As the countdown to the August 8 General Election gets closer, Jubilee and Nasa propaganda machines are now in an overdrive mode.
Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented.
And as we head towards Election Day, starling and intriguing developments are emerging that point to how both Jubilee and Nasa want to latch on propaganda to vanquish each other.
It all started with a press conference in which Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka raised a storm by claiming that the government was planning to rig the August 8 elections using the military.
Rigging claim puzzle deepens
The dust had not settled on these allegations when reports emerged that unknown number of people had attacked the Sugoi residence of Deputy President William Ruto.
More police sent to fight attacker at DP Ruto’s home
Propaganda can be classified according to the source and nature of the message.
Karl Marx, a German philosopher, socialist and economist and Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister during the Second World War are among the 10 most famous propagandists. PHOTOS/COURTESY
White propaganda generally comes from an openly identified source, and is characterized by gentler methods of persuasion, such as standard public relations techniques and one-sided presentation of an argument.
Black propaganda is identified as being from one source, but is in fact from another. This is most commonly to disguise the true origins of the propaganda, be it from an enemy country or from an organization with a negative public image.
Grey Propaganda is propaganda without any identifiable source or author. A major application of grey propaganda is making enemies believe falsehoods using straw arguments.
The two above incidents fall under the three propaganda classifications.
While many questions are still being asked on these two developments, Kenyans need to know that we are heading into a General Election and propaganda is used by politicians to win elections.
According to Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, in their book, Propaganda and Persuasion, propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
During political campaigns a wide range of materials and media are used for conveying propaganda messages and they include paintings, cartoons, billboards, posters, pamphlets, films, radio shows, TV shows, and now new media; which is composed of websites, blogs, wikis, videos and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Whatsapp among others).
However, a new form of propaganda has emerged in the name of fake news. The best examples of fake news propaganda are two videos with logos of BBC and CNN that have been disowned by the two international media companies.
CNN and BBC deny fake videos on Kenya elections
Fake news is however, emerging as an effective form of propaganda because the electorate come to learn the truth fairly quickly as is the case in the above cases.
However, the big question remains, is political propaganda supposed to be deceitful or is it just a means of persuasion, of informing the electorate where their best interests lie?
Richard Alan Nelson in his book A chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States describes propaganda thus: “Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels.
And while it is not clear who are the lead propagandists in Jubilee and Nasa at the moment, Karl Marx, a German philosopher, socialist and economist who lived in the 1800’s remains the all time number one propagandist.
Karl Marx’s theories about society, politics and economics became known as ‘Marxism. His works had a massive effect on the science and politics of the 20th Century.
Another German, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s closest associate the Second World War is among the 10 most famous propagandists.
He became the party leader for the Nazi Party in Berlin in 1924 and by 1933 he was appointed the Propaganda Minister for the party. He shot himself on May 1, 1945 after discovering that the Nazi’s had been defeated.
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