Thursday, June 20, 2024

What Are We Doing?

by Mike's Birds from Riverside, CA [cropped] licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-SA 2.0 Generic

On return from travels recently, we're delighted to find that a lovely, noisy wren has finally moved into the small, ornate birdhouse in our front porch. With nobody disturbing efforts during our absence, this energetic songster built a substantial nest inside the birdhouse. More to come on this story, we're hoping.

This little creature's drive and industry could inspire anyone during the vagaries of an election season. And with absentee and early voting for candidates soon commencing in the United States as well as for citizens in international locations, time and effort are needed right now from anyone who values the freedom to control one's own thought, speech, and actions.

This is when action matters. As never before, it's direct push back that's needed to defeat the wannabes seeking public office who are addicted to their part-truths, distortions, lies, dodges, threats, intimidation, and violence. These are stereotyped ugly-Americans so disliked by many here and throughout the world. They promise real carnage for this country.

They count on extreme memes and actions to divert us from sorting through their nonsense. As an astute media anchor noted recently, the thuggery of these predators is not politics. Coercion certainly has no place in elections.

It's vital now to brainstorm and cooperate with strangers, neighbors, friends, family, and others to start or join efforts for a better future. Whether or not you're a joiner, it's more important than ever to find people in your neighborhood or circle of friends and relativesof whatever party affiliationwho value what democracy prevents. Unlike the wren, you don't have to go it alone. The cooperative action of citizens is the time-proven way to make democracy thrive.

And an election campaign presents countless ways for any of us to press for what we care about, by supporting the efforts of a candidate for public office who is doing something for the common good.

To support a local candidate, simply make contact and offer to help. A well organized campaign will quickly find tasks needing your input, to the extent that your time or resources permit. Some tasks might seem basic, or routine, or below your "pay grade," but these will still be important to the overall effort. A bonus to such brushes with politics, beyond the goodwill enjoyed by interacting with folks committed to a better future, will likely also be the start of lifelong friendships.

Alternatively, if your time is limited, some local boards of electors may still require poll workers or helpers in other roles on Election Day. Though modestly paid, these positions are critical to sustain the democratic process. My mother-in-law into her late eighties worked on polling booths for most election days. She remained "sharp as a tack." And frankly, we would all have been in good hands if she'd been president of the country.

What are you doing to ensure freedom from the control of wannabe autocrats seeking public office?

Monday, May 27, 2024

Common Cause

Hardly top-of-mind for most of us is the amazing rate of languages dying globally. Estimates are that about 3,000 of the 7,000 or so languages still spoken worldwide are endangered.[1] From Wales to Vanuatu to many other locations, impulses like the economic advantage of a widely spoken language, natural disaster, or migration drive this decline. The consequent loss of identity, cultures, and communities mean that we all "lose a part of who we are."[2]

Yet 1960 onwards also witnessed a rapid growth in the creation of "essentially fictional and 'private' languages with a playful or cryptic purpose." In an intriguing book on the subject, the French linguist Marina Yaguello explores many of the diverse motivations and processes driving the creation of imaginary languages.[3]

Through the years 1100 to 2005, the tally of created languages grew in single-digits during decades or more before the year 1900. This was followed by exponential growth in new languages, with 298 developed in 2000-2004.[4] The Star Trek cult-phenomenon continues to stimulate tens of thousands of fans to learn and speak Klingon with each other worldwide. 

Another language that's discussed is Newspeak, which George Orwell outlines in an appendix to his satirical novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Irrespective of the ongoing debates about the relationship between thought and language, Orwell's outline of Newspeak further illustrates a purpose of autocrats. He offers that their manipulation of language is to control "mental habits," making "all other modes of thought impossible."[5] 

He describes the principles of Newspeak as designed to (1) reduce vocabulary to exclude meanings contrary to the party line, (2) reshape grammar to dictate regularity, (3) create words to impose a "desirable mental attitude," (4) destroy undesirable meanings, (5) use euphemisms to mean "almost the exact opposite of what they appeared to mean," (6) abbreviate names to narrow and alter meaning, and (7) redefine scientific and technical terms to "strip them of undesirable meanings."[6] Orwell proposes that such changes are designed to change how we think, to control our worldview and actions.

As in Orwell's time, ongoing onslaughts of disinformation are designed to deny freedom of thought, and consequent freedoms of speech, and association. In topsy-turvy diatribes, today's autocrat-propagandists obsessively camouflage criminality as bravado or defiance, while continuing to warp truth to gain trust. 

As far back as 2015 and earlier, computerized propagandists were selling their dubious services to set the basis for these efforts, with claims of being able to track and harvest information to microtarget 5,000 data points of any of us. As Joe Westby notes, "The push to grab users' attention and to keep them on platforms can also encourage the current toxic trend towards the politics of demonization."[7] This is a dynamic amplified at a pace that allows little space for counter-framing. 

The urgency is to build and sustain robust individual and cooperative efforts to outwit these propagandists.

When less than six months remains to an election day, the important question remains what more will each of us do, locally and now, to help democracy thrive? 


1. Karin Wiecha (2013), "New Estimates on the Rate of Global Language Loss," The Rosetta Project Blog,  March 28, 

2. Anouschka Foltz (2015), "When Languages Die, We Lose a Part of Who We Are," The Conversation, December 9,

3. Marina Yaguello (2022), Imaginary Languages: Myths, Utopia, Fantasies, Illusions, and Linguistic Fictions, Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

4. Yaguello, pp. xx-xxi; see Klingon Language Institute website at:

5. George Orwell (1972), "The Principles of Newspeak," Nineteen Eighty-Four, Harmondsworth: Penguin, pp. 241-251 [1st published 1949]

6. Orwell, pp. 242-249

7. Amnesty International (2019), 'The Great Hack': Cambridge Analytica Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg,

Monday, May 6, 2024

To Do Something

Election campaigns bring both challenge and opportunity. As the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson remarked during a crisis with the sterling currency in 1964, "A week is a long time in politics" (Ratcliffe). Likewise, in the topsy-turvy of election campaigns, what is concerning today can be less or substantially more significant tomorrow.

My first experience of this was directing a local election campaign in my late twenties. This campaign sought the re-election of a less than ideal candidate who had managed to upset many of his constituents over the years.

Equal first priorities were to (1) find and engage the few party loyalists and a larger number of young folks willing to work for the campaign, (2) secure donations and media coverage, and (3) build and sustain the enthusiasm of volunteers for the myriad, repetitive clerical and logistical tasks needed to get the campaign underway.

And there can never be enough opportunities for people to talk with the candidate. One-on-one or one-on-two conversations defuse polarized views and ignite new commitments. For local campaigns or more widely, it's block parties, "meet-and-greets," door-to-door, or other opportunities for personal conversation that matter.

One initiative made possible by the generosity of volunteers and donors was to arrange for the candidate to give out tree seedlings to his constituents at local shopping centers. With each tree, the candidate also provided a leaflet explaining how residents could obtain an additional free tree through a little known "greening" program of the state's department of agriculture. This "meet-and-greet" was warmly welcomed and, as a bonus, stimulated some local media coverage.

During this fairly short campaign, small and larger issues for attention popped up endlessly. It was thanks to the support of some wise, new friends and a can do persistence of many that we kept up the momentum. The resulting win by 117 votes in an electorate of about 28,000 voters, like many such wins, proved important not only for the candidate, but also for the overall campaign effort.

When just six months remains to election day, the key question to answer is what more can each of us do that's useful?


Susan Ratcliffe (Ed.) (2017), Oxford Essential Quotations, (5th edn), [probably first said at the time of the 1964 sterling crisis by British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson 1916-95]

Saturday, April 20, 2024


Daffodils in 2024
photo © copyright

Spring is finally being felt here. Warmer mornings edge aside the crisp night air. Daffodils project the mood of the season. As we move beyond being "fed up" or "sick of" the last months of winter, can we catch the spirit of this new season? Can we "do something" useful for democracy in the new "silly season" of electioneering that many of us face? 

Pseudo-populists of the right and sometimes of the left latch onto emotions stimulated by terms of grievance to rail against so-called elites or to amplify some other peeve. In the politics of fear, "all right-wing populist parties" will accentuate being "fed up" or inflame feelings to make an: 

ethnic/religious/linguistic/political minority...a scapegoat for most if not all current woes and subsequently construe the respective group as dangerous and a threat "to us," to "our" nation (Wodak, cited in Muecke).

During elections, manufactured outrage of this type is amplified. Baby Boomers and older age groups appear particularly prone to identify with the sentiment of being "fed up" or "sick of," or having "a gutful." Gen X and Millennials seem to find this framing less engaging, but the terms remain common catchcries in the politics of many English-speaking nations at least (Muecke). 

When linked with economic or social ills or cultural fears and myths, such catchcries also acquire compelling poweras witnessed with Brexit or ongoing efforts of pseudo-populists in a wide range of nations, as they pretend to be "of the people."

Not a new approach, but it's no comfort this type of polemic is as old as the ages. Though a propaganda tool, its mockery can also be used to counter propaganda. As noted in an earlier blog post, it was almost five decades ago that the actor Peter Finch, in the film Network [here], satirically modeled this framing. He memorably declared:

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore..."

Into the next six months in the United States, can we get beyond being "fed up" or "sick of" what occurs in the repetitive cycle of "silly season" electioneering? 

Can we sustain the promise of springtime to help democracy thrive?


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Sidney Lumet (Director) (1976), “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore! Speech from Network,”

Stephen Muecke (2023), "'Australians are sick of...': The Rise of Australian Populism," English Political Catchwords, 

See also:

R. Wodak (2015), The Politics of Fear: What Right-wing Populist Discourses Mean, London: Sage, p. 2

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Get Ahead of Propagandists to Counter Disinformation

Now at Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes&Noble, BOOKS-A-MILLION

and other stores.

Also via Ingram for library and bookstore orders.

122 pages, March 2024

ISBN: 978-1-7374895-3-5 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-7374895-7-3 (ebook)

[click on book cover to "Read sample" at]

The saying divide and rule energizes autocrat-propagandists. Their followers are propelled by the contrarian energy that's unleashed. How these propagandists gather followers and increasingly control the thought and action of large numbers of people is eerily similar.

Bravado and defiance are veneers on the intimidation or worse targeted at the judiciary, media, civic leaders, and specific ethnic, racial, or other groups. The cruelty and violence in these propagandists' words forecast a harder reality that will follow.

Pushing back on propagandists is a challenge at any stage. But the longer that propaganda causing harm is allowed, the greater the damage to everyone.

We need more than diagnoses and warnings to crush the fake information eating away our freedoms. For nations, organizations, or anyone fighting disinformation, now collected in paperback and ebook is a selection of my blog posts on countering propagandists. Included are reference notes, a bibliography, and an index.

Beyond a critical review of contemporary public discourse, this collection calls for purposeful action, describing steps for us to help democracy thrive. It outlines ways to
  • Outwit propagandists.
  • Detect, deflect, and dismantle disinformation.
  • Counter manufactured outrage.
Hoping you'll find it useful. Please let me know your thoughts, as you can.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

ANTI-Propaganda Action

"...the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach [women and] men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain."[1]

– Dorothy L. Sayers, 1947

The impact of thoughtful educators sometimes percolates into public awareness. News reports of the tragic shooting at Florida’s Parkland High School in 2018 put a spotlight on the School's articulate students. Since that fateful day and now as graduates, they call for nationwide gun controls. Their impact in public service more broadly includes supporting the election of a fellow survivor of gun violence as the youngest representative in Congress. A better future grows from such efforts.

We all need to be more than bystanders in democracy. More judges, lawyers, and civic leaders are needed who will pre-empt the autocrat-propagandists gaming the law to corrupt the legal system. Likewise, we need more legislators, media anchors, pundits, journalists, media management, and others to break their habit of amplifying trite outrage by parroting propagandists’ names, words, or memes.

Autocrat-propagandists rely on the failure to counter their propaganda to bathe us in distortions every day. Computerized and other propagandists have just kept improving their microtargeting of us.[2] And foreign, state-sponsored incursions are virulent. When fully effective propaganda controls independent thought and action, propagandists should be considered as menacing as military invaders. 

Winning against propaganda requires a mind-set and actions akin to resistance efforts in authoritarian states.[3] Ramped-up efforts are needed to prosecute the wrongdoing of autocrat-propagandists and to expand popular support for democracy.[4] And each of us needs rules-of-thumb for useful action against those who invade our thought, speech, and actions–especially to help bolster the best antidote to propaganda, namely our own independent thinking.

Priority: Outwit Propagandists

To outwit propagandists, many insights found useful from countering or investigating propaganda and disinformation[5] can help address the varied goals of nations, organizations, or individuals.[6] A well-developed plan drawing on such insights will incorporate commitment to

Be First! Forewarning or prebunking propaganda appears to be most powerful.[7] Psychological studies confirm the value of inoculation or pre-exposing audiences to a weak version of anticipated disinformation.[8] This is well-known to politicians who try to be first with good or bad news to pre-empt interpretations. Experimental studies of election campaigns are optimistic about such approaches to help deflect disinformation.[9]

Sustain concurrent initiatives against propaganda: “Put simply ...don’t expect to counter the firehose of falsehood with the squirt gun of truth.”[10]

Engage multiple, credible spokespersons and communication channels to debunk propaganda that’s already in play.[11] Repeating the propagandist’s words is almost always a bad idea. Studies suggest that effective debunking of mis/disinformation is difficult–the more so when it’s already been much repeated or little-challenged.

Highlight briefly and tangibly in lively, resonant ways what are the most harmful effects of a propagandist’s deeds,[12] claims, or urgings. Illustrate the effects on us. Do “not worry so much about countering propaganda that contributes to effects that are not of concern.”[13]

Be Ready to rapidly push back on potentially damaging rumors, polemic, and lies. The tabloid-based autocrat undermines the mass media and avoids interviews or cross-questioning, yet many members of the mass media remain megaphones for this scurrilous nonsense. Especially during political campaigns, its vital to be equipped to quickly answer, consciously ignore, or dampen inflammatory claims.

Push for law reform and longer-term fixes. While the priority is to preempt and dismantle the harm of day-to-day propaganda, longer-term fixes must also be addressed. “Ideas for reducing the flood of disinformation abound,” including regulation or self-regulation of “the supply or demand side.”[14] Even though energies and attention are stretched, we must decide what relatively few longer-term fixes warrant support.

Detecting Propaganda

How propaganda works remains difficult for many people to fathom. A first step for deflecting propaganda or disinformation is to project the harm likely to follow from a propagandist’s claims or urgings. Although propaganda is the art of the simple, its processes, effects, successes, or failures can be hard to objectively describe or measure. Jacques Ellul’s book Propaganda offers the most comprehensive understanding of the social and psychological principles at work; with Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell's Propaganda and Persuasion providing a much-valued introduction.[15] 

Propaganda is a dynamic of a mass group experiencing a firehose of information. Its effectiveness depends on at least some members of the group interacting with each other, within as well as across sub-groups, to influence the dynamic of the mass group. Ellul cautions about experiments with “a particular method of propaganda on small groups and in small doses–at which moment it ceases to be propaganda.”[16] Much needed are further actionable insights concluded from investigating propaganda “in the wild,” with reality as the laboratory.

As noted in earlier blog posts, propaganda like any communication is heard differently by different people. We acknowledge this about communication for our one-on-one conversations by intuitively using differently nuanced approaches to engage with different people. Words, images, or symbols are “neither fixed nor unified... [in their meaning, and] ...audiences [do not] ...consist merely of like-minded segments,”[17] despite what pollsters or other audience analysts may assert or imply. Appreciating how propaganda really works as it lands differently with different audience members is essential to address what’s going on.

For example, even when a crowd chants back at a propagandist some slogan or incantation, the communication takes shape individually in the minds of each member of the crowd. People united in action to deliver the propagandist's desired action do so from a variety of interpretations driving people to action. Understanding this is needed to engage members of the crowd in the dialogue that destroys propaganda.

Its important to appreciate that propagandists employ many tools and methods, since “strategies that may be effective at countering or neutralizing one type of misinformation may not work against others.”[18] Propaganda uses many different types and degrees of truth and truth out of context.[19] A party line or a propagandist’s style may be drummed out within a background of quite credible information, including selected facts or alternative facts.[20] 

Soundly informed skepticism can deal with many of the propagandist’s part-truths, distortions, lies, insults, threats, unjust accusations, character assassinations, or promises of utopia. But anyone looking only for blatant lies or preoccupied with a propagandist’s supposed intentions can become diverted by red herrings–and too readily fall prey to a well-developed propaganda campaign.[21] 

Recognizing Devices

Awareness of rhetorical methods and devices can help with understanding propaganda as more than “tall stories,”[22] or isolated statements, or only what adversarial governments do. From classical through recent times, teachers of rhetoric, philosophy, and related fields have offered ways to analyze a wide range of propaganda devices and common fallacies that propagandists use. 

Eleanor MacLean and Randal Marlin outline a robust list of fallacies and some lesser-known propaganda devices used to manipulate an audience. MacLean describes deceptive practices involving language, Bold assertions, Selective omission, Quoting out of context, Twisting and distortion, Meshing fact with opinion, and others.[23] Marlin outlines logical fallacies, including Ad hominem argument, False cause, Hasty generalization, Ignoring the question, Ignoring the logical force and direction of an argument, Begging the question, False analogy, Amphiboly (sentence constructions that can be parsed differently to get different meanings), and Accident (treating the nonessential as essential).[24]

From 1937-1942, Clyde R. Miller spearheaded a notable effort specifically against propaganda through the Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA) in New York. This initiative sought to limit the impact of propaganda on democracy by bolstering the public’s ability to think critically, for well-considered discussion of daily events. In 1939, Miller said:

There are three ways to deal with propaganda - first, to suppress it; second, to try to answer it by counter propaganda; third, to analyze it.[25]

The IPA was established with the support of the retailer Edward A. Filene and academic Kirtley Mather. As Michael Sproule observes, this Institute fused “academic and practical progressivism into an organized antipropaganda critique.”[26] Critics of the IPA failed “to distinguish between healthy skepticism and dysfunctional cynicism.”[27] Perhaps most contributing to the suspension of the IPA’s operations were changing viewpoints among some of its leaders when the United States entered World War II, as well as the difficulty of continuing to raise operating funds in the “changed social climate.”[28]

The IPA disseminated seven devices that propagandists use to tap prejudice and other emotions, as well as “ABCs” to help people highlight or suppress their own judgment. Description and examples of the IPA’s seven devices, Name-calling, Glittering generality, Transfer, Testimonial, Plain folks, Card stacking, and Bandwagon, along with the ABCs, remain readily available and widely used.[29] They have helped many people understand and deal at a basic level with propaganda.

Inarguably, these are just some of the ways to help detect propaganda. The easier propagandists to call out are those who say the outright opposite of what they do. More challenging are conjurers of euphemism[30] or maestros of the mealy-mouthed–especially any enabled by focus groups to parse and tailor what “best words” to direct at us, like prosperity, results, renewal, security, or a litany of words that are promoted into conversation without any matching actions that are required to deliver solutions for people. Instead of parroting a propagandist’s vacuous words, it’s best to amplify what actions are needed for real solutions.

Of course, it’s important to try to spot lies. To help with this, law enforcement and counterespionage interviewers explain indicators like Failing to answer, Non-specific denial, Reluctance or refusal to answer, Answering a question with a question, or Requesting a question be repeated.[31] These are considered significant when two or more occur. Despite ongoing research though, methods for spotting lies are not necessarily assured.[32]

For dealing with the ever-increasing waves of digital lies, librarians and others have also developed helpful ways to verify the accuracy of claims, including checking the changes made on Internet web pages, using the Wayback Machine or other methods.[33] Researchers using large language models continue to increase the accuracy of digital tools to enable large-scale detection of “fake news” and misinformation.[34]

Ongoing Education

 An urgent priority is to massively expand education enhancing the ability of adults, youth, and children to assess public discourse–to discern, analyze, and synthesize reality. Unfortunately, during recent centuries, as both education and the vote became more generally available in Western democracies, too many education curricula jettisoned valuable tools to differentiate sense from nonsense in public discourse.[35] People educated from the mid- to later twentieth century onwards have often had to rely on self-education for logic or smatterings of dialectics and rhetorical skills. 

A sorry decline in rhetorical education throughout the United States is outlined in David Fleming’s essay, “Fear of Persuasion in the English Language Arts.” He observes:

...if we identify persuasion with manipulation and pandering only, we fail to recognize a realm of influence-seeking that is neither of those, that tries to move others while still respecting their autonomy...[36]

From the mid-twentieth century, many educators developed “other teach critical thinking... [that mostly] avoided directly confronting society's leading persuaders and intractable problems... [and] ...emphasized the internal psychology of the thinker.[37] A range of programs need strengthening to educate thoughtful and articulate citizens.[38]

There is “significant evidence that media literacy training can help people identify false stories and unreliable news sources,” empowering “motivated individuals to take control of their media” use. As a whole-of-nation strategy to counter propaganda, media literacy “suffers challenges in speed, scale, and targeting.”[39] Even so, some nations are investing substantially in practical education of children, youths, and adults–including diplomats, members of defense forces, and other groups.[40] Renee Hobbs and Sandra McGee provide perspective on these programs, many of which have developed novel delivery modes and other innovations for learning that increase understandings of propaganda.[41]

Beyond the many efforts to educate future generations through media literacy,[42] nationwide initiatives in the United States are also strengthening civics education. In addition to the children and youth for whom programs like the relatively recent “Educating for American Democracy”[43] are designed, such programs could be valuable for many adults. College programs in civics, literacy, rhetoric, writing, media, or other fields also provide models to encourage collaborative inquiry into community problems. These programs develop democratic deliberation, re-structuring dialogues to encourage personal and public change through building “community literacy” in students[44]–advancing both educational goals and improved community understandings.

Research Insights

During the last seven years or so, the explosion of research into disinformation, conspiracy theories, fake news, and related areas is developing concepts of misinformation broadly defined, digital detection tools, or psychological understandings, particularly in relation to social media and mass media. A continuing challenge with this research is inconsistency defining core terms and concepts. The many thousands of research investigations that are concluded or underway require ongoing curation to distill what might be usefully put to work at scale.[45]

Some earlier studies suggest the value of assuring multi-faceted, pro-active initiatives to counter propaganda. Recommendations include 

  • mounting media literacy education to reduce “the persuasive efficacy” of propaganda, 
  • driving a wedge among adversaries, 
  • inoculating with information to reduce an “audience’s potential to be influenced,”
  • debunking to replace “incorrect information,” and
  • developing new regulations and other “strategies to counter propagandists and disinformation.”[46] 

 Important studies include “Propaganda of the Deed and Its Anarchist Origins,” “Countering Hamas and Hezbollah Propaganda,” “Defending against Russian Propaganda,” “IS’s Strategic Communication Tactics,” and “The Evolution of Terrorist Propaganda in Cyberspace.”[47]

More recent research examines networks and the effectiveness of interventions,[48] which include prebunking, boosting (psychological inoculation, critical thinking, and media/information literacy), nudging (accuracy primes and social norm nudges), debunking (fact-checking), and automatic labeling.[49] Still other insights are available concerning the content, motivations, and processes of conspiracy theorists, along with learning from ex-believers about individual journeys in and out of conspiracy theories online.[50]

Propaganda is described in some research as realizing “ideological goals through intentional distortions.” This work seeks to highlight: (1) the role of “true” information; (2) the influence of context; (3) the importance of repetition, not only as a rhetorical device but related to the means of distribution and dissemination; and (4) the part played by audiences themselves in the cyclical flows of digital information.[51] Other studies show how the preoccupation that many people have with social media facilitates their ready participation as audience members to amplify propaganda.[52]

The editors of The Sage Handbook of Propaganda call for studies of the “effects of propaganda, particularly on democratic and authoritarian systems and on public opinion, over time.”[53] And propagandists exploit both positive and negative features of a society’s culture. This makes at least as important studies to secure better understanding of how these features of culture predispose us to accept propaganda.

Whether for nations, organizations, or individuals, deciding priorities to outwit propagandists requires a developed understanding of the continuously evolving propaganda networks and processes. The ability to deal productively with controversy and conflicts of opinion has characterized the advancement of social and scientific progress from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.[54] As we go forward, ever-better critical abilities, conversation skills, and system resources are essential to deal effectively with the outrageous claims, polemic, scandal, or other distortions of truth by propagandists.


1. Sayers, Dorothy L. (1948), The Lost Tools of Learning: Paper Read at a Vacation Course in Education, Oxford, 1947, London: Methuen, p. 30

2. Simchon, Almog, Matthew Edwards, and Stephan Lewandowsky (2024), “The Persuasive Effects of Political Microtargeting in the Age of Generative Artificial Intelligence,” PNAS Nexus, 3(2), February,

 3. Kouper, Inna (2022), “Information Practices of Resistance during the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine,” Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 59(1), October 29-November1, pp. 157-168,

4. Kepe, Marta and Alyssa Demus (2023), Resisting Russia: Insights into Ukraine’s Civilian-Based Actions During the First Four Months of the War in 2022, Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, pp. 12-14 and p. 49; Jolley, Daniel and Karen M. Douglas (2017), “Prevention is Better than Cure: Addressing Anti-vaccine Conspiracy Theories,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(8), pp. 459-469,, Stephan and John Cook (2020), The Conspiracy Theory Handbook,

5. Roozenbeek, Jon, Eileen Culloty, and Jane Suiter (2023), “Countering Misinformation: Evidence, Knowledge Gaps, and Implications of Current Interventions,” European Psychologist, 28(3), July 14,, Carolin-Theresa and Tobias Rothmund (2024), “Psychological Underpinnings of Misinformation Countermeasures,” Journal of Media Psychology, January 23,; Courchesne, Laura, Julia Ilhardt, and Jacob N. Shapiro (2021), “Review of Social Science Research on the Impact of Countermeasures against Influence Operations,” Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, September 13164,

6. Bateman, Jon and Dean Jackson (2024), Countering Disinformation Effectively: An Evidence-Based Policy Guide, Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, pp. 1-8,; Smith, Zhanna Malekos (2020), “Part II: How the Information Environment is Testing the Mettle of Liberal Democracies,” in Burnt by the Digital Sun, Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, pp. 9-16,; Piskorska, Galyna, Daria Ryzhova, and Anatoly Yakovets (2023), “Joint Efforts of the Media, Civil Society, and the State to Counter Russian Disinformation,” International Journal of Innovative Technologies in Social Science, 3(39),; Teperik, Dmitri, Solvita Denisa-Liepniece, Dalia Bankauskaitė, and Kaarel Kullamaa (2022), Resilience Against Disinformation: A New Baltic Way to Follow? Estonia: International Centre for Defence and Security, and

7. Paul, Christopher and Miriam Matthews (2016), The Russian Firehose of Falsehood Propaganda Model: Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It, Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation,

8. Van der Linden, Sander (2023), Foolproof: Why Misinformation Infects Our Minds and How to Build Immunity, New York: W.W. Norton, pp. 174-175 and pp. 244-245 

9. Carey, John, Brian Fogarty, Marília Gehrke, Brendan Nyhan, and Jason Reifler (2024), “Prebunking and Credible Source Corrections Increase Election Credibility: Evidence from the U.S. and Brazil,”

10. Paul and Matthews; Roozenbeek, Culloty, and Suiter

11. Van der Linden, pp. 77-79; Paul and Matthews; Garrett, R. Kelly (2017), “The ‘Echo Chamber’ Distraction: Disinformation Campaigns Are the Problem Not Audience Fragmentation,” Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 6, pp. 370-376,

12. Bolt, Neville (2020), Propaganda of the Deed and Its Anarchist Origins, in Baines, Paul, Nicholas O'Shaughnessy, and Nancy Snow (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Propaganda, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sagepp. 3-21

13. Paul and Matthews

14. McQuade, Barbara (2024), Attack from Within: How Disinformation Is Sabotaging America, New York: Seven Stories Press, pp. 251-281

15. Ellul, Jacques (1965), Propaganda: The Formation of Mens Attitudes, New York: Vintage; Jowett, Garth S. and Victoria O’Donnell (2019), 7th edn, Propaganda and Persuasion, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage 

16. Ellul (1965), p. xii

17. Miller, Rodney G. (2023), “Book Review: A New Semiotics: An Introductory Guide for Students by David Sless & Ruth Shrensky,” Media International Australia, October 6,; see also: Phillips, Whitney (2019), “It Wasn't Just the Trolls: Early Internet Culture, ‘Fun,’ and the Fires of Exclusionary Laughter,” Social Media + Society, pp. 1-4,; Echeverría, Martin and Frida V. Rodelo (2023), Political Entertainment in a Post-authoritarian Democracy: Humor and the Mexican Media, Abingdon: Routledge

18. McCright, A. M. and R. E. Dunlap (2017), “Combatting Misinformation Requires Recognizing Its Types and the Factors That Facilitate Its Spread and Resonance,” Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 6(4), pp. 389-396,

19. Kellen, Konrad, “Introduction,” in Ellul (1965), p. v

20. Tsipursky, G. (2017), “Towards a Post-lies Future: Fighting ‘Alternative Facts’ and ‘Post-truth’ Politics,” The Humanist, 77(2), pp. 12-15,

21. Kellen, p. v

22. Ellul (1965), p. 52

23Marlin, Randal (2013), Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion, Peterborough, ON: Broadview, pp. 106-109; also, MacLean, Eleanor (1981), Between the Lines: How to Detect Bias and Propaganda in the News and Everyday Life, Montreal: Black Rose Books

24. Marlin (2013), pp. 110-113

25. Schiffrin, Anya (2018), Fighting Disinformation with Media Literacyin 1939, Columbia Journalism Review, October 10,

26. Sproule, J. Michael (1997), Propaganda and Democracy: The American Experience of Media and Mass Persuasion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 177

27. Roozenbeek, Culloty, and Suiter, p. 192

28. Sproule (1997), p. 176

29. Hobbs, Renee and Sandra McGee (2014), “Teaching about Propaganda: An Examination of the Historical Roots of Media Literacy,” Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6(2), 59 and p. 63 

30. Karam, Savo (2011), “Truths and Euphemisms: How Euphemisms Are Used in the Political Arena,” The Southeastern Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 17(1),, pp. 5-17 

31. Houston, Philip, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero (2012), Spy the Lie, New York: St. Martin's Griffin, pp. 55-72

32. Mann, Samantha (2019), “Lying and Lie Detection,” in Meibauer, Jörg (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 408-419; Srour, Camille and Jacques Py (2023), The General Theory of Deception: A Disruptive Theory of Lie Production, Prevention, and Detection,Psychological Review, 130(5), pp. 1289-1309,

33. Weigle, Michelle C. (2023), “The Use of Web Archives in Disinformation Research,”, June,

34. Al-Tai, Mohammed Haqi, Bashar M. Nema, and Ali Al-Sherbaz (2023), “Deep Learning for Fake News Detection: Literature Review,” Al-Mustansiriyah Journal of Science, 34, June 2,

35. Sayers, p. 4

36. Fleming, David (2019), “Fear of Persuasion in the English Language Arts,” College English, 81(6), p. 535,

37. Sproule, J. Michael (2001), “Authorship and Origins of the Seven Propaganda Devices: A Research Note,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 4(1), Spring, p. 140

38. Sproule, J. Michael (1994), Channels of Propaganda, Bloomington, IN: EDINFO Press and ERIC Clearinghouse, pp. 1-51

39. Bateman and Jackson, p. 6

40. Mason, Lance E., Daniel G. Krutka, and Jeremy Stoddard (2018), “Media Literacy, Democracy, and the Challenges of Fake News,” Journal of Media Literacy Education, 10(2), pp. 1-10,

  Kupiecki, Robert and Agnieszka Legucka (Eds.) (2023), Disinformation and the Resilience of Democratic Societies, Warsaw: Polski Institute Spraw Międzynarodowych, note: Bryjka, Filip, “Notes on Detecting and Countering Disinformation,” pp. 235-264 and Podemska, Justyna and Piotr Podemski, “Protect Yourself Against Disinformation,” pp. 265-285,; Moral, Pablo, Guillermo Marco, Julio Gonzalo, Jorge Carrillo-de-Albornoz, and Ivan Gonzalo-Verdugo (2023), “Overview of DIPROMATS 2023: Automatic Detection and Characterization of Propaganda Techniques in Messages from Diplomats and Authorities of World Powers,” in Procesamiento del Lenguaje Natural, Revista no 71, Septiembre, pp. 397-407,; Ventsel, Andreas, Sten Hansson, Merit Rickberg, and Mari-Liis Madisson (2023), “Building Resilience against Hostile Information Influence Activities: How a New Media Literacy Learning Platform Was Developed for the Estonian Defense Forces,” Armed Forces and Society, April 18, pp. 1-21,

41. Hobbs and McGee, pp. 56-67; Hobbs, Renee (2020), Mind over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age, New York: W.W. Norton; Naffi, Nadia, Melodie Charest, Sarah Danis, Laurie Pique, Ann-Louise Davidson, Nicholas Brault, Marie-Claude Bernard, and Sylivie Barma (2023), “Empowering Youth to Combat Malicious Deepfakes and Disinformation: An Experimental and Reflective Learning Experience Informed by Personal Construct Theory,” Journal of Constructivist Psychology, December 20, 

42. Media Education Lab, Harrington School of Communication and Media, University of Rhode Island,

43. Educating for American Democracy (2021), Educating for American Democracy Project,

44. Higgins, Lorraine, Elenore Long, and Linda Flower (2006), “Community Literacy: A Rhetorical Model for Personal and Public Inquiry.” Community Literacy Journal,1(1), pp. 8-43,

45. Young, Marilyn J., Michael K. Launer, and Curtis C. Austin (1990), “The Need for Evaluative Criteria: Conspiracy Argument Revisited, Argumentation and Advocacy,” 26(3), pp. 89-107,; Anderson, C.W. (2021), “Propaganda, Misinformation, and Histories of Media Techniques,” Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, 2(2),; Kyriakidou, Maria, Marina Morani, Ceri Hughes (2022), “Audience Understandings of Disinformation: Navigating News Media through a Prism of Pragmatic Scepticism,” Journalism, 24(11), July 20,

     Ruffo, Giancarlo, Alfonso Semeraro, Anastasia Giachanou, and Paolo Rosso (2023), “Studying Fake News Spreading Polarization Dynamics, and Manipulation by Bots: A Tale of Networks and Language,” Computer Science Review, 47, February, 100531,; Bolin, Göran and Risto Kunelius (2023), “The Return of Propaganda: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Conceptualisations,” Nordic Journal of Media Studies, 5(1), pp. 1-16,; Wilson, Wilkes, Teramoto, and Hale; Hameleers, Michael (2023), “Disinformation as a Context-bound Phenomenon: Toward a Conceptual Clarification Integrating Actors, Intentions and Techniques of Creation and Dissemination,” Communication Theory, October 23, pp. 1-10,;  Murphy, Gillian, Constance De Saint Laurent, Megan Reynolds, Omar Aftab, Karen Hegarty, Yuning Sun, and Ciara M. Greene (2023), “What Do We Study When We Study Misinformation? A Scoping Review of Experimental Research (2016-2022),” Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, November 15,; Lewandowsky, Stephan, Sander van der Linden, and Andy Norman (2024), “Opinion: Disinformation Is the Real Threat to Democracy and Public Health,” Scientific American, January 30,; April, Tay, Li Qian, Stephan Lewandowsky, Mark J. Hurlstone, Tim Kurz, and Ulrich K. H. Ecker (2024), “Thinking Clearly about Misinformation,” Communications Psychology, 2(4),

46. Baines, O’Shaughnessy, and Snow, pp. 281-284 and pp. 293-298

47. Baines, O’Shaughnessy, and Snow: Neville Bolt – “Propaganda of the Deed and Its Anarchist Origins” pp. 3-21, Ron Schleifer – “Countering Hamas and Hezbollah Propaganda” pp. 281-284, Christopher Paul and Miriam Matthews – “Defending against Russian Propaganda” pp. 293-298, Charlie Winter and Craig Whiteside – “ISs Strategic Communication Tactics” pp. 569-571 and pp. 573-574, Gabriel Weimann – “The Evolution of Terrorist Propaganda in Cyberspace” pp. 586-590

48. Roozenbeek, Culloty, and Suiter 

49. Roozenbeek, Culloty, and Suiter; Compton, Josh, Sander van der Linden, John Cook, and Melisa Basol (2021), “Inoculation Theory in the Post-truth Era: Extant Findings and New Frontiers for Contested Science, Misinformation, and Conspiracy Theories,” Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 15(6), May 5,; Ganapini, Marianna (2023), “Beyond Harm: An Ethical Framework to Tackle Misinformation on Social Media,”, June 5, Philosophy, Computer Science,

50. Hyzen, Aaron and Hilde Van den Bulck (2021), “Conspiracies, Ideological Entrepreneurs and Popular Culture,” Media and Communication, 9(3), pp. 179-188; Engel, Kristen, Shruti Phadke, and Tanushree Mitra (2023), Learning from the Ex-Believers: Individuals Journeys In and Out of Conspiracy Theories Online, Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 7(CSCW2), #285, October 4, pp. 1-37,

51. Hyzen, Aaron (2023), “Propaganda and the Web 3.0: Truth and Ideology in the Digital Age,” Nordic Journal of Media Studies, 5(1), pp. 50-51,

52. Wanless, Alicia and Michael Berk (2020), “Audience Is the Amplifier: Participatory Propaganda,” in Baines, O’Shaughnessy, and Snow, pp. 85-104; Wanless, Alicia and Michael Berk (2022), “Participatory Propaganda: The Engagement of Audiences in the Spread of Persuasive Communications,” in Herbert, David and Stefan Fisher (Eds.), Social Media and Social Order, De Gruyter Open Poland,

53. Baines, O’Shaughnessy, and Snow, p. xxxvii-xxxviii

54. Fritz, Gerd (2010), “Controversies,” in Jucker, Andreas and Irma Taavitsainen (Eds.), Historical Pragmatics, The Hague: De Gruyter Mouton, pp. 451-455,