WT article on propaganda

by greenie 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • greenie

    Does anyone want to tackle the hypocrisy in this article? Here's the link and the text is below. Also, can any former Dubs explain how a JW could read or write this and not see how it applies to themselves? I mean, I guess they wouldn't like to compare themselves to Hitler, but there are so many correlations between propaganda as it's described in this article and how the WTS operates.


    The Manipulation of Information

    "By clever and persevering use of propaganda even heaven can be represented as hell to the people, and conversely the most wretched life as paradise." —A DOLF H ITLER, M EIN K AMPF.

    AS MEANS of communicating have expanded—from printing to the telephone, radio, television, and the Internet—the flow of persuasive messages has dramatically accelerated. This communications revolution has led to information overload, as people are inundated by countless messages from every quarter. Many respond to this pressure by absorbing messages more quickly and accepting them without questioning or analyzing them.

    The cunning propagandist loves such shortcuts—especially those that short-circuit rational thought. Propaganda encourages this by agitating the emotions, by exploiting insecurities, by capitalizing on the ambiguity of language, and by bending rules of logic. As history bears out, such tactics can prove all too effective.

    A History of Propaganda

    Today the word "propaganda" has a negative connotation, suggesting dishonest tactics, but originally that was not the meaning intended for the term. "Propaganda" apparently comes from the Latin name of a group of Roman Catholic cardinals, the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith). This committee—called Propaganda for short—was established by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 to supervise missionaries. Gradually, "propaganda" came to mean any effort to spread a belief.

    But the concept of propaganda was not born in the 17th century. From ancient times, men have used every available medium to spread ideologies or enhance fame and power. For example, art has served propagandistic ends since the days of the Egyptian pharaohs. These kings designed their pyramids to project an image of power and durability. Similarly, the architecture of the Romans served a political purpose—the glorification of the state. The term "propaganda" took on a generally negative connotation in World War I when governments began playing an active role in shaping the war information spread by the media. During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels proved themselves to be master propagandists.

    Propaganda promoting war and smoking has contributed to many deaths

    Following World War II, propaganda increasingly became a major instrument to promote national policy. Both the Western and the Eastern blocs waged all-out campaigns to win the great masses of uncommitted people to their side. Every aspect of national life and policy was exploited for propagandistic purposes. In recent years the growing sophistication of propaganda techniques has been evident in election campaigns, as well as in advertising by tobacco companies. So-called experts and other leaders have been employed to portray smoking as glamorous and healthful and not as the threat to public health that it actually is.

    Lies, Lies!

    Certainly, the handiest trick of the propagandist is the use of outright lies. Consider, for example, the lies that Martin Luther wrote in 1543 about the Jews in Europe: "They have poisoned wells, made assassinations, kidnaped children . . . They are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil who sting and work harm." His exhortation to so-called Christians? "Set fire to their synagogues or schools . . . Their houses [should] also be razed and destroyed."

    A professor of government and social studies who has studied that era says: "Antisemitism has fundamentally nothing to do with the actions of Jews, and therefore fundamentally nothing to do with an antisemite's knowledge of the real nature of Jews." He also notes: "The Jews stood for everything that was awry, so that the reflexive reaction to a natural or social ill was to look to its supposed Jewish sources."

    Making Generalizations

    Another very successful tactic of propaganda is generalization. Generalizations tend to obscure important facts about the real issues in question, and they are frequently used to demean entire groups of people. "Gypsies [or immigrants] are thieves" is, for instance, a phrase frequently heard in some European countries. But is that true?

    Richardos Someritis, a columnist, says that in one country such perceptions caused a kind of "xenophobic and very often racist frenzy" against foreigners. It has been shown, however, that when it comes to delinquent acts, the culprits in that country are just as likely to be native-born as foreign. For example, Someritis notes that surveys have shown that in Greece, "96 out of 100 crimes are perpetrated by [Greeks]." "The causes of criminal activity are economic and social," he observes, "not 'racial.'" He blames the media "for systematically cultivating xenophobia and racism" by a slanted coverage of crime.


    Some people insult those who disagree with them by questioning character or motives instead of focusing on the facts. Name-calling slaps a negative, easy-to-remember label onto a person, a group, or an idea. The name-caller hopes that the label will stick. If people reject the person or the idea on the basis of the negative label instead of weighing the evidence for themselves, the name-caller's strategy has worked.

    For example, in recent years a powerful antisect sentiment has swept many countries in Europe and elsewhere. This trend has stirred emotions, created the image of an enemy, and reinforced existing prejudices against religious minorities. Often, "sect" becomes a catchword. "'Sect' is another word for 'heretic,'" wrote German Professor Martin Kriele in 1993, "and a heretic today in Germany, as in former times, is [condemned to extermination]—if not by fire . . . , then by character assassination, isolation and economic destruction."

    The Institute for Propaganda Analysis notes that "bad names have played a tremendously powerful role in the history of the world and in our own individual development. They have ruined reputations, . . . sent [people] to prison cells, and made men mad enough to enter battle and slaughter their fellowmen."

    Playing on the Emotions

    Even though feelings might be irrelevant when it comes to factual claims or the logic of an argument, they play a crucial role in persuasion. Emotional appeals are fabricated by practiced publicists, who play on feelings as skillfully as a virtuoso plays the piano.

    For example, fear is an emotion that can becloud judgment. And, as in the case of envy, fear can be played upon. The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, of February 15, 1999, reported the following from Moscow: "When three girls committed suicide in Moscow last week, the Russian media immediately suggested they were fanatical followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses." Note the word "fanatical." Naturally, people would be fearful of a fanatic religious organization that supposedly drives young people to suicide. Were these unfortunate girls really connected with Jehovah's Witnesses in some way?

