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- No, this is not about the Russian girl group of a similar name (Пропаганда). Or the German '80s popstars. Or the album by the band Sparks.
Propaganda is the use of media and other information sources in order to affect or control the perceptions and behaviour of a population. Frequently the information is wholly or partially incorrect, or misrepresented in order to convey a specific, pervasive message.
The aim of propaganda is not to inform, but to guide thought. In this regard, propaganda may be separated from simple advertising in that advertising largely attempts to extol the virtues of a product or service in order to attract commerce, propaganda is a much more pervasive attempt to mold public opinion for a variety of reasons. However, propaganda shares many techniques in common with advertising, such as repetition, reliance on famous spokespeople and messages cloaked in advertisement.
Political movements of all types have used propaganda widely, despite sometimes dramatically opposing ideologies. For example, in World War II, the Allies, Soviets and Nazis, all very different in their ideologies, all used propaganda to a great degree during the course of the conflict and after.
Although already seen in some circles as a threat to democratic ways of life as early as 1937, the word did not become pejorative in common usage until after World War II.
 Propaganda techniques
- Big Lie - The more outrageous the lie, the better.
- Experts for hire - Pay them enough, and they will say anything.
- Front group - Often going by the euphemism "think tank" these days.
- FUD - "Manufacturing doubt."
- Limited hangout - Revealing only a small portion of facts relevant to a scandal in order to defuse criticism.
- Ratfucking - Many of the "dirty tricks" pioneered by the Tricky Dick administration.
- Stovepiping - Cherry-picking unvetted information.
 See also
- Propaganda Critic
- Psy War, an archive of wartime propaganda
- della Quercia, Jacopo. "6 Mind-Blowing Achievements in Propaganda", Cracked Magazine website, 21 April 2010.
 Further reading
- Propaganda and Persuasion by Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell]