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27 July, 2015

Eurozone crisis propaganda

A study about the EU’s use of information campaigns

Key points:

The European integration and peace project called the European Union (EU), has various forms of information campaigns to influence citizens. Media such as the European Commission‘s video "Low inflation with a limbo dancing euro" and other similar messages are propaganda. Propaganda is "the acceptance of government policies by the people on the basis of the partial picture of issues offered by mass media, denying them access to alternative views, which might lead to opposition of policies" and "persuasive mass communication that filters and frames the issues of the day in a way that strongly favors particular interests." The agenda behind the video and other EU messages are trying to keep the euro and the EU together. Last year the European Union spent $3.98 billion on information campaigns and marketing; a capacious amount of money for an organization going through financial trouble.”

The hypothesis asserts the European Union‘s use of traditional and social media on the Eurozone crisis is propaganda because the EU information campaign‘s messages are partly false, made to influence, appeals to emotion, serves an agenda, only presents one side of an argument, few points, presents popular opinion and the messages say different things but have the same meaning. The study classified messages in the information campaigns as propaganda if they had some characteristics of the criteria previously explained.”

EU member states had no one to blame but themselves. The EU on the other hand, started blaming the United States and the Lehman Brothers for the Eurozone crisis through its information campaigns on social and traditional media outlets. The EU messages created resembled propaganda. The EU is mostly a non-democratic institution; only European citizens directly elect the European Parliament. Political appointments fill the rest of the six EU‘s institutions positions. The EU never established true political legitimacy and is struggling with economic legitimacy during the crisis; the information campaigns provide insight into the insecurity and self-perceived weakness of the integration and economic project.”

The European Commission released more Eurozone crisis propaganda than the rest of the EU institutions analyzed. The European Parliament released more messages relating to the Eurozone crisis but the messages from the European Parliament had less propaganda elements. [...] The study concludes that the European Commission released the highest amount of Eurozone crisis propaganda. [...] The study found that the European Commission released more Eurozone crisis messages with propaganda elements than any other European Union institution.”

The study concludes twitter releases the most messages but YouTube releases the most messages with propaganda content. [...] The study concludes YouTube has the highest average of Eurozone crisis propaganda videos.”

Gatekeeping is the process of selecting, writing, editing, positioning, scheduling, repeating and otherwise massaging information to become news. It describes the news selection process that operates under several layers of influences from the individual to the routine, organization, social institution and social system levels. Agenda setting is a situation where critics perceive inexplicit political motives (or an institutional tendency to overlook underprivileged perspectives) to lie behind the choice of topics covered (e.g. in news, current affairs, and documentaries), their relative importance (inferred from sequence and/or the relative amounts of space or time devoted to them), how they are presented, and what issues are back grounded or excluded. While some EU journalism-type articles fall under gatekeeping and agenda setting theories, the scope and limitations of this study do not allow for the two theories to be fully explored. Consumers of EU news articles should be aware of these two theories when consuming EU journalism style news messages.”

Propaganda was been used widely in the past, and probably will continue to be used into the future. The EU is not truly a democratic institution, analyzing EU media provides insight into the democratic deficit and struggle for political legitimacy the EU is currently facing. Further studies include analyzing all of the EU‘s institutions social media accounts for propaganda elements and exploring the democratic deficit the EU currently faces. Also, exploring gate keeping and agenda setting theories in EU news articles.”

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