COMS 361: Final Exam
, the definition section (8%), is your assessment or evaluation of the definition you submitted at the beginning of the
course. You should reflect on what you wrote in terms of what was accurate about it, what needed to be changed or improved
upon and what might have been missing in your own view of propaganda at the time you submitted it.
The point of this question
is for you to observe how what you learned about your understanding of propaganda has evolved over this semester.
assumed, since you defined your view of propaganda at the start of the course, that you will, from memory, recall the essence of it
when you answer this question.
In lieu of any formal citations you should refer to all course materials and any sources or authors
which may have informed your response to this question. If you did not submit a definition at the beginning of this course then
you should reflect upon your original understanding of propaganda at the beginning of this course as you currently are able to
remember it. It is suggested that you spend 30 minutes of the 3 hours for this exam in answering this first question.
Part 1: Definition of Propaganda
I first learned about propaganda in my World War History class in 11th grade. My understanding
then of propaganda was limited to the works of Joseph Goebbels who was Hitler’s Minister of
Propaganda during Nazi Germany. Therefore, my definition of propaganda, prior to having read
the readings assigned in this course had been: a political ploy involving deceitfully promoting
things that are, for lack of better words, not good. Now, I understand that propaganda is much
more complex and therefore difficult to define. After having completed the first assigned reading
for the course, I had loosely defined propaganda as a set of ideas and beliefs that are intentionally
and widely advocated and encouraged. These ideas and beliefs encompass both controversial
matters, as we saw in Nazi Germany through Goebbels’ propaganda tactics, and non
controversial topics, as we see many examples of today but fail to recognize them as
propagandic. Regardless of whether the topics of these propagandic works are controversial or
not, propaganda has been utilized to change the way we think about the topic and the way we
behave accordingly. Now that I have completed the lessons for this course, I can analyze what
was accurate about this definition, and what needed to be changed or improved. In terms of what
remains accurate, my understanding that propaganda is not limited to the spreading of a deceitful
political ploy maintains the same. In fact, throughout this semester, I have learned about two
distinct perspectives on propaganda, that of Randal Marlin and of Jacques Ellul. The two