Communication professor writes book to explain propaganda

November 10, 2011 | Features, UToday
By Feliza Casano

Propaganda permeates our media-driven society, and a UT professor of communication is making it easier to understand with a new book.

The Ten Commandments of Propaganda by Dr. Brian Anse Patrick helps readers comprehend and use propaganda by dividing its principles into basic concepts.

“Propaganda occurs when a group controls or dominates information on a topic or issue and gains something from it, whether that’s money or power,” Patrick said. “Information doesn’t just appear spontaneously, and even thought is conducted according to how propaganda wants it to go.”

Patrick said the information in the book could be used both as a positive and negative guide to ethical behavior by users and consumers of propaganda and describes it as “good for offense or defense.”

The book is useful for students majoring in public relations or other communication fields, and especially for people interested in professional development and politics, Patrick said.

Dr. Brian Anse Patrick showed off a 105 mm howitzer shell designed for shooting propaganda leaflets. “It bursts over the enemy position and distributes 600 to 800 leaflets, which, assuming one has survived the explosion, urge one to surrender,” he said. “They use various psychological and ideological appeals.”

He added that his position in the Communication Department, where he teaches persuasion and propaganda, helped with systematizing The Ten Commandments of Propaganda.

“I derived much of the book while I was teaching. Teaching about the subject really helped me figure out how to systemize knowledge to help students learn,” he said.

“I may be an academic, but I don’t use highly academic language in the book. It is plain-spoken and uses concrete examples. I laid it out in a way any sensible person could understand.

“Propaganda is the universal social lubricant and management tool, being sustainable, recyclable and cheap to manufacture,” Patrick said. “But it is also one of the chief social problems of modern times.”

The Ten Commandments of Propaganda is available on as an eBook for Kindle or other electronic readers. A print version is forthcoming from Arktos Media.

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