My background in Statistics is extensive. I have a Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics, specializing in Statistics and Operations Research. For most of my working life, I’ve worked as a Statistician, both as a practitioner and as an educator. I’ve extensive experience with business statistics, statistical forecasting, psycho-social research design & analysis, and survey construction & analysis.
My interest in Propaganda and Advertising techniques began when I was at Case Institute back in the sixties. We were required to take some psychology courses as electives over at Western Reserve University. Two of the courses I took tangentially dealt with propaganda and advertising strategies–some of the techniques used by both are identical, others you won’t find in advertising. (I’ve always thought of advertising sales techniques as a subset of propaganda techniques.)
In one of those courses, we dealt with bias and propaganda and how they go hand in hand. My term project for that course was to develop a way to identify the bias in various media sources. For that exercise, I chose the Russian magazines Sputnik and Soviet Life (these were printed in English for English speaking audiences), and the US magazines Time and Newsweek. A presidential election was about to come up here in the US, so I focused on articles all these magazines printed about the election and the candidates. One of the facets of my project was an attempt to identify not only the bias, but the degree of bias in such articles toward both candidates and issues. That was a very enlightening project. It involved focusing on the adverbs, adjectives, and names chosen to describe the various issues and candidates.
It was because of these courses that I eventually transferred to Cleveland State and earned a degree in Psychology.
Since those days, I’ve been involved in various projects–some notably dealing with surveying people–that focused on the words being used and how they bias peoples’ responses to them. Those activities heightened my awareness of the power of word connotations (the feelings generated and the implied meanings of words as opposed to the denotations–the actual meanings listed in the dictionary). They also heightened my awareness of surveys and their potential misuse when they’re designed for something other than just determining “facts”.
Another area I’ve studied in detail that dovetails with any study of propaganda is that of logical fallacies (i.e., faulty reasoning). Propaganda uses a lot of them. Being aware of those logical fallacies is critical to the detection and understanding of the techniques used in Propaganda. I touch upon some of them in this section; but if you want a more detailed list, you can find such on the Web by Googling “Logical Fallacies”
Over the years, the knowledge I’ve gained via these activities has kept me very aware of when someone is trying to manipulate peoples’ thinking via the printed word speeches, and video media. I hope my articles on this website also enlighten you.