With the beginning of the Presidential Debates, we give you some techniques used by various speakers to spread ideas that further their cause.
What are Propaganda Techniques? They are the methods and approaches used to spread ideas that further a cause - a political, commercial, religious, or civil cause.
Why are they used? To manipulate the readers' or viewers' reason and emotions; to persuade you to believe in something or someone, buy an item, or vote a certain way.
What are the most commonly used propaganda techniques? See which of the 11 most common types of propaganda techniques you already know.
Appeal to Emotion: This approach summons fear, anger or pity to secure listener support.
Bandwagon: The "bandwagon" approach encourages you to think that because everyone else is doing something, you should do it too, or you'll be left out. The technique embodies a "keeping up with the Joneses" philosophy.
Card Stacking: This term comes from stacking a deck of cards in your favor. Card stacking is used to slant a message. Key words or unfavorable statistics may be omitted in an ad or commercial, leading to a series of half-truths. Keep in mind that an advertiser is under no obligation "to give the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
Either/or fallacy: This technique is also called "black-and-white thinking" because only two choices are given. You are either for something or against it; there is no middle ground or shades of gray. It is used to polarize issues, and negates all attempts to find a common ground.
False Analogy: In this technique, two things that may or may not really be similar are portrayed as being similar. When examining the comparison, you must ask yourself how similar the items are. In most false analogies, there is simply not enough evidence available to support the comparison.
Glittering Generalities: This technique uses important-sounding "glad words" that have little or no real meaning. These words are used in general statements that cannot be proved or disproved. Words like "good," "honest," "fair," and "best" are examples of "glad" words.
Name calling: This techniques consists of attaching a negative label to a person or a thing. People engage in this type of behavior when they are trying to avoid supporting their own opinion with facts. Rather than explain what they believe in, they prefer to try to tear their opponent down.
Plain Folks: This technique uses a folksy approach to convince us to support someone or something. These ads depict people with ordinary looks doing ordinary activities. In politics, candidates attempt to be one of the "common folks."
Slippery Slope: Speakers claim that one event will lead to an uncontrollable chain reaction.
Testimonial: This technique is easy to understand. It is when "big name" personalities are used to endorse a product. Whenever you see someone famous endorsing a product, ask yourself how much that person knows about the product, and what he or she stands to gain by promoting it.
Transfer: In this technique, an attempt is made to transfer the prestige of a positive symbol to a person or an idea. For example, using the American flag as a backdrop for a political event makes the implication that the event is patriotic in the best interest of the U.S.
Faulty Cause and Effect:
This technique suggests that because B follows A, A must cause B. Remember, just because two events or two sets of data are related does not necessarily mean that one caused the other to happen. It is important to evaluate data carefully before jumping to a wrong conclusion.
Contradiction: Information is presented that is in direct opposition to other information within the same argument.
Accident: Someone fails to recognize (or conceals the fact) that an argument is based on an exception to the rule.
False Cause: A temporal order of events is confused with causality; or, someone oversimplifies a complex causal network.
Begging the Question: A person makes a claim then argues for it by advancing grounds whose meaning is simply equivalent to that of the original claim. This is also called "circular reasoning."
Evading the Issue: Someone sidesteps and issue by changing the topic.
Arguing from Ignorance: Someone argues that a claim is justified simply because its opposite cannot be proven.
Composition and Division: Composition involves an assertion about a whole that is true of its parts. Division is the opposite: an assertion about all of the parts that is true about the whole.
Errors of Attack
Poisoning the Well: A person is so committed to a position that he/she explains away absolutely everything others offer in opposition.
Ad Hominem: A person rejects a claim on the basis of derogatory facts (real or alleged) about the person making the claim.
Appealing to Force: Someone uses threats to establish the validity of the claim.
Errors of Weak Reference
Appeal to Authority: Authority is evoked as the last word on an issue.
Appeal to the People: Someone attempts to justify a claim on the basis of popularity.
Appeal to Emotion: An emotion-laden "sob" story is used as proof for a claim.
You can keep track of the number of times the techniques are used in the debate with this scorecard.