WE DON'T MAKE PROPAGANDA! THEY DO!

22 min read

Education, Propaganda, and How to Tell the Difference

In an information war, it is essential to be able to distinguish education from propaganda. Unfortunately, it is not always easy. Today’s citizens are swamped with manipulative information, and often crave truly educational environments that they can trust. In this, the second paper of our series on information warfare, we argue that propaganda can be thought of as the “evil twin” of education. They often look the same, but with some careful examination, their differences become apparent. Exploring the historical dynamics of propaganda and considering its various forms helps us understand the telltale signs of coercive, manipulative, and propagandistic information. Understanding the difference between propaganda and education, and how complicated the distinction can be at times, allows for better situational awareness. Clarity about the difference allows us to protect both ourselves and our communities from being casualties of the information war. This is an essential step toward creating a healthier epistemic commons for everyone.

As the information war continues to escalate, it is getting harder to create the cultural equivalent of “demilitarized zones” in which non-weaponized communication can take place. Education[1] can often use the same technologies and even deliver some of the same content and ideas as propaganda. The critical difference, however, is that education is—by design and intention—non-coercive, non-manipulative, and anti-propagandistic.

Like relationships between teacher and student, or parent and child, educational relationships are reciprocal and open-ended. There is a mutual interest in decreasing asymmetries of knowledge and power over time. A good teacher wants their student to be able to know the material at least as well as they do. Both parties desire graduation, or growing into maturity.

Educational relationships are intrinsic to culture, civilization, and human identity. Relationships that allow for intergenerational transmission of complex skills, values, and ideas are a species-specific trait unique to homo sapiens. They cannot benignly be replaced by propagandistic relationships or other modes of social control in which one group exercises power over another. It is not possible to graduate from a propaganda campaign into a position of knowing as much as the propagandizers. This is one of several structural differences between education and propaganda.

What is Propaganda?

As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 100th anniversary, there has been a global spectacle of related propaganda. This has included news events, political speeches, parades, and multimedia initiatives, such as those unfolding around the cinematic production of the movie 1921.[2] The narrative recounts the history of communism in China, leaving the viewer with no sense that communism has done any wrong in Asia. It has broken box office records in China already and is being rolled out for international release. Themes raised in the movie have created a national discussion within China—a conversation the CCP is seeking to expand to the whole world.

What has come to be called propaganda has a history as long as the history of civilization.

The film has been called propaganda explicitly by the U.S. media, as it sits nestled within a symbolic field of activity created around the CCP centennial celebrations. Other examples include Xi Jinping giving a speech in Tiananmen Square wearing a jacket almost identical to those worn by Mao. The U.S. media’s coverage of the CCP centennial has been controversial, because of what has been seen by some as a laudatory tone—or at least a conspicuous absence of criticism regarding the overt propaganda.

But how does this CCP propaganda differ from U.S. celebrations of national pride, such as the recent presidential inauguration, or the repeated theatrical remembrances of 1776? Why is it reasonable to label the CCP celebrations propaganda, but not similar celebrations in the United States? Within the U.S. and other countries that hold elections, supporters of political parties will often see the “other side” as using propaganda to secure votes, while considering their own side as running a clean campaign. People tend to see the trusted news sources of their in-group as educational, and the other side’s news sources as propaganda.

What has come to be called propaganda has a history as long as the history of civilization. The term itself first appears in the heading of a 16th-century papal bull critiquing Protestantism. This public decree issued by Pope Leo X accused the proponents of the Reformation of using a kind of black magic to propagate their ideas.[3] Pope Leo X was waging a propaganda war against Luther, using the arts in particular—St. Peter’s Basilica was finished as part of these efforts. Luther himself was a master propagandist—The Ninety-Five Theses can be read as exemplary propaganda. Shortly thereafter, the 17th century marked a major watershed in the development of propaganda, as widespread adoption of the printing press allowed for a range of new techniques and impacts.[4]

