BOOK REVIEW: PROPAGANDA ANALYSIS

Created: 6/1/1959

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CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE II) FULL

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INTELLIGENCE

A collector) ol articles on Ihe historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.

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All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence arc those of

the authors They do not necessari ly reflect official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations.

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PROPAGANDA ANALYSIS. By Alexander L. George. (Evans-ton.ow, Peterson and Company. .)

This scholarly and imaginative book by one of Randsocial scientists Is of special significance because It evaluates propaganda analysis techniques actually used in an operational situation and has therefore had to consider the dynamics of politics, rather than the formal structures to which the usual scholarly study in political science IsMr. George's validity research is based upon theof German propaganda done by the FCC's ForeignIntelligence Service during World War n. He examines this in the light of information obtained later from Oerman war documents and German officials, whichnique opportunity to validate the inferences drawn from propaganda bearing on Intelligence problems and questions critical to Allied policy. Someercent of the FCC inferences that could be scored proved to be accurate

The reader who does notpecialty of propaganda analysis will be most interested in Part III, "Methodology andn whichase studies are presented to illustrate the broad range of intelligence problems approached by the FCC. The analysts' reasoning is reconstructed and their inferences matched against the available historicalon such important problems as the questionerman offensive against Russiaerman2 of an Allied second front in North Africa, the German public's attitude toward the Nazi Information policy,redicted change In the propaganda presentation of military setbacks on the Russian front.

The first case study, on tbeeaponsIs cited as one in which the FCC analysts did not do so well as their British counterparts. The brilliant Britishmay be known to some readers. Seasoning from thehypothesis that German propaganda. would not deliberately mlilead the Oerman people about an increase of German power. It concluded that the Oermans actually had some sort of new weapon and were not merelyccurately described the German leaders' evsuuatlon of the new weapon and made the tentative estimate, based on subtle shifts In the propaganda, that tn3 the Germans

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expected to have It ready between mid-January and This estimate proved amazingly accurate. As Mr. George writes:

Tbe deduction concerning tbe Oerman leaden* privateof tbe timing ofeapon waa baaed upon Ingenious useeneral observation about Nasi propaganda practice. The British analyst reasoned that Ooebbels would be careful not to give tbe Oermanromise of retallaUon too far ahead of the dale on which the promise could beakingnumber of factors into account, the British analyst reckoned that Ooebbels would give himself about three months as the maximumo propagandizeretaliation In advance.

One of the reasons advanced for the lower caliber of FCC analyses on this problem is that the FCC analysts, unlike the British, worked on their own and were not askedeapon research with that of other mtelligence specialists. They assumed that other intelligence techniques more appropriate than propaganda analysis were beingto the problem. This lack of coordination may also have damaged the quality of their analysis in another case study cited: they were not Informed of TORCH or briefed to look for Indications of Nazi concern over possible Invasion of North Africa, and so continued to search for signs of theossible second front across the Englishor in northern Europe.

These two cases, in both of which the analysis was directed towardajor action, are not regarded as covering the range of situations with which propaganda analysis can fruitfully deal. The author recognizes and discusses at some length the possibility that leaders may decide to forego any propaganda preparation which mightlanned action in advance. In either event, he points out,

The value to the policy maker of Inferences ataeartog the nature and objectives of tbe major action once It Is taken should not be underrated; In many cases they overshadow to Importance the wwfarncaa of having predicted the acBon before It occurred.

Writing for scholars and experts, Mr. George has seta much subtler task than presenting these Interesting case studies. He haso Identify general types

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of inference made about conditions which helped to determine the communication content <for example propaganda goals and techniques, "situationalnd elite estimates, expectations, ando Identify other possibleabout which the FCC did not attempt to make Inferences, and then to depict the relationship among all the various factors making up the system of behavior;o identify reasoning patterns in Individual inferences and codify the more general methods, direct and Indirect, that were used. Out of this thorough and painstaking study comes his cautious conclusion:

It irfou that propaganda analysis caneasonably objective diagnostic tool for making certain kinds of in ferences and that Its techniques are capable of refinement and Improvement.

The book is not easy to read, in part because of bothand overreflned terminology. The author never definesut apparently uses it interchangeably with other undefined terms, "propagandand "publicet propaganda Is distinguished from "masslso undefined. Readers may find quite confusing thebetween propaganda analysis, communicationscontent analysis, quantitative analysis, and nonfre-quency analysis. Andeader may never gethoker onn the introduction to

4 Dtchotomoos attributes (that Is. meaning or Donmeanlng characteristics which can be predicated only as belonging or not belongingiven unit of the communlcaUon material] .*

If he persists, however,n pageillhere he can learnichotomousmerely "the presence or absence"esignatedtheme.

Addressing an academic audience which historically has tended to make content analysis synonymous withthe author overstates hla criticism of quantitativein propaganda analysis. The casual reader may miss his references to the fact that quantitative techniques arein the first elementary step In analyzing propaganda.

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that is in describing its content, and his Judgment thatdeficiency of FCC's procedure was its failure to make use of systematic quantitative procedures in evaluatingaspects ofeaponebate over quantitative vs. qualitative techniques is actually beside the point. The real question is how best to combine thesein attacking each specific Intelligence problem.

Despite these minor shortcomings. It is gratifying to find such an eminently qualified and objective expert as Mr. George reaching conclusions like the following:

Provision must be made for examining all of the outputropaganda system and for evaluating Its over-aUstrategy. Any division of labor whicb divorces trend analysis on individual subjects from cross-sectional analyses of the entirety of propaganda and propaganda strategy may result In Incorrect or misleading interpretations of specific trends.

The propaganda analyst makes the basic assumption that propaganda Is coordinated with elite policies, but he needs more concrete knowledge which he can obtain onlyet of empirically derived generalