Tuesday, November 11, 2008


When I am asked to provide an example of propaganda today I think of Rolling Stone magazine. I have a subscription to this magazine and over the presidential campaign period they put Barack Obama on the cover three times. Rolling Stone is a music magazine and extremely liberal, and obviously full-heartedly supports Obama as president. On one of these three covers Obama is particularly immaculate. He stands, hands on hips, with a very serious look on his face. He seems to say, "America look at what trouble we have gotten ourselves into, shame. Now it is my job to undo these horrible deeds!" Obama wears a blue suit, over a white shirt, with a red tie, the colors of patriotism! What stands out the most though, is the angelic light illuminating his back-side. Large letters next to his picture read, "A NEW HOPE." All the aspects of this cover point to one thing, vote Obama. Open these magazines and you will find more and more articles, drawings, and photographs screaming, "VOTE OBAMA!" While I myself am a Obama supporter, flipping through these magazines disgusted me. Instead of a balanced and objective view of both candidates the Republican nominee was ridiculed and mocked. Rolling Stone put Obama on one end of the spectrum, flawless and our savior, while McCain sat on the other end, insane and malicious. This to me is a perfect example of propaganda. Propaganda attempts to convince a large audience to do or believe something, in this case vote Obama. A magazine cover is also a perfect way to present propaganda because not only do subscribers see them (a group most likely already convinced) but millions of people see them on news stands, in grocery stores, and in the hands of other readers. Propaganda also often presents facts selectively in order to produce an opinion. These magazines do this, as I explained, by unfairly representing the opposing candidate. Propaganda may present information in more of an emotional way rather than a rational one. Rolling Stone does this by making Obama look cool. Rolling Stone is all about being cool, it shows page after page of rock stars looking good and being awesome. So, when they interview Obama they often ask him questions unrelated to his policies or his campaign but ask questions that convey him as a cool guy (like his experimentation with drugs or all the musicians that support him.) I supported the cause to get Barack elected, but these covers definitely fall into the category of propaganda.

No comments: