News vs. Propaganda: What's the difference?

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Difference between News and Propaganda

The distinction between news and propaganda is a blurred one. News coverage can often incorporate elements of propaganda, while propaganda can also incorporate elements of news coverage or reporting. Both news and propaganda can be distributed through a variety of channels including TV, radio, the Internet, newspapers and other print media. 

News
Propaganda

Truth

The news is expected to provide a truthful, accurate and balanced account of the subject that is being reported, although this may not always be possible and mistakes can be made either accidentally or intentionally. Coverage can also be biased and one sided for various reasons. A newspaper or television news program is expected to make an effort to ensure the accuracy of its reports, and journalists are held to certain standards. If a journalist, newspaper or news program makes an inaccurate report they can be held accountable through the legal system. They may be charged with libel or slander, for example. 

As well as being expected to report facts accurately, news providers are also expected to cover subjects that have relevance to the general public or to their particular audience. Subjects are expected to be newsworthy. 

Propaganda is usually less concerned with truth or accuracy. It is created with very different intentions to the news. Propaganda is usually much more biased than news. The bias is certainly more intentional and open, although it can be hidden from the reader or viewer. Propaganda can be entirely truthful and accurate, but with the presentation or the selection of the facts that are presented being biased. In other cases, propaganda may include falsehoods, particularly when it is being presented by a powerful government or institution that can avoid challenges or legal action. 

Intention

News is usually created with the intention of providing information, while propaganda is generally produced in order to influence and manipulate the reader or viewer. In reality, the intentions behind the production of a piece of news may be different. A newspaper or news program may need to focus on making a profit as well as on actually reporting the news and information that its readers or viewers need to know. This can influence the news stories that are reported and the ways in which they are described. However, the main purpose of the news it to provide a useful service. 

The purpose of propaganda is to influence the way that people think and behave. Propaganda is designed to manipulate people in order to align them with the creator's own views or to ensure that the reader or viewer will support the creator and their goals. This manipulation can be very subtle. Propaganda can contain truthful accounts of events, but it will usually present these in ways that will support the creator's aims. 

Past or Future

News tends to be more about describing events that have happened in the past. Although news coverage may also include opinion or predictions about the future, the main purpose of the news is to report on what has already occurred. The focus is usually on recent or ongoing events. 

Propaganda is created with a different intention. Although it may describe events that have already occurred, propaganda is designed to affect people's perceptions about the present and the future. This is because propaganda is created with the intention of manipulating the reader or viewers beliefs and actions in order to help the creator to achieve their own goals. 

Similarities and Differences

  • The news and propaganda are often difficult to distinguish from one another, but the main difference is that the news is created with an attempt to minimize bias, while propaganda is intentionally biased. 
  • News is created to provide accurate information.
  • Propaganda is created to manipulate people's actions or opinions.
  • News tends to focus on past events, while propaganda is designed to affect people's ideas about the present and to influence them in the future.

Which word describes Fox News better?
  • News
  • Propaganda
 
 

Discuss It: comments 16

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