Propaganda Project

Open source project to build a Web service that will enable people to identify and catalog instances of propaganda techniques used in mass media to effectively pull back the curtain so that it loses its persuasive effect.

For example, let's take the three 60-minute programs competing on the cable news networks 5 PM:

  1. Glenn Beck (Fox News)
  2. Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (CNN)
  3. Hardball with Chris Matthews Hardball (MSNBC)

The Web service will make it easy for people to identify and catalog instances of propaganda techniques used during each episode. Someone might see and tag in online video that Glenn Beck used a "glittering generality" at 1 min and 12 seconds into the show and an "appeal to fear" at 1 min 33 seconds. Someone else might see that Chris Matthews used a "red herring" at 1 min 20 seconds and Wolf Blitzer used a "quote out of context" at 1 min 40 seconds.

My premise is that there is a finite number of shows and an abundance of politically-passionate people that love pointing out the other-side's propaganda. Over the course of an hour-long program, people might be able to identify 30 or more instances of propaganda techniques used in each program.

If the service becomes popular, and people use it to check to see if their favorite shows are using propaganda or if the other-side is, the networks won't want to be known as the networks with the most propagandist shows so they will force the shows' producers to reduce the ratio of propaganda per episode.

This is a brand new project that's just getting off the ground so please give me your feedback, and contact us if you want to help.

Play this fasinating talk recorded @ Harvard University in 1997 -- "Propaganda and Control of The Public Mind" -- where MIT professor Noam Chomsky explains to a group of Harvard students the role of propaganda in modern society.

Check out the discussion about the Propaganda Project going on @ Hacker News.

Project Lead:James Thornton - Dallas, TX
Start Date:February 4, 2011 (it's piping part of the change you want to see in the world!)
Platform:Python on PostgreSQL
Twitter:Follow propagandaproj on Twitter
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©2011 Propaganda Project.