Us Propaganda

Nancy Snow

in American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748626014
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670673 | DOI:
Us Propaganda

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This chapter examines official rhetoric in the wake of 9/11, noting the influence of commercially-driven marketing and public relations techniques on government operations, as well as the apparent contradictions between principles and practice. The author, Nancy Snow, identifies a problematic notion of propaganda in the United States, wherein it is perceived as a tool of mass manipulation deployed only in totalitarian states. However, the kind of persuasive tactics commonly associated with propaganda are also observable in peacetime democracies through consensus and some, albeit minimal, censorship. Tracing the history of twentieth-century American propaganda from Edward Bernays through the policies and rhetoric of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the chapter concludes with an exploration of various American propaganda exercises, such as the Shared Values Initiative of 2002-3, and a consideration of the gulf between American political rhetoric and the reality of post-9/11 foreign policy.

Keywords: Propaganda; 9/11; Persuasion; Ronald Reagan; Bill Clinton; George W. Bush; Shared Values Initiative

Chapter.  6553 words. 

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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