Report: Disinformation and Democracy

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  The big "change" ...

With the invention of the printing press and - as a consequence - the distribution of information in masses (by then already mostly in the shape of propaganda), propaganda could change its methods. It could not only be produced but also reproduced and therefore spread widely.
The Protestant Reformation profited by this. The idea of translating the Bible into local languages was successful, because it got possible for many people to get a Bible, as books no longer were affordable only for the nobles and the Church.

Royalty and the Courts realized that prestige asked for propaganda and that it was impossible to reign over the people if their mood turned against the king. This gave the impetus for acting. Pamphlets were used for spreading royal messages; like the so-called "mazarinades" (Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, p. 122), written in a very simple language and spread periodically and in big numbers.
When - in 1896 - newspapers started being distributed in huge amounts, the access to propaganda and disinformation was opened extremely. Newspapers informed the mass - and disinformed them if it was considered as necessary (e.g. in war-times).
From that time on propaganda and manipulation were carried out for the most different political ideas and nearly without frontiers. Censorship - a part of disinformation - seems to have been the only barrier then. Sometimes even the source of a message kept hidden, which was part of the disinformation process. It is easier to spread ideas against somebody if the own name is kept hidden; and speaking out some kind of laudation that the own party is better without mentioning that it was oneself who spread it and therefore claim that it was someone else who praised the very idea.

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Disinformation and Democracy
-3   The Egyptians ...
-2   The Romans
-1   The Catholic Church
0   The big "change" ...
+1   New Forms of Propaganda (in the 19th Century)
+2   World War I ...
+3   The British Propaganda Campaign in World War I

The Daily Mail was published in Great Britain. It was the first newspaper for the masses. With the emerging of newspapers the manner how politics was perceived by the public changed completely. It became more difficult to keep secrets, while at the same time there was suddenly a new and nearly perfect tool for manipulation.