local Government
• Propaganda is a type of message aimed
at influencing the opinions or behavior of
• Often, instead of impartially providing
information, propaganda can be
deliberately misleading, or use fallacies
(lies), which, while sometimes convincing,
are not necessarily valid.
This visual from the mid-1930's shows Germany in white,
with the 100,000-man army permitted by the Treaty of
Versailles, surrounded by heavily armed neighbors.
The caption: "The Jew: The
inciter of war, the prolonger
of war.“
This 1940 poster advertises the
worst of the Nazi anti-Semitic
films, "The Eternal Jew."
The text translates as:
"Mothers! Fight for your
children!" Note that the
mother portrayed has four
children, consistent with
the Nazi goal of
encouraging as many
births as possible.
This Mjölnir poster appeared
in February 1943, just after
the defeat at Stalingrad. It
was part of a major
propaganda campaign with
the theme “Victory or
Bolshevist Chaos.” The
party’s propagandists were
told to make sure the poster
was posted by itself rather
than next to other posters.
The text translates as:
"Victory or Bolshevism."
Types of Propaganda
• Labeling – name calling
• Glittering generalities - vague statements with no
• Card Stacking – giving only the facts that you
want to
• Transfer – associating a symbol with a candidate
• Plain Folks – “common man”
• Testimonial – celebrity endorsement
• Bandwagon – everyone is doing it/peer pressure
• Fear – scare people into action
Other Forms of Propaganda
• Ad Hominem: A Latin phrase which has
come to mean attacking your opponent, as
opposed to attacking their arguments.
Example: “This comes from a guy who
can’t even spell the word ‘potato’!”
• Appeal to fear: Appeals to fear seek to
build support by instilling anxieties and
panic in the general population. “If we
don’t stop driving SUV’s, their exhaust will
melt the ice caps and we’ll all die!”
• Appeal to authority: Appeals to authority cite
prominent figures to support a position, idea,
argument, or course of action. Appealing to
authority is a valid type of argument if the
authority being appealed to is a noted expert in
the area in question. However, if an argument,
say on a medical issue, is supported by
appending the support of a political or military
authority, it may not be a valid form of argument.
• Example: “4 out of 5 scientists surveyed believe
that global warming is a fact, not a theory.”
• Appeal to Prejudice: Using loaded or
emotive terms to attach value or moral
goodness to believing the proposition.
• For example, the "A reasonable,
community-minded person would have to
agree that those who do not work, and
who do not support the community do not
deserve the community's support through
social assistance."
• Argumentum ad nauseam: This
argument approach uses tireless repetition
of an idea. An idea, especially a simple
slogan, that is repeated enough times,
may begin to be taken as the truth. This
approach works best when media sources
are limited and controlled by the
propagator. If a lie can be repeated often
enough, it will be believed by many
• Bandwagon: Bandwagon and "inevitablevictory" appeals attempt to persuade the target
audience to join in and take the course of action
that "everyone else is taking."
– Inevitable victory: invites those not already on the
bandwagon to join those already on the road to
certain victory. Those already or at least partially on
the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is
their best course of action.
– Join the crowd: This technique reinforces people's
natural desire to be on the winning side. This
technique is used to convince the audience that a
program is an expression of an irresistible mass
movement and that it is in their best interest to join.
• Black-and-White fallacy: Presenting only
two choices, with the product or idea being
propagated as the better choice.
• (Example: "You are either with us, or you
are against us")
• Beautiful people: The type of propaganda
that deals with either famous people or
just plain beautiful people. This makes
other people think that if they buy this
product, they will be just like them. This is
widely used in advertising, often in
conjunction with a testimonial.
• Card-Stacking or Cherry-Picking is the
deliberate selection of certain facts to
prove a case. The whole story is not told,
as some facts may be damaging to the
argument. This technique is commonly
used by children attempting to convince
their parents.
