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Propaganda in the Classroom
Propaganda Analysis Sheet

Osama Wants You

  1. What item are you analyzing? The Osama Wants You 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.) _____ 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?

Americans who might be open to anti-war arguments

  1. Is it commercial or non-commercial?


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

Invading Iraq will inflame sentiment in the Arab world, creating more anti-American terrorism.

  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 oppose war against Iraq, and probably to take action (march, write letters, talk to friends, etc.) against it.

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


  1. Describe how you think the manipulation works?

Substituting Osama bin Laden for Uncle Sam in James Montgomery Flagg's famous poster, plants the idea that support of the war might actually bring about the terrorism the government claims it will defeat.

  1. Do you believe this item was successful propaganda?


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

Even though anti-war sentiment was nearly closed out of the media after the US attacked Iraq in March 2003, arguments like this led to a vigorous and growing anti-war movement in the weeks and months leading up to the attack.  However, arguments such as the one presented in this poster attempt to stimulate thought and reason, and lack the visceral impact of those in The Demon Saddam poster.

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copyright 2003-2004 All Rights Reserved.
original web posting: Thursday, April 24, 2003
last modified: Thursday, December 09, 2004