Recommended reading: Lines and Colors’ post on Propaganda:
It’s commonly thought that “propaganda”, a technique of spreading misinformation, or slanted opinions, for the purpose of manipulating opinions, has been utilized primarily by oppressive regimes like Imperial and Nazi Germany in the early part of the 20th Century or the Soviet Union or Communist China in the latter part.
That in itself is a form of propaganda, which can be, and often is, utilized by Western democracies. Propaganda is simply a technique, not a set of values. It can just as easily be employed in a “good” cause as an “evil” one.
What distinguishes propaganda from information, aside from the fact that it is often disinformation, is that it is calculated to appeal to the emotions and circumvent rational judgment. One of the key features of propaganda is that it most often (almost always, in fact) taps into the power that images have to reach us on an unconscious level.