• Common man: The “plain folks” or “grass roots”
approach attempts to convince the audience that the
propagandist's positions reflect the common sense of the
people. It is designed to win the confidence of the
audience by communicating in the common manner and
style of the target audience. Propagandists use ordinary
language and mannerisms (and clothe their message in
face-to-face and audiovisual communications) in
attempting to identify their point of view with that of the
average person. For example, a propaganda leaflet may
make an argument on a macroeconomic issue, such as
unemployment insurance benefits, using everyday
terms: “Given that the country has little money during
this recession, we should stop paying unemployment
benefits to those who do not work, because that is like
maxing out all your credit cards during a tight period,
when you should be tightening your belt."
• Demonizing the Enemy: Making individuals
from the opposing nation or group, or those who
support the opposing viewpoint, appear to be
subhuman, worthless, or immoral, through
suggestion or false accusations.
A U.S. WWII Propaganda poster.
• Direct Order: This technique hopes to simplify
the decision making process by using images
and words to tell the audience exactly what
actions to take, eliminating any other possible
choices. Authority figures can be used to give
the order, overlapping it with the Appeal to
Authority technique, but not necessarily.
• Euphoria: The use of an event that generates
euphoria or happiness, or using an appealing event to
boost morale. Euphoria can be created by declaring a
holiday, making luxury items available, or mounting a
military parade with marching bands and patriotic
From the NAZI Propaganda
Film “Triumph of the Will”. This
is a crowd of 160,000 at a
1934 rally in Nuremburg,
marching in parades, listening
to heroic speeches and music
from military bands.
• Falsifying information: The creation or
deletion of information from public
records, in the purpose of making a false
record of an event or the actions of a
person or organization. Pseudo-sciences
are often used to falsify information.
• Flag-waving: An attempt to justify an action on
the grounds that doing so will make one more
patriotic, or in some way benefit a group,
country, or idea. The feeling of patriotism which
this technique attempts to inspire may diminish
or entirely omit one's capability for rational
examination of the matter in question.
• Glittering Generalities: Glittering generalities
are emotionally appealing words applied to
a product or idea, but which present no
concrete argument or analysis. A famous
example is the campaign slogan "Gerald
Ford has a better idea!"
• Intentional Vagueness: Generalities are
deliberately vague so that the audience may
supply its own interpretations. The intention is to
move the audience by use of undefined phrases,
without analyzing their validity or attempting to
determine their reasonableness or application.
The intent is to cause people to draw their own
interpretations rather than simply being
presented with an explicit idea. In trying to
"figure out" the propaganda, the audience
foregoes judgment of the ideas presented. Their
validity, reasonableness and application is not
• Obtain disapproval: This technique is used to
persuade a target audience to disapprove of an
action or idea by suggesting that the idea is
popular with groups hated, feared, or held in
contempt by the target audience. Thus if a group
which supports a certain policy is led to believe
that undesirable, subversive, or contemptible
people support the same policy, then the
members of the group may decide to change
their original position.
• In modern usage, this is called a “wedge
technique” or “wedge issue”.
• Quotes out of Context: Selective editing of
quotes which can change meanings. Political
documentaries designed to discredit an
opponent or an opposing political viewpoint
often make use of this technique.
• Even the deletion of the word “not” can alter the
very meaning of a message.
• Rationalization: Individuals or groups may use
favorable generalities to rationalize questionable
acts or beliefs. Vague and pleasant phrases are
often used to justify such actions or beliefs.
• Example: Genocide is often called “Ethnic
Cleansing” by the perpetrators.
• Red Herring: Presenting data or issues that,
while striking or interesting, are irrelevant to the
argument at hand, and then claiming that it
validates the argument.
• Topic: Foreign Aid to Africa. A Red Herring
would be a chart showing health care statistics
in the U.S. It might be interesting, but irrelevant
to the topic of Foreign Aid.
• Scapegoating: Assigning blame to an individual
or group, thus alleviating feelings of guilt from
responsible parties and/or distracting attention
from the need to fix the problem for which blame
is being assigned. Example: “Republicans are
giving a tax cut to the rich.”
