(1974) During my senior year in high school in West Palm Beach, Florida we were presented in Social Studies classes with a mandated curriculum entitled Americanism vs Communism. Teachers were required to sign a loyalty oath to teach this class when it was first instituted in 1961. I believe this was unique to Florida for the fact that Cuba represented such a Cold War threat and the Castro regime was so frightening to Americans that they feared students might be subverted by Castro loyalists in the Cuban community. Not to mention the fact that ninety miles away, Russian weapons of mass destruction lay.
Even at seventeen and missing the draft for Vietnam by a year, I was subjected to this lesson in propaganda delivered as propaganda. If you did not get this data through another curriculum, I will outline it.
Americanism vs Communism
Part of the brainwashing was the section specifically covering the seven main propaganda techniques identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis. Please allow me to refresh you on these insidious tactics plus additional techniques refined by America's Media Complex.
1. Assertion: Assertion is commonly used in advertising and modern propaganda. An assertion is an enthusiastic or energetic statement presented as a fact, although it is not necessarily true. They often imply that the statement requires no explanation or back up, but that it should merely be accepted without question. Examples of assertion;
The assertion that Saddam Hussein had WMD and the invasion of Iraq was an enthusiastic "thumbs up" or "Slam Dunk" or "Mission Accomplished
2. Bandwagon: Bandwagon is an appeal to the subject to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so as well. Bandwagon propaganda is, essentially, trying to convince the subject that one side is the winning side, because more people have joined it. The subject is meant to believe that since so many people have joined, that victory is inevitable and defeat impossible. Since the average person always wants to be on the winning side, he or she is compelled to join in. However, in modern propaganda, bandwagon has taken a new twist. The subject is to be convinced by the propaganda that since everyone else is doing it, they will be left out if they do not. The term jumping on the bandwagon may have been attributed to PT Barnum who was attributed as saying "There's a sucker born every minute."
Examples of bandwagon;
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