The history of propaganda began before the printing press.
Catholic propaganda poster c. 1620, distributed in Germany and Transylvania. The images show the prince of Transylvania (a leading Protestant) in an open air garden castrating Jesuits. A barber approaches with shears and a measuring rod, followed by a soldier. Captions below (not pictured) explained these events to those who could read. These events never occurred. Image from Elmer Palmer, Propaganda in Germany During the Thirty Years War.[5]

During the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), tens of thousands of propaganda pamphlets and posters were printed and distributed, many of which were made up of impressive and provocative images that were aimed at the illiterate.[6] Concepts of hell, heaven, and salvation were weaponized. Choosing sides in the ideological battle was cast by propagandists as a choice between greater or lesser forms of eternal damnation. In one poster, we see an artist’s rendering of a well-known and identifiable political leader conversing with the devil, who is himself in the process of castrating monks from a nearby city. This kind of propaganda artwork had major impacts on its target populations, comprised largely of poor and illiterate peasants. For the literate and emerging bourgeois classes on the other hand, entire books of propagandistic theology relied on the Bible and philosophy to justify total religious war.[7]

In the 17th century, we find many familiar features of “modern propaganda.” Posters and leaflets flooded cities and agitated urban populations into violence through coordinated mass communication. Common tactics emerged, including the propagation of fictional atrocities to demonize enemy populations. There was covert publication of forged or leaked documents with false authorship. Pandemics and the concept of “the Plague” were used to villainize populations associated with its spread. Finally, and perhaps most profoundly, religious leaders leveraged the power of the arts and theology to manipulate human emotions.

But the history of propaganda began before the printing press. Monuments, murals, sculptures, architecture, coinage, and control of the written word have been a perennial means of demonstrating power and exerting political influence. Egyptian pharaohs (Ramses II and IV) and Roman emperors (Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Trajan) had complex propaganda operations as a key aspect of their governance, although they did not call them by that name. Archeological evidence suggests these practices have occurred in all human civilizations on all continents for millennia.[8]

This use of human symbolic capacity as a means of social control at scale is distinct from (yet emergent out of) the use of spoken language to pass on skills, values, and other essential forms of knowledge and practice.[9] Using media such as sculptures, manuscripts, and symbolic events to exert political control over a large population was a fundamental innovation, which has allowed for the vast size and scope of human social coordination.[10] This innovation in propaganda coexisted with the use of those same media for the purposes of passing on (and often improving) knowledge, skills, and capacity.

The race between propaganda and education determines the life course of a civilization—and importantly, the timing of its demise. So significant is the problem of propaganda that careful theoretical and scientific work has been undertaken to understand its nature and morphology, including the way it grows, evolves, and transforms as an aspect of arms races in information war. Propaganda is being defined and redefined continually as the field of information warfare evolves.

(Re)Definitions of Propaganda

A great deal depends on what is meant by the word propaganda. Institutions as divergent as the New York Times (NYT) and Fox News can both be seen as producing different kinds of propaganda. Moreover, propaganda must be understood as distinct from related phenomena, such as disinformation, conspiracy theories, fake news, and other features of our damaged information commons. Propaganda and advertising are also distinct, as we explore below.

In the first piece of this series, the term irregular warfare was defined as the broadest category of strategic and tactical conflict beyond munitions and physical violence. One form of irregular warfare is information warfare, although there are also various kinds of economic and political warfare. Information warfare may be categorized further to include espionage, psychological warfare, and a whole range of various kinds of propaganda. Since the First World War, propaganda has been a field of academic study, and a range of definitions has been created.[11] We suggest a multi-faceted definition that begins with the following sentence:

Propaganda is any media product that has been deliberately designed and distributed by or for a political group in order to cause political action.

