by Emma Kate Wright
Components of propaganda, throughout history, are rooted in the misuse and abuse of the resources available to us at the time. In the modern-day, fake articles are often written and shared on social media to alter situations or someone’s opinion on something. Newspaper owners William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer started the concept (or at least made everyone aware) of yellow journalism in the 1890s. This concept of fake news was kept alive by the people as everyone wanted to read something more interesting and crazy than what was actually happening at the time. They exaggerated stories to increase the circulation of their newspaper and simply trick people in America and eventually all around the world.
Propaganda continues to exist, increase, and trick people everywhere. The idea of propaganda and fakeness around the globe is not a new concept, but one in which the medium has changed. Rather than spreading propaganda through word of mouth before newspapers, writing fake news, speaking it on the radio, propaganda is now more accessible than ever. If any given person has a smartphone, they are susceptible to propaganda and fake news.
Modern propaganda is oftentimes not so obvious. The articles, news, and videos that are not believed by many people are overt and carry a sense of silliness and satire. Even then, many naive and gullible people believe this and share it. If at all possible, propaganda needs to be overt and never understated for the eyes of a reader or listener to actually believe the news. The problem is, the more subtly unreal the news is, the more likely people believe and accept the news to be true. In my personal experience, I will begin to read a legit article on a credible website, and on the side of the article pops up sponsored stories with very interesting headlines. I often click on these and stop reading the real article in which I am reading. Not only am I filling my mind with false information, these fake words could subconsciously contradict the real news and facts I was reading in the first place.
Propaganda allows our minds to have irrational thoughts that seem rational because of the propaganda. It also allows us to question whether or not what we know to be true is actually true. Well-stated propaganda leads many to question what they know and the knowledge they have possessed in the past. This is dangerous because, as a society, we are conforming all to the same mind and lack any real sense of creativity. Creativity is the only pure way of progression going forward in the future and how we got here today. In a society where people brag about being the “realest,” it is interesting to keep in mind that the base of everyone is their real self. Societal trends, social media, even music, can all be forms of propaganda as they usher humans to ultimately do what someone else thinks they should. Propaganda will not stop, but if we stay true to ourselves and guard our minds with our morals, logic, and things we know to be unshakably true, it can only go so far in the impact it makes in the end.