Propaganda in America: How to Recognize and Defend Against It


planned obsolescence
Edward Bernays

How to Cite

Balistreri, C. (2022). Propaganda in America: How to Recognize and Defend Against It. Global Insight: A Journal of Critical Human Science and Culture, 3.


Corporations and governments use modern propaganda techniques to influence and manipulate the public, incurring social and environmental consequences which are compounding over time. This paper provides both historical and modern examples of propaganda, then highlights key issues that arise as a byproduct, such as planned obsolescence, astroturfing, and the internet filter bubble. Companies like Google and Facebook use proprietary algorithms to shape the internet as well as their users’ minds through dopamine-driven feedback loops. The effects of a consumer driven culture spill over into the environment, with plastic pollution and e-waste littering the shores of distant countries. This paper details how plastic pollution in the environment has made its way back into the human body, while propaganda is used to distract people with targeted advertising using techniques pioneered by Edward Bernays. Propaganda is a multifaceted subject which requires historical context to understand and identify. This is an informative paper which has the goal of arming readers with an ability to recognize propaganda and defend against its negative effects. It is vital for Americans to become aware of the propaganda being used to manipulate them. Otherwise, societal issues caused by social media and other factors will continue to erode our ability to communicate and think critically.