Is all Propaganda bad?


Smokey Bear Campaign Poster, 1920s, USDA

The objectives of the propagandist are sometimes positive. The Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign is a form of propaganda. These advertisements make an emotional plea – don’t be careless with fire or cute woodland creatures may be harmed. The campaign was incredibly successful in preventing forest fires, but it may also have contributed to the public’s aversion to controlled burning.

No matter how harmless it appears, propaganda should always be scrutinized, as it promotes decision making and action based on limited, sometimes false, information and emotional appeal. Propaganda targets and manipulates our emotions without the benefit of two-way communication or fact-based debate.

It is important to step back, ask questions, and analyze propaganda to understand how and why these one-sided messages influence our perceptions and behaviors.

What is Propaganda?
Is all Propaganda bad?