  • Media products include live events, such as Xi Jinping’s recent speech in Tiananmen Square, or the creation of monuments, buildings, and museums. These are created in order to be represented repeatedly through all channels of communication, including word of mouth, art, and literature. The deep history of propaganda includes, for example, ancient architectural projects seeking to evoke in subjects an embodied emotional sense that the Pharaoh is a god.
  • Political groups come in many shapes and sizes. There are small-scale propaganda campaigns seeking to influence the local school board election. There are also campaigns resulting from coordinated efforts between nation states and international media outlets, which aim to shape public opinion and behavior on a global scale.
  • Deliberate design of propaganda has long included interdisciplinary collaboration between sciences such as psychology, sociology, and semiotics (the study of signs). More recently, this set has expanded to include neuroscience, computer sciences, data science, and memetics (the study of how memes evolve).
  • Politically significant actions include politically relevant behavioral changes—such as voting or going to war. Changing people’s ideas is a means of changing their behaviors. For the propagandists, getting someone to understand something is not an end in itself. The actions taken cannot be undone, and this binds one in unity with a group. Once you act at the bequest of propaganda you have joined a group and are made more susceptible to future propaganda that targets its members.

It should be noted that the same definition can be applied to advertising. However, in advertising the focus is on economics, not politics: advertising is any media product that has been deliberately designed and distributed by or for an economic group, such as a company, in order to influence consumer behavior. The distinction between the economic and the political is tenuous at best, so some theorists include most forms of advertising as a sub-class of propaganda. This approach is justifiable, as long as careful attention is paid to the distinction between commodity purchasing and political action as the respective goals of advertising and propaganda. Of course, education differs from both, as we discuss later in this paper.

The table below presents an overview of the implications of propaganda as defined above. A feature of the many forms of propaganda is that it is possible to accuse others of using it, while at the same time denying that you are using it yourself. It is possible to switch subtly between different meanings and uses in the practice of propaganda. Our definition, in conjunction with the table below, seeks to synthesize those that have been offered in the field over many decades.[12]

Table 1: Taxonomy of propaganda forms
Overt vs. Covert
Deceitful vs. Truthful but Misleading
Vertical vs. Horizontal
Preparatory vs. Campaign
Conscious vs. Unconscious
The above five images contained the following references [13][14][15][16]17][18][19], which can be found in the footnote section.

Propaganda Today

A key implication of this analysis of different types of propaganda is that modern information warfare is not primarily about spreading lies—although it certainly does involve lying in some cases. As we documented in the first paper of this series, the emerging academic field of computational propaganda is concerned with documenting and critiquing the efforts of governments and militaries who use troll armies to create disinformation environments that confuse and agitate whole populations. But that is only the most obvious form of propaganda today.

Propaganda also works by means of known legacy institutions distributing many partial truths across all possible communication platforms over extended time scales, sometimes lasting decades. Modern propaganda is not primarily about manipulating people to believe sensational and foolish things. It is about playing the long game, and slowly changing people’s underlying worldviews, dispositions, and habitual behaviors in the direction desired by those waging the campaign.


One of the reasons for the normalization of propagandistic communication techniques is longstanding confusion about the difference between propaganda and education.

Classic strategies for changing people’s minds include shaping research agendas in specific sciences in particular directions.[20] This could, for example, entail creating a specific kind of research institute tasked with asking only a certain, pre-defined set of questions. The results of this research are spread through multi-media advertising campaigns, frequently orchestrated by public relations firms. These firms now use experts in psychometrics to target specific ads to specific personality types, based on user data lifted from social media sites. The firms collaborate with think tanks and academics to create publications, which are repackaged in relationships with the media and onto every screen. After some time—it could be months or years—large segments of the targeted population have changed basic habits and beliefs, while now making choices that conform with the interests of those controlling the information environment.

One of the reasons for the normalization of propagandistic communication techniques is longstanding confusion about the difference between propaganda and education. A common perspective is that the “good guys” use communications science to create media for information and education, while the “bad guys” use manipulative psychological tactics to create propaganda and lies. If the media product is created by our in-group to spread our message, then it is not propaganda, irrespective of clearly propagandistic strategies of communication. On the other hand, anything containing political ideas at odds with those of our in-group is labeled as propaganda, even if it has all the markings of good faith educational communication.

