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Propaganda Analysis Take II

March 15, 2010

While I attempt to regain motivation, I will post my second propaganda analysis I completed a week ago. Enjoy!

Rampant Liberalism

HURRY, HURRY! All women and children must hurry into armored bomb shelters, avoiding the imminent, liberalistic apocalypse sweeping through the United States’ misguided college students! While grossly exaggerated, liberality among America’s youth provides legitimate concern to conservative Americans, who, historically, have rarely conceded their population dominance. On February 14, a televised FoxNews report unveiled research provoking this fear, accusing higher education professors of constantly bombarding students with liberal ideals without enhancing their civic intelligence.

“Propaganda works,” pronounces Tucker Carlson, a contributor to the conservative-catered FoxNews television station. Carlson, sharing the screen with an interviewer, theorizes the result of college professors’ acceptance to a single, liberal political view and their subsequent, unethical persuasive tactics to influence students. Because professors obviously waste valuable class time promoting their ideological agendas in lieu of teaching, students chronically support, as Carlson states, “gay marriage, abortion, capitalism” (emphasis in original). The interviewer repeats Carlson’s troubling stance, asking “if degrees are more likely to support same sex marriage, abortion, less likely to support school prayer and American work ethic, how do we fix this?” The FoxNews correspondents also stress the lack of civic knowledge gained throughout college, exemplified by the startling 36% of students polled who cannot name the three United States government branches. Recognizing higher education’s futility, the interviewer questions, “when we go $100,000 in debt to pay for college, is it better to not go to college at all than to get this kind of an education?” As Carlson carefully articulates his response, large headlines perpetuate “Indoctrination University” and “The “Liberal” Arts,” manipulating the American public through propaganda.

Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson, authors of Age of Propaganda, divulge propagandist’s methods to successfully portray a message. FoxNews employs credible communicators to professionally characterize their broadcast. For example, the interviewer and Tucker Carlson don expensive suits and ties, smiling flawlessly and speaking eloquently. The audience, seeing their high-class look, understands their expertise on the subject and willingly submits to their opinions. To further connect with audiences, the interviewer provides the aforementioned questions that, presumably, everyday conservatives hold, proving FoxNews’ connection with viewers. These questions also serve to allow the audience to persuade themselves by internally discussing the negative effects of liberalism and college’s worthiness. Headline repetition complements the oral presentation, providing the blatant selling point: college turns students liberal. With enough exposure, compliance ensues among viewers. Finally, Carlson offers the solution of lobbying for diversified faculty, so people can direct their emotions toward action. To silence critics, the interviewer discusses the research, conducted and compiled by Intercollegiate Studies, concluding that since 14,000 students were polled, its accuracy is unparalleled. However, discrepancies exist.

The non-profit Intercollegiate Studies Institute describes their platform, via their website, as “the bedrock conservative organization educating each generation of American youth “for liberty.” With FoxNews overwhelmingly considered the conservative television network, the popularizing of a conservative study seems perfectly sensible. Furthermore, FoxNews blatantly omitted important information to skew truthfulness. While the research included 14,000 students, groups of roughly 2,000 were taken to various testing centers, significantly limiting the amount polled for each subject. As the ISI concluded, students showed liberal tendencies through their selected answers, but 2,000 polled cannot justify the entire college population. The civics test given to students contained merely 39 questions solely pertaining to political science. While ISI confirmed anemic test results for the miniscule 2,000 polled, FoxNews purposely linked civic intelligence with overall intelligence for all courses and subjects, proclaiming college as an unsatisfactory institution. However, after scrutinizing the broadcast and research, I liberate college and proclaim FoxNews as an unsatisfactory institution.

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