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Bias, Persuasion, and Propaganda

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Bias, Persuasion, and Propaganda

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Bias, Persuasion, and Propaganda


What is Bias?

Bias: (noun) a particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudiceSlide3

How do you recognize bias?

Look for Opinions Loaded Words Faulty ReasoningSlide4


Everyone has an opinion.Look for evidence that supports a point of view or an agenda.Agenda: hidden motive, secret plan, secret intention, hidden ploy, ulterior motive.What is the author’s opinion? It is likely that he or she is trying to make YOU agree with him or her by persuading you. Slide5

Loaded Words

DenotationThe dictionary definition of the word.ConnotationThe emotions and images associated with a word

Skilled authors and speakers will always choose their words for the greatest emotional impact and clearest possible meaning.Slide6

Word Choice (Diction) Matters


Two words can have the same denotative meaning, but call up very different imagesSlide7

Word Choice Indicates Bias

Freedom FighterTerroristSlide8

Word Choice Indicates Bias

Terrorist?Freedom Fighter?Slide9

Faulty Reasoning

Also called logical fallacies Indicate that something just isn’t right Some common examples Begging the Question Ad Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc Non SequitorSlide10

Begging the Question

This is a fallacy in which the author states that something is true as a proof of itself.X is true because X is true George W. Bush was the worst president because there was no president who was worse than him.Slide11

Ad Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

“After this therefore because of this” Implies that one thing caused another simply because of their chronology Confuses Cause Effect relationships “Things went bad after Mr. Smith became CEO, therefore it was his fault things went bad!”Slide12

Non Sequitur

“It does not follow” The conclusion has no connection whatsoever to the argument. “You should elect me as your leader because I make the best ice cream sundaes!”Slide13

Propaganda and Persuasive Techniques

People use propaganda to make what they say or write more convincing. Propaganda appeals to emotion. Propaganda is not always logical.Slide14

Propaganda and Persuasive Techniques

Bandwagon: Everyone else is doing it, so I should too.Testimonial: A famous person is used to try and influence you to do or buy something.Slide15

Propaganda and Persuasive Techniques

Glittering Generalities: Uses words that are patriotic, attractive, or catchy, but don't really say anythingSlide16

Propaganda and Persuasive Techniques

Loaded Words: Using emotionally charged words to produce strong positive or negative feelings.Politicians are lowdown and dishonest people. Stereotype: Uses commonly held, but oversimplified or unfair images of a group to make a point which isn't true. All English teachers read Shakespeare in their spare time; they have no fun.Slide17

Propaganda and Persuasive Techniques

Broad Generalization: Making a broad statement that something is true about all members of a group. Everyone says that no one in America watches soccer. Guilt by Association: Rejecting an argument or claim because the person proposing it likes someone whom is disliked by another. Hitler liked dogs.  Therefore, dogs are bad.Slide18

Propaganda and Persuasive Techniques

New and different: The mistaken assumption that an idea is good just because it is new. Cause and effect: Assuming that the effect is related to a cause because the events occur together.When the rooster crows, the sun rises.  Therefore, the rooster causes the sun to rise.Slide19

Propaganda and Persuasive Techniques

Appeal to tradition: Trying to get someone to accept something because it has been done or believed for a long time. This is the way we've always done it. Therefore, it is the right way. Statistics: The attempt to support an idea with math that may be tough to prove.“Our product is 25% better than the national leading brand.”Slide20

Questions to Ask Yourself…

PurposeWhy is the author writing? What do they want me to believe? Who is the author’s intended audience?Tone and Style How do they convey their message differently than some other author might? Bias What preferences or prejudices does this author have?Propaganda and Persuasive TechniquesIs the author trying to

persuade you

by using some of the techniques we’ve reviewed?