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Propaganda is the intentional manipulation of information by powerful people or organizations (or organizations seeking power) in order to influence the behavior of large groups in the interests of the propagandist. This definition stresses that propaganda achieves its effects through persuasive communication (the use and misuse of information) rather than through the use of economic incentives or physical coercion. Propaganda is thus not directly coercive, though it may be accompanied by coercion. It also emphasizes that we speak of “propaganda” primarily in contexts where particular organizations or people—states, commercial corporations, insurgent groups, churches—are intentionally attempting to affect the behavior of large groups, rather than in contexts where individuals attempt to persuade one another privately, or where decentralized and largely uncontrollable information flows influence people’s ...

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