Table of Contents


12 Rules of Propaganda is a system for parsing content, as produced by the government, corporate messaging, and mainstream or ancillary media.

The 12 Rules break down content propaganda into component parts, which can then be deconstructed to reveal underlying techniques and subtext.

  • Everyday propaganda will be exposed by one or more of the 12 Rules.
  • Genuine, authentic content will not be susceptible to such easy 12 Rules deconstruction.

  • Each of the 12 Rules is documented individually below.


    Weasel Words – or anonymous authority – are terms used to lend legitimacy to a statement that’s otherwise only vague or ambiguous. Examples:  “Many people say” or “experts agree”. Weasel Words can be a form of tergiversation, often used in advertising and political statements to mislead or disguise bias.

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    2 propaganda examples

    1 / 2   It's All Fake: Kamala Harris Used Child Actors Who Had To Audition For Weird NASA Promo

    propaganda examples

    2 / 2   Propaganda Language: Military Budget = 'Defense Budget'?

    Example of propaganda language used to condition associations:
  • Robert Scheer: Stop Calling the Military Budget a ‘Defense’ Budget (8-Oct-2021)
  • propaganda examples





    1. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
      • Chomsky, Noam and Herman, Edward S (orig 1988 revised 2008)
      • Seminal work by world renowned academics
      • The basis for a plethora of college courses on propaganda and political thought
    2. Demagoguery and Democracy. New York: The Experiment
      • Roberts-Miller, Patricia (2017)
      • Explores the rhetorical strategies used by political leaders who promote populism that can divide and damage democracies
    3. Trust Me, I’m Lying
      • Holiday, Ryan (2012) – New York: Penguin
      • How online marketing is used in ethically questionable ways to influence public opinion
    4. The State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda
      • Luckert, Steven and Bachrach, Susan (2009) – New York: W.W. Norton
      • Definitive guide to Hitler’s use of propaganda as a political candidate, as a dictator, and for war and mass murder



    • Introduction to Propaganda – From the Academy of Ideas, this 7-minute video summarizes key ideas from the work of Jacques Ellul on propaganda.
    • News Channel or Propaganda Tool? – 7-minute Listening Post video explores RT, Russia’s English speaking channel as a form of contemporary propaganda.
    • Why Obvious Lies Make Great Propaganda – Vox News segment explores the Russian “firehose of falsehoods” used as a form of disinformation and propaganda in both Russian and American politics.
    • Reality Show President: Inside the White House PR Machine – 12-minute film on how presidents shape their public image through photography and media representation.
    • Education vs Indoctrination – Brainwaves Anthology interview with philosopher Jason Stanley offers a reflection on social studies education as a form of social control through propaganda.
    • Poetry and Propaganda – 3-minute video by FilmScapel Productions about how educators use the power of poetry as a form of propaganda to activate learners’ emotions.
    • Seven Propaganda Techniques Used on You Everyday – From How Stuff Works, this video introduces techniques like name calling, glittering generalities, testimonials, institutional transfer, bandwagon, plain folks and more.
    • Meet Edward Bernays, Master of Propaganda – From Corbett Report Extras, this video introduces the work of Edward Bernays, who understood the social benefits of propaganda as a means to advance consumer culture and democracy.



    • The Propaganda Game (2015) – Documentary by Alvaro Longoria showing examples of propaganda in North Korea.
    • The Century of the Self (2002) – British documentary series by Adam Curtis explores the work of Sigmund Freud and Edward Bernays in developing powerful ideas about how to use human nature to control and shape public opinion.
    • Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1993) – Canadian filmmakers Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick follow Professor Noam Chomsky as he promotes his book, Manufacturing Consent, explaining how media controls public opinion.
    • Hypernormalisation (2008) – Adam Curtis tries to disentangle the evolution of propaganda techniques through the 20th and early 21st-century, making sense of the confusion of today’s 24 hour news cycle and how plutocracy uses it to disempower populations.



    1. Roland Barthes (1957) –  Mythologies. Collection of era-defining essays taken from Les Lettres Nouvelles by one of the most influential thinkers of the post-war period.
    2. Guy Debord (1967) – The Society of the Spectacle Significant work by one of the leading philosopher critical theorists of the modern era.
    3. Jacques Derrida (1967-1972) – Multiple titles during this fecund period by the internationally renowned social philosophy addressing a range of ethical and political themes through language and messaging. Speech and Phenomena (1967), Of Grammatology (1967), Writing and Difference (1967), Margins of Philosophy (1972).