May 5, 2007

Propaganda techniques

Indiana University studied Billo's television program and the results are not really news to those of us who have watched it.
The IU researchers found that O'Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night.

"It's obvious he's very big into calling people names, and he's very big into glittering generalities," said Mike Conway, assistant professor in the IU School of Journalism. "He's not very subtle. He's going to call people names, or he's going to paint something in a positive way, often without any real evidence to support that viewpoint."

And not just that Bill likes to disparage people, but he uses (perhaps unintentionally) propaganda techniques perfected by such luminaries as Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s.

What the IU researchers found in their study, "Villains, Victims and Virtuous in Bill O'Reilly's 'No Spin Zone': Revisiting World War Propaganda Techniques," was that he was prone to inject fear into his commentaries and quick to resort to name-calling. He also frequently assigned roles or attributes -- such as "villians" or downright "evil" -- to people and groups.

Using analysis techniques first developed in the 1930s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Conway, Grabe and Grieves found that O'Reilly employed six of the seven propaganda devices nearly 13 times each minute in his editorials. His editorials also are presented on his Web site and in his newspaper columns.

The seven propaganda devices include:

Name calling -- giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence;

Glittering generalities -- the opposite of name calling;

Card stacking -- the selective use of facts and half-truths;

Bandwagon -- appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd;

Plain folks -- an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are "of the people";

Transfer -- carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept; and

Testimonials -- involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.


Bootleg Blogger said...

Check this one out, Streak.

Streak said...

I think Billo doesn't quite get how often he reinforces his own image.