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Handling the Subtleties of Propaganda and Mental Manipulation

From the October 1968 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Politicians know that political propaganda can influence voters. That is why, at election time, millions of dollars are poured into radio, television, and newspaper publicity. Much of this publicity is honest and factual, and therefore helpful. But too often it is carefully designed to deceive the voters instead of inform them.

Here is one typical example of the kind of political propaganda that needs to be guarded against: "Throw the rascals out. They are crooks and dullards." But are they? Aren't at least some of the elected officeholders honest and hardworking, trying to do their jobs well? The point is whether you, as a voter, depend on propaganda, rumor, and gossip for your decision making.

Here is another example of deceptive propaganda: "Candidate so-and-so will cut taxes. At the same time he will spend more." Ridiculous, isn't it? But many voters are taken in by such double-talk, and then cry out when taxes are increased to pay for politicians' campaign promises.

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