It is easy to mistake the difference between propaganda and education as depending on the content of the message being conveyed, rather than the techniques, intentions, and effects of its conveyance. As all sides create propaganda of various kinds, they also accuse others of doing so and deny it themselves. In heavily propagandized environments it can become hard to tease apart agreeable propaganda from information that is truly educational. Those seeking in good faith to serve as educators become almost impossible to distinguish from those seeking to serve as culture warriors.


©Adaptive Cultures

Between Education and Propaganda

The months leading up to America’s entry into World War II mark another watershed in the history of propaganda. Hitler’s propaganda was historically unprecedented and unmatched by his rivals. It played a large part in his early military and political successes, and eventually it reached American shores. In October of 1939, German-American Bundists held a parade on East 86th Street in New York, in which hundreds of men in brown shirt uniforms marched with American flags, alongside others bearing the red, black, and white of Nazi swastikas. Later in February that same year, 22,000 Americans rallied in Madison Square Garden to support fascism. The staging was orchestrated to look like a Nazi rally, centered around a vast portrait of George Washington, flanked by long rectangular banners bearing the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag.[21]

All of this was of course particularly alarming to those who had come to America to escape the spread of fascist power in their own countries. Some of these emigres and refugees were intellectuals, artists, and journalists. These groups fell into collaboration with prominent American academics and political operators. In 1941, concerns about the need to combat Nazi propaganda and prepare Americans for another world war led to the creation of the Committee for National Morale. This largely forgotten organization played an essential role in the dynamics of information warfare during both World War II and the Cold War. Committee members were all highly influential members of the American academy and government, including the anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, as well as psychologists Gordon Alport and Harry Stack Sullivan.[22]

Historical records, including correspondence and organizational documentation, suggest the early members of this group were operating in good faith to avoid creating a mirror image of Nazi propaganda. They feared the U.S. could become an authoritarian regime by virtue of the structure of propagandized communication itself. Some sociologists feared that mass broadcast media such as radio and TV inevitably created authoritarian personality structures, because the rise of fascism correlated so strongly with the onset of these communications technologies.

Fascists effectively used radio, TV, film, and the press to create a personality open to authoritarian control. How could those same media be used to create a personality capable of participating in democracy during wartime? Mead and Bateson explicitly characterized this problem as concerning the difference between propaganda and education.[23]

Their focus was on the structure and uses of new communication technologies as instruments of either coercion and undue influence, or as instruments of education with the potential to empower democratic citizens. They were seeking to inspire a “species of scientific [information] management designed to simultaneously liberate and coordinate the actions of democratic selves.” In such a context, “Leaders needed to act like educators,” Bateson suggested, and they needed to teach people how to “learn to learn.”[24]

Mead’s and Bateson’s solution was to create fundamentally different kinds of media experiences, which arguably established large scale educational campaigns that transcended the category of propaganda, at least for a brief time. They worked to create non-coercive informational and artistic events in which participants were able to gain their own impression about essential ideological issues of the day. They were not told what to think, but rather given enough information of various kinds to decide for themselves. This radically new multimedia approach would eventually be repurposed during the Cold War by Eisenhower’s information warfare units, and later still by advertisement and cultural event producers. Therefore, the work of the Committee for National Morale cannot be taken as any kind of solution. Certain aspects of their work represent important forays into educational alternatives to large-scale propaganda (such as, for example, the controversial art photography exhibit, The Family of Man).[25]