    The Globe continued: "Police later admitted the girls had nothing to do with [Jehovah's Witnesses]. But by then a Moscow television channel had already launched a new assault on the sect, telling viewers that the Jehovah's Witnesses had collaborated with Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany—despite historical evidence that thousands of their members were victims of the Nazi death camps." In the mind of the misinformed and possibly fearful public, Jehovah's Witnesses were either a suicidal cult or Nazi collaborators!

    The sly art of propaganda can
    paralyze thought and prevent clear thinking

    Hatred is a strong emotion exploited by propagandists. Loaded language is particularly effective in triggering it. There seems to be a nearly endless supply of nasty words that promote and exploit hatred toward particular racial, ethnic, or religious groups.

    Some propagandists play on pride. Often we can spot appeals to pride by looking for such key phrases as: "Any intelligent person knows that . . ." or, "A person with your education can't help but see that . . ." A reverse appeal to pride plays on our fear of seeming stupid. Professionals in persuasion are well aware of that.

    Slogans and Symbols

    Slogans are vague statements that are typically used to express positions or goals. Because of their vagueness, they are easy to agree with.

    For example, in times of national crisis or conflict, demagogues may use such slogans as "My country, right or wrong," "Fatherland, Religion, Family," or "Freedom or Death." But do most people carefully analyze the real issues involved in the crisis or conflict? Or do they just accept what they are told?

    In writing about World War I, Winston Churchill observed: "Only a signal is needed to transform these multitudes of peaceful peasants and workmen into the mighty hosts which will tear each other to pieces." He further observed that when told what to do, most people responded unthinkingly.

    The propagandist also has a very wide range of symbols and signs with which to convey his message—a 21-gun salvo, a military salute, a flag. Love of parents can also be exploited. Thus, such symbolisms as the fatherland, the mother country, or the mother church are valuable tools in the hands of the shrewd persuader.

    So the sly art of propaganda can paralyze thought, prevent clear thinking and discernment, and condition individuals to act en masse. How can you protect yourself?

  • AllTimeJeff

    I remember this article. It definitely shows the disdain they have for their flock. They don't worry about us, they only worry about who they control. Propaganda IS their main tool, but the ones least able to see it is the flock under their control. And until individuals within are courageous enough to stand up for themselves, no one can help them.

  • greenie

    Someday I'd like to show this to my JW, but in a nonconfrontational way; I'd just like him to think about it. Someday, someday.

  • booby
  • Abe L. Toseenow
    Abe L. Toseenow

    I can easily explain it. It doesnt apply to them, they are "GOD'S CHOSEN ORGANIZATION". They are here to teach, not be taught. They are here to answer questions, not be questioned. They are here to judge, not be judged. Thats why they can write this tripe, and no one gives it a second thought.

  • Chalam

    The whole article is a cruel joke as it sums up the WT propaganda tactics used so effectively the JWs.

    Consider the falsehood presented in this section alone

    Ask questions: As we have seen, there are many today who would like to 'delude us with persuasive arguments.' (Colossians 2:4) Therefore, when we are presented with persuasive arguments, we should ask questions.

    First, examine whether there is bias. What is the motive for the message? If the message is rife with name-calling and loaded words, why is that? Loaded language aside, what are the merits of the message itself? Also, if possible, try to check the track record of those speaking. Are they known to speak the truth? If "authorities" are used, who or what are they? Why should you regard this person—or organization or publication—as having expert knowledge or trustworthy information on the subject in question? If you sense some appeal to emotions, ask yourself, 'When viewed dispassionately, what are the merits of the message?'

    JWs are not allowed to ask questions of the WT, that brings DFing.

    Neither can one consider if the WT has bias. See the NWT and the bias against Jesus for example. The JW must swallow the WT claim it is "the most accurate translation" without presentation of any evidence of the authorities having "expert knowledge" of Greek and Hebrew. They are not allowed to check the trustworthiness of this WT propaganda and are discouraged from studying Greek or Hebrew themselves which will quickly show the mistranslations and inherent WT bias against Jesus.

    Neither can JWs bring up the track record of the WT. That kind of questions brings up dismissive "old light" and "imperfect men" answers and ultimately DFing if real answers are pursued.



  • Heaven

    I see they're writing about themselves again.

  • StoneWall

    I know the problem with propaganda.

    It has the word "pagan" in the middle of it. j/k

    (I can almost visualize a WT writter putting that in an article though)

  • Alwayshere


  • teel

    That piece of article is one of the best written in the WT literatures. It sums up the WT so well, that even an apostate could have written it (except a couple of sentences here and there).

    Let's see:

    Lies, lies! - peacedog summed it up quite well in this thread - the Watchtower published several times that Russel & co. looked forward to 1914 as the beginning of Christs's presence - when in fact they actually looked at that date as the end of this system of things. Also, there's plenty of misleading statements, which can be worse than lies, because they're easier to believe.

    Making generalizations - worldly people are sex crazed, evil, with no true love or friendship. 'Nuff said.

    Name calling - 'worldly', 'apostate', 'fleshly thinking', 'spiritually weak', etc.

    Playing on emotions - fear of the big A and being shunned is the main tool, they also use love bombing, and hatred against anything non-JW, pride because of their 'superior' Bible knowledge and 'superior' morales, overall being part of God's chosen people.

    Slogans and symbols - the JWs use an exceptionally loaded language, to the point where an outsider is completely lost when listening to them. As for symbols, the ever present tie and service bag comes to my mind. No spiritual person is without them...

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