• Slogans: A slogan is a brief, striking phrase that
may include labeling and stereotyping. Although
slogans may be enlisted to support reasoned
ideas, in practice they tend to act only as
emotional appeals. Opponents of the US's
invasion and occupation of Iraq use the slogan
"Blood for Oil" to suggest that the invasion and
its human losses was done to access Iraq's oil
riches. On the other hand, "hawks" who argue
that the US should continue to fight in Iraq use
the slogan "Cut-and-Run" to suggest that it
would be cowardly or weak to withdraw from
• Stereotyping or Name Calling or Labeling:
This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in
an audience by labeling the object of the
propaganda campaign as something the target
audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds
undesirable. For instance, reporting on a foreign
country or social group may focus on the
stereotypical traits that the reader expects, even
though they are far from being representative of
the whole country or group; such reporting often
focuses on the anecdotal.
• Examples: Calling someone a “Nazi”, or
“stupid”, or “un-patriotic”, and so on.
• Testimonial: Testimonials are quotations, in or
out of context, especially cited to support or
reject a given policy, action, program, or
personality. The reputation or the role (expert,
respected public figure, etc.) of the individual
giving the statement is exploited. The testimonial
places the official sanction of a respected person
or authority on a propaganda message. This is
done in an effort to cause the target audience to
identify itself with the authority or to accept the
authority's opinions and beliefs as its own.
• Transfer: Also known as Association, this is a
technique of projecting positive or negative
qualities (praise or blame) of a person, entity,
object, or value (an individual, group,
organization, nation, patriotism, etc.) to another
to make the second more acceptable or to
discredit it. It evokes an emotional response,
which stimulates the target to identify with
recognized authorities. Often highly visual, this
technique often utilizes symbols such as
swastikas, homeless women or children, the
American flag, bald eagle, and so on.
• Unstated assumption: This technique is
used when the propaganda concept that
the propagandist intends to transmit would
seem less credible if explicitly stated. The
concept is instead repeatedly assumed or
The Media
The Media
• Has been called “The 4th branch of government”
-Freedom of the Press
- Role of the media in government
Print Media
Electronic Media
Broadcast Television
Cable/Satellite Television
The Internet
Media Bias
“Equal Time” and “Fairness” Doctrines
Old Media
- Network TV
- Politically Liberal
- Supports Democrats
New Media
- Talk Radio, Blogs
- Politically Conservative
- Supports Republicans
Press Conference
• Purpose: To inform the media of a
government activity or policy
• Prepared Statement
• Questions by the media
• Unofficial release of information
• Can be used to get information out more
quickly than a Press Conference
• Could be a whistleblower or insider reporting
alleged wrongdoing
Influencing Government
• Most direct way to influence government?
Election Campaigns
• Require lots of money for publicity
• Campaign Finance
• Hard Money – limited, but goes
directly to support a candidate.
• Soft Money – unlimited, but cannot
directly support a candidate. (It can
support a party or political message,
Other Influences
• PAC – Political Action Committee
– A special interest group that has organized to
hire lobbyists and influence elections and
government activity.
– A lobbyist is a paid professional who attempts
to influence the legislative and executive
branches of government.
– Examples of PACs include the National Rifle
Association, the National Education
Association, Greenpeace, The Sierra Club,
AARP, AAA, Teamsters Union, etc.
• 527 Group
– A special type of PAC that through attack ads,
may use soft money to harm an opposing
candidate. Examples: Swift Vets for Truth
(supports Republicans),
(supports the Democratic party)
State Government
• Patterned from U.S. Federal Government
• Required to have a constitution
• Required to be a republic form of
government, but may have elements of
direct democracy
• Have all 3 branches of government with
separation of powers and checks and
The Governor
• Governor is head of Executive Branch, acts like
• 43 states have Lieutenant Governor, who acts
like Vice-President, most preside over State
• Governors may issue pardons and reprieves
Former California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Oklahoma Governor Mary
• Most states (including Oklahoma) have 4 year
terms for governor
• In Oklahoma, the gubernatorial election is held
on even years between presidential elections
(2002, 2006, 2010, etc.)
• All governors have veto power, most have lineitem veto power (presidents don’t), including
• May call state legislatures into special session
and may declare martial law in the event of a
disaster or civil disturbance
• Governor is Commander-in-Chief of the state
police and National Guard forces
State Legislature
• Most states (all but Nebraska) have bicameral
• The upper house is always called the State
• The lower house is frequently called the State
House of Representatives ( 27 states,
including Oklahoma), or the General Assembly
(19 states), Legislative Assembly (ND, OR), or
General Court (MA, NH).