The limitation of the approach adopted by the Committee on National Morale is that it was still a form of centralized technocratic control. Their methods were susceptible to cooptation and retrofitting by propagandists. People were free to explore any direction or aspect of the Committee’s rich multimedia exhibits and campaigns, but these experiences could only be chosen from a menu created by a small group of experts. This is sometimes called “choice architecture” and it is currently used as one aspect of “nudging” campaigns, in which certain personal decisions are mitigated through the careful control of choice architecture in information environments and commercial interactions. An increasingly common subject for these campaigns includes the many societal challenges around public health, such as smoking and obesity. The ethics of this form of social control are contested, despite the Obama administration’s major governmental initiatives towards the deployment of such strategies.[26]

Overcoming Asymmetries of Knowledge and Power

Mead and Bateson misidentified the key issue as being about the structure of the communication environment: broadcast vs. multicast; didactic vs. interactive; little choice in what to watch vs. lots of viewing options. These are undoubtedly important factors in shaping our engagement with the information commons. The key difference, however, is really all about the dynamics of asymmetry in information and power. What is the relationship between those who hold knowledge and those who are in need of it? Is there an unbridgeable knowledge gap, by design, or is there a path toward mutual responsibility for the total range of knowledge (i.e., graduation)?

Both propaganda and education involve the deliberate design of informational environments, for the purposes of emotional engagement, behavior change, and the learning of specific ideas. As we have seen, propaganda acts ultimately in the interest of powers held by a political group. Education, however, acts in the interest of reducing the difference in power between those “in the know” and those who need to learn. Educators are interested in securing a successful transmission between generations and classes of shared responsibility for the social system. True educators are not interested in solidifying political power and administering social control through the use of information and its strategic communication.

Educational relationships always involve a situation of legitimate epistemic asymmetry: the teacher knows more than the student, and this is known and embraced by both parties. Educational media and practices—in schools and beyond—seek to lessen and eventually make obsolete the very asymmetry upon which the relationship is based. The goal is that the student graduates and does not need to be dependent upon a specific source of epistemic authority. They become one themselves. This means the educator is radically accountable and responsible for what they say and do because they are in a position that is by design creating an eventual peer—someone who can fully check and evaluate their work.


©Adaptive Cultures

Groups seeking to educate whole populations on how to think and act need to take steps that show they are accountable for the impact of their influence.

Propaganda also usually involves an epistemic asymmetry: the propagandists know more than the propagandized, or at least act on that assumption. Propaganda works to maintain and widen the asymmetries of power and knowledge that make propaganda possible and apparently necessary. This is because the goal is to exercise control over the behavior of target populations, not to help them expand the range of their behavior into realms occupied by the propagandists—such as the realms of deciding what is “true” and “false.” As such, the propagandists, by design, cannot be held accountable for the content of their communications because they have disallowed the possibility.

The propagandists’ complete sources and data are simply never made accessible to the propagandized. A good teacher, though, will consider exactly the same text as their student and aim to pass on the responsibility for understanding all of the data and more. The contrast here is clear, but in practice it can be hard to detect.

A clear example can be drawn from the pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies have been known to conduct large scale “public health campaigns” to convince people that a drug is safe, despite never revealing all the data necessary to evaluate safety comprehensively.[27] In such cases, the information campaign is designed to influence behavior towards taking the drug, rather than to educate earnestly about the nature of the drug and the research behind it.

To be even more specific, in COVID-19 vaccination public health campaigns, there are at least two pieces of uncontested (though rarely stated) information that tip the balance away from education and towards propaganda. The first is that the raw data held by pharmaceutical companies is not available to anyone but them. Nor should it be, under current legal standards of practice for drug research. Nevertheless, this creates an unbridgeable epistemic asymmetry, and one that is actively guarded against breach.

The second is that vaccine manufacturers are not accountable for the failure of the vaccine to work or for the injuries caused by the vaccine. And again, according to the letter of the law, they are not required. However, this creates an anti-educational relationship between the company and its customers. How trustworthy can a teacher be who will not seek to be held accountable for their claims and recommendations? No teacher would do that; only a salesman would have that kind of fine print.

