Propaganda, Persuasion, spin and PR

Issue of propaganda, persuasion and spin  can go beyond just war, to many other areas of life such as the political, commercial and social aspects.

The never ending debate about persuasive communications, propaganda and spin and the relationship of these to the practice of public relations is an important one for anyone involved in the profession. All these terms lies at the heart of its role in society and its legitimacy in the eyes of the public.  

The frequent allegations that public relations is all about spin, lies persuasion and propaganda and that people who work in PR manipulate the media and deal with half-truths are difficult to ignore.  If the public relations industry is to be considered as a socially responsible and respected profession these are issues that need to be addressed openly and confidently.


Public relations actions can be used to raise awareness among people and to change a negative behavior or perception; however, it could be used to distorted the reality and make people believe and do whatever they are asked to. 

Whenever the topic of persuasion, propaganda and spin originates the first thing that comes in to everyone’s mind is its negative implication. There are some of us who complain about the propaganda and the manipulation that is out there in the profession of Public Relations, and then there are people who go out to look for it as a job.


Some authors and writers say that the misuse of public relations is responsible in terms of propaganda while some defend public relations distinguishing it from the dealings and making of propaganda. The difference between the Public relations and propaganda could come from the purpose behind the persuasions. 

Public Relations should be able to communicate the reasons behind the persuasion – whether it is to create awareness or to gain loyalty or to even increase sales

Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude and the behaviors of a population toward some cause or position.

Persuasion is umbrella term of Influence. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person’s beliefsattitudesintentions or behavior.

Whereas spin includes:-Creative presentation of the facts-Phrasing in a way that avoiding the question-Burying bad news”: announcing one popular thing at the same time as several unpopular things, hoping that the media will focus on the popular one.

Though it becomes very difficult to draw a line between them, but it is getting better in terms of identifying the difference between them.

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