Propaganda in the Democratic Society is an article written by Aldous Huxley. The article focuses on the effects of propaganda on the democracy (Huxley 133). Huxley classifies propaganda into two categories. The categories are rational and non-rational propaganda. Rational propaganda concurs with the perceptions of those who generate it and their addressees.
With respect to rational propaganda, its generators and addressees stand to benefit. On the other hand, non-rational propaganda does not concur with the perceptions of its generators and addressees. The author asserts that non-rational propaganda is dictated by fervor.
He asserts that this form of propaganda is appropriate for the democratic societies. Huxley believes that the media plays a major role in enhancing democracy. He states, “The press is indispensable to the survival of democracy.”
Alex S. Jones wrote the article Media and Democracy. In the article, he focuses on his experiences in the media industry with respect to the past and the present news (Jones 28). He believes that the fundamental part of the news, which should be handled by proficient journalists, is now at risk from new financial models.
According to him, the American democracy has been shaped and molded in the past by high-quality journalism. He states, “Without high-quality journalism, American democracy would be hugely diminished.” He concludes by noting that in the future there would be an increase in the freedom of speech at the expense of the death of traditional journalism.
As Huxley asserts, I believe that most propaganda in the western countries fall under non-rational propaganda. To understand the effect of this propaganda on individuals, Huxley’s assumptions would be useful during the analysis. For instance, I believe that most advertisements related to junk food are non-rational propaganda. As such, their effects on individuals depend on their passions.
Equally, I believe that Jones’ statement on how the modern American democracy has been diminished with reduction in traditional journalism is of importance. In this regard, more research should be undertaken to identify the effects of the current unprofessional journalism on our democracy. It is worth noting that the two authors equally agree that the media industry has a huge role in shaping a nation’s democracy.
In the film Thank You for Not Smoking, the main character asserts that even though it is a common fact that smoking affects the users’ health, the manufacturers should not include the danger signs in the tobacco packages (Thank you for smoking).
He argues that in a democratic society, individuals are free to make their personal choices. In this regard, he believes that any individual who decides to be a smoker should be allowed to come up with his or her choices. The film’s main character is so eloquent that he manages to cover myths as facts. I believe that the movie scriptwriter was satirically denouncing the propaganda fueled by the media through tobacco advertisements.
Figure: Image of a food advert
The above image is an example of a poster claiming that busy individuals should eat Dunkin Donuts. The poster claims that if you are a busy individual and fail to eat Dunkin Donuts you are not feeding on real food. If you eat these donuts, there is no certainty that you are feeding on real foods.
Equally, if you eat these donuts it does not mean that you are a busy individual. To identify if the above advert is propaganda, you should ask yourself the below questions (Shabo 3). Does the advert persuade its audience? Does the advert target sizable audience? Does the advert use emotion appeal?
Huxley, Alduous. “Propaganda in a Democratic Society.” 75 arguments: an anthology. Ed. Alan Ainsworth. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 132-138. Print.
Jones, Alex S. Losing the news: the future of the news that feeds democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Shabo, Magedah E. Techniques of propaganda and persuasion, DE.: Prestwick House, Inc., 2008. Print.
Thank you for smoking. Dir. Aaron Eckhart. Perf. Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, and Katie Holmes. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2006. Film.