Groups seeking to educate whole populations on how to think and act need to take steps that show they are accountable for the impact of their influence. Not doing so undermines the possibility of learning because it generates a fundamental distrust. If unbridgeable epistemic asymmetries are established and maintained, while accountability is avoided, then it is hard not to receive the label of propaganda and deserve it.

Recent research shows that the most highly educated (those holding PhDs) are the most hesitant to take COVID-19 vaccines.[28] The least-educated are also among the most hesitant, although they are more likely to change their minds. At least part of the explanation for these findings are the discernable dysfunctions and unbridgeable epistemic asymmetries involved in public discourse about the vaccine. Only a few extra questions reveal that the possibilities for education are overrun by powerful propaganda. It is not a question of who presents “facts.” It is a question of who presents enough total information, alongside evidence of good faith and clarity of presentation, to allow a motivated and reasonable person to become truly educated about the topic. Is the creator of the message relating to us in good faith as potential students and collaborators, or in bad faith as if we are part of a target population to be manipulated? Although this is often difficult to establish, on occasion it can be crystal clear—particularly in the case of microtargeted advertisements and public service announcements appearing in a social media newsfeed.

Some want to build rubrics, checklists, and other analytical tools to empower citizens. The problem with simple “propaganda analysis tools”[29] is that they can’t keep up with the arms races taking place at the frontiers of information warfare. Moreover, once such a tool has been created, a sophisticated propagandist could use it as an objective reference to “prove” their work can be trusted. This kind of certification of “official truth” is part of the problem, and often functions as covert propaganda.

Indeed, the work of the Consilience Project risks being labeled as covert propaganda precisely because it claims to offer content that is only educational. Isn’t this exactly what good propaganda would claim? Isn’t this content propaganda too, especially because it is claiming not to be? These kinds of questions form a vicious cycle of epistemic suspicion—a form of epistemic nihilism—and removes the possibility for education to occur. It makes the mistake of assuming that there is no point in even trying to distinguish between education and propaganda. A cultural mood of epistemic nihilism is the fallout of information war. It leads to an inability to orient toward legitimate epistemic asymmetries. The end result is a breakdown of educational cooperation between generations. Over time, epistemic suspicion systematically distorts educational exchange—between generations and between parts of society with access to different levels of information.

Our recommendations here are based upon principled commitments, rather than concrete prescriptions, diagnostic techniques, or media literacy rubrics. All these measures are important and remain the focus of effort and inquiry by others. In our paper on the challenges of making sense of the 21st century, we discussed the need for a new ethos of learning and a new emotional stance of epistemic humility.[30] For these kinds of principled values to manifest there must also emerge new practices and cultural habits, and likely new kinds of institutions.

In the first paper of this series, we offered the idea of “combat free zones” or “demilitarized zones”: educational refuges in the context of a total and escalating information war. This is where the weapons of the culture war could be laid down so that a different form of communication could take place. However, only a prior shared commitment to an ethos of learning can enable this kind of ceasefire. The epistemic hubris and nihilism resulting from propaganda must be replaced by the good faith questioning and epistemic humility that drive cooperative educational engagements.

We know already the catastrophic outcomes of mismanaged educational crises, and the dire consequences for open societies in particular.[31] It is clear that one of the main challenges to securing viable futures for open societies is limiting the range of propagandistic communication. If we let propaganda continue to dominate and shape our information commons, the future will be determined by an ever-smaller group of powerful interests. In that scenario eventually it is everyone who bears the catastrophic cost of humanity’s self-imposed inability to make sense of the world.[32]


Footnotes

  1. For a comprehensive definition of education see: The Consilience Project, “Help Wanted: On the Nature of Educational Crises,” June 6, 2021, https://consilienceproject.org/education-crisis/.

