The history and inner workings of propaganda is a fascinating site dedicated to explaining what makes propaganda propaganda, and getting people to think critically about the messages they see. It's run by Aaron Delwiche, a professor of communications at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.


  1. The site says last updated 9/29/2002. Not that this discounts the value of the information stored there, but it’s arguable whether Mr. Delwiche is actively running it.

  2. Was just going to say, I remember looking at this site many years ago and it hadn’t been updated for ages then.

  3. Hi folks — I’m still maintaining the domain and replying to people who contact me via the site, but my teaching/research responsibilities have made it difficult for me to regularly update it with new content. I’ll be teaching a propaganda course again soon, and hope to integrate the class in a way that will give me a chance to update the site.

    On the plus side, the basic techniques suggested on the site are still applicable today.


  4. The Herman-Chomsky model elaborated in MANUFACTURING CONSENT is one of the key influences that stimulated my interest in the topic of propaganda. In fact, their book played a pivotal role in my decision to do graduate work in communication.

    So why aren’t they mentioned on the propagandacritic site? The more I learned about propaganda, the more I realized that Herman-Chomsky’s model has serious deficiencies.

    For one thing, many of their filters make assertions that are not entirely true in all instances. (For example, one filter deals with content constraints related to economic structures of mass media. Though these constraints are undeniably present and important, they don’t always translate directly into the sort of outputs envisioned by Herman and Chomsky.)

    Second, and most important, the model is intrinsically politicized. The fifth filter discusses “anti-Communism” and “war on Terror” as components of their model. Again, much of what they argue about anti-Communism and counter-terrorism is completely sound. But, by making this filter an intrinsic part of their framework, they limit our ability to apply the model to other manifestations of domestic and international propaganda.

    Herman and Chomsky’s model implicitly suggests that “Everything I believe is the truth and everything my opponents believe is propaganda.” The framework is simply too one-sided and it is almost completely useless when one tries to examine manifestations of propaganda by entities other than the US military industrial complex.

    Finally, the propaganda site was designed for audiences on all sides of the political spectrum. Readers can still detect a subtle centrist liberal bias in some of the examples, but I’ve tried to make it reasonably “objective.” For this reason, the site is able to appeal to some readers on the right as well some readers on the left and some readers in the middle. If the Herman-Chomsky propaganda model were included, it would almost immediately alienate a large chunk of the site’s readership.

    I will always be grateful to both thinkers for their ideas and for the way they have inspired generations of scholars and academics.


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