Propaganda Distribution Media

What is Propaganda Distribution?

A propaganda message, after it is prepared, must be delivered to the target audience. Some means of distribution must be employed. By this we mean any medium used to communicate the propaganda message to the desired audience. If you can identify the distribution, you may learn something about the propaganda message.

Alfred Lee lists 2 categories of propaganda media:

  1. Formal media: Lee lists examples such as "...established community newspapers, radio and television stations, advertising agencies, publicity firms, magazines, trade journals, book publishers, speakers' agencies, and motion-picture studios." Such organizations have large audiences, but business and financial pressures make them tend toward orthodoxy, not "rocking the boat," and avoiding controversy.
  2. Informal media: Lee's examples are "...rumor and gossip, direct mail, leaflets, pamphlets, marginal book publishers, placards and small posters, printed and mimeographed handbills, speakers, pickets, and many more." Today we must add the Internet to the list. The informal media are more diverse and flexible than the formal media, as well as being less centralized and controllable.

The media used by any given organization can be roughly grouped.
  1. Internal: Media used within organizations, such as newsletters, meetings, training sessions, etc. These don't get circulation outside of the organization.
  2. Controlled-direct: Conduits for messages with stated (not concealed) sponsorship. You could use a wide variety of media:
    • Paid ads anywhere
    • Direct mail pieces
    • Billboards
    • Speeches by organization representatives
    • Transit vehicle ads
    • Front Groups
    These will be messages that are created and controlled by the propagandist. They have the advantage that careful selection of the media (like small newspapers, group newsletters, etc) can restrict the message to a target group.
  3. Uncontrolled-direct: Such messages reach the public directly but are not so tightly controlled.
    • News outlets covering the organizations activities
    • Letters to the editor (sometimes edited by the media)
    • Articles which include the organization
    • Blog posts by people who agree with you
  4. Indirect: Here we find LOTS of possibilities. These are organizations who promote the propaganda objective with endorsements or rejections without outward indication of the influence. Lee's "informal media" are here.