  2. “DMU academic says new Chinese film 1921 can lead to alternative discussion of relations between East and West.” University News Blog. De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. July 1, 2021, https://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/news/2021/july/dmu-academic-says-new-chinese-film-1921-can-lead-to-alternative-discussion-of-relations-between-east-and-west.aspx, and Patrick Frater, “Chinese Propaganda Film 1921 Set to Release in U.S. and U.K.,” Variety, July 2, 2021,https://variety.com/2021/film/asia/chinese-film-1921-us-release-1235010914/.

  3. Oliver Thomson, Easily Led: A History of Propaganda (Phoenix Mill, Sutton Publishing, 1999).

  4. Philip Taylor, Munitions of the Mind: A History of Propaganda From the Ancient World to the Present Day (Manchester University Press, 2003).

  5. Elmer Palmer, Propaganda in Germany During the Thirty Years War, pp. 21-24. (Princeton University Press, 1940)

  6. Elmer Palmer, Propaganda in Germany During the Thirty Years War (Princeton University Press, 1940).

  7. Peter Wilson, The Thirty Years War: Europe’s Tragedy (Harvard University Press, 2009).

  8. Oliver Thomson, Easily Led: A History of Propaganda (Phoenix Mill, Sutton Publishing, 1999).

  9. See The Consilience Project, “Help Wanted: On the Nature of Educational Crises,” June 6, 2021, https://consilienceproject.org/education-crisis/.

  10. Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine (New York: Hart Court, 1966).

  11. For an overview, see the classic text now in its seventh edition: Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda & Persuasion (New York: Sage, 2019).

  12. Much of this table is inspired by the classic work Jaques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (New York: Vintage, 1965).

  13. Edward Wong, Matthew Rosenberg, and Julian E. Barnes, “Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages that Sowed Virus Panic in U.S., Officials Say,” New York Times, April 22, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/coronavirus-china-disinformation.html.

  14. The term goes back to Hitler. It has been falsely attributed to his propaganda chief, Goebbels, who did indeed perpetrate big lies, en masse, about Jews in particular. There is now a Wikipedia page that links the term to Trump. We will return in future papers to the idea that Wikipedia itself is a likely source of covert propaganda.

  15. See Ellul, Propaganda, note 11 above.

  16. See The Consilience Project, “As a Matter of Fact,” forthcoming.

  17. Kenneth Osgood, Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006).

  18. For the history of U.S. campaigns see, J. Michael Sproule, Propaganda and Democracy: The American Experience of Media and Mass Persuasion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

  19. Stephen Kinzer, Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control (New York: Henry Holt, 2019).

  20. See The Consilience Project, “Where Arguments Come From,” June 25, 2021, https://consilienceproject.org/where-arguments-come-from/.

  21. Fred Turner, The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

  22. Ibid.

  23. Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, “Principles of Morale Building” In Journal of Education and Sociology, no. 4 (1941): 206-20.

  24. Turner, The Democratic Surround, pp. 66-67. See note 20 above.

  25. Ibid.

  26. Cass R. Sunstein, The Ethics of Influence: Government in the Age of Behavioral Science (Cambridge University press, 2016).

  27. Pharmaceutical company ad and public health campaigns are treated as textbook examples of propaganda in the standard textbook by Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda & Persuasion (New York: Sage, 2019).

  28. Unherd, “The Most Vaccine-hesitant group of all? PhDs.” Unherd, Aug 22, 2021, https://unherd.com/thepost/the-most-vaccine-hesitant-education-group-of-all-phds/.

  29. Much of this work is being done on the political left, at least in the U.S. See for example: Renee Hobbs, Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age (New York: Norton, 2020).

  30. See The Consilience Project, “Challenges to Making Sense of the 21st Century” March 30, 2021, https://consilienceproject.org/challenges-to-making-sense-of-the-21st-century/.

  31. See The Consilience Project, “Help Wanted: On the Nature of Educational Crises,” June 6, 2021, https://consilienceproject.org/education-crisis/.

  32. See The Consilience Project,“It’s a MAD Information War,” July 25, 2021, https://consilienceproject.org/its-a-mad-information-war/.