• State legislatures make the laws and spend
money for the state
• They also have impeachment power
• Both houses since a 1964 Supreme Court ruling
(over Oklahoma’s state congressional districts) in
every state must be “one person, one vote” and
therefore be drawn proportional to the population,
(like U.S. House districts)
• Oklahoma’s House has 101 districts
• Oklahoma’s Senate has 48 districts
State Courts
• State Courts are patterned after the U.S.
court system with a state supreme court, a
state court of appeals, and lower state
district courts
Oklahoma Supreme Court in OKC
State Courts
• State judges may be elected offices, some
are appointed by the governor or by the
legislature. In Oklahoma, we use the
“Missouri Plan” where the governor
appoints judges and the people vote to
keep them or not, every few years.
• States raise money by a wide variety of methods
including taxes on energy, income taxes, sales
taxes, and a variety of industrial taxes. In
addition, states frequently raise money by selling
lottery tickets.
• States have their own armies called the National
Guard, as well as their own state police forces.
Local Government
• States create counties and allow cities to be
• County government is usually composed of a
county board of supervisors or county
commissioners (in OK, 3 commissioners per
county) who are the executive and legislative
branches combined. Law enforcement at the
county level is generally by a county sheriff’s
Local Government
• Frequently, there is no actual judicial
branch for a county; instead they rely on
state and municipal courts to handle cases.
• County governments are chiefly funded by
property and sales taxes.
• In twenty states, chiefly in the northeast,
there is a level of local government called a
Township, somewhere between city and
county gov’t.
City Government
• Raises money mostly through property taxes,
sales taxes, and issuing bonds.
• Like county governments, cities have an
executive branch and a legislative branch, but
they don’t always have a judicial branch.
Sometimes these branches are combined, and
in very small towns even into a single person.
• Cities govern land use through zoning.
Common Forms of City Government
• Mayor-Council Form
• Elected City Council = legislative branch
• Elected Mayor = executive branch
• Strong-Mayor form is where the Mayor has more
power than the city council.
• Tulsa has a strong-mayor form.
• Weak-Mayor form is where the City Council has
more power than the Mayor
• Commission Form
• Board of Commissioners elected, carry out
specific executive and legislative functions,
relative to their board’s jurisdiction. Example:
The Water Commissioner determines where
new water lines will run and is in charge of
setting prices of water and sewer service and
maintaining and providing water service
throughout the city. They have no authority over
the streets, as building and maintaining roads
are the job of the Street Commissioner.
• Tulsa used to have a Mayor-Commission form,
where we had elected commissioners plus an
elected Mayor.
• Council-Manager Form
• Elected City Councilors have legislative power, and
hire and fire a City Manager to carry out executive
decisions that the council makes.
• Broken Arrow has a Council-Manager Form
(left to right) – Richard Carter, Vice-Mayor Craig Thurmond, Mayor Mike Lester,
Jill Norman, Wade McCaleb
Tulsa’s government has an elected Mayor and nine city
council districts with one elected councilor from each
district. The Mayor of Tulsa has very broad, sweeping
powers and the authority to create special boards and
commissions and appoint people to those jobs. The role
of the Tulsa City Council is largely to approve or reject
appointments and initiatives proposed by the Mayor,
including the city budget.
Tulsa Mayor – Dewey Bartlett
Tulsa City Council
Broken Arrow’s government has four districts with one
elected representative each plus one at-large elected
representative. This council then chooses for itself which
of the five of them will be Mayor and Vice-Mayor. They
then hire a City Manager to run various city departments
and carry out decisions they have directed.
Interim City
Manager, Dave
Other types of local government include:
• School Districts
• Water Districts
• Fire Districts
• Sewer Districts
• These special districts may overlap with city or
county districts, or with each other. For
example, the City of Broken Arrow is partly in
Tulsa County, partly in Wagoner County. Parts
of Tulsa include Jenks, Union, Bixby, and Broken
Arrow Public School Districts.