Media Propaganda and Stereotypes

Our society consists of consumers that buy into stereotypes and the propaganda that is being fed by the government and the media. Stereotypes steer individual's perceptions of a group of people in a certain way, usually negative, and generalize that opinion to all members of the group. Aware of the influence stereotypes have on people's views, governments use stereotypes already imbedded in society as a propaganda tactic to persuade people's thoughts, opinions and beliefs in order to benefit their cause. The media was used for disseminating stereotypes the effect violent music has on teenager's behaviours such as in the shootings at Columbine. After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government used the media as an outlet to emphasize Muslim stereotypes to influence people to support the invasion of Iraq. Stereotypes and other propaganda techniques such as "name-calling, manicheanism, and censorship" are powerful instruments used in propaganda, because it tactfully influences the population to think in the way that the government and media want them to think (Shah, 2003). However, its success depends on how strong the stereotypes are instilled in society, how well they are maintained within propaganda and if the public is unaware of the propaganda techniques used.

Propaganda is most often used during times of conflict, such as the most recent example regarding the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. When news broke out all over the media that the terrorists responsible for the atrocity were of Muslim origin, many racist individuals probably thought 'it figures.' Ever since the fact that Saddam Hussein "used chemical weapons to poison tens of thousands Kurds in 1988" was exposed to the public via the media, t...

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SCHECHTER, Danny (2001). "Covering Violence: How Should Media Handle Conflict?" Online at:, consulted on March 27, 2004.

SHAH, Anup (2003). "War, Propaganda and the Media." Global Issues. Online at:, consulted on March 27, 2004.

The Disaster Center (2000). "Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold: Stop the Violence, Remember Littleton." Online at:, consulted on April 1,

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