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Propaganda in the Classroom
Propaganda Analysis Sheet


The Demon Saddam

  1. What item are you analyzing? The Demon Saddam poster
  2. The message you chose to work with is transmitted via (check off all applicable categories)
__X__ written language _____ spoken language _____ music _____ other sound
__X__ image (photo, drawing, etc.) __X__ color _____ other visual _____ other _______________________
  1. The medium used to transmit the message is (check off the type that applies)
_____ book _____ magazine _____ newspaper _____ mail or e-mail __X__ billboard or poster
_____ TV _____ radio _____ film _____ CD, audiotape, etc. _____ other _________________
  1. Who authored the message?


  1. At whom is it targeted?

English speaking supporters of a war against Iraq, and those sitting on the fence who might tip into the pro-war camp

  1. Is it commercial or non-commercial?


  1. In one clear, brief sentence, summarize the message with which you've decided to work.

People who won't fight Saddam are commies; avoid them and their position on the war.

  1. Are there other propagandistic messages in this item?


  1. Is the author attempting to elicit a behavior or a belief?


  1. Clearly state the behavior or belief the author wants from the target.

The author wants the viewer to believe that opponents of a war against Iraq are probably communists and traitors. S/he also wants them to do the patriotic and moral thing - support a war against this evil man.

  1. Does the message attempt to manipulate with emotion, reason or both?


  1. Describe how you think the manipulation works?

The text asserts (but provides no evidence) that the "LEFT" opposes the war, and that all war opponents are leftists.  It further implies that "leftists" support Saddam, and therefore are as evil as he is depicted.  To reinforce this point, the artist has painted the word LEFT in red.  This subtly identifies war opponents as communists (commonly called Reds in the US) in many people's minds.  This message was reinforced (and thereby gained validity) by constant repetition on television, in newspapers and magazines, and in political speech.  When the US finally attacked Iraq, contrary messages (always fewer anyway) virtually disappeared from American media life.  By default many people, uncritically, came to accept it as true.

  1. Do you believe this item was successful propaganda?


  1. What evidence supports your answer to the last question?

Arguments like this filled American airwaves, newspapers and political speech during the fall and winter of 2002-2003; and produced the domestic consensus that allowed the administration to go to war. (see poll results)

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original web posting: Thursday, April 24, 2003
last modified: Thursday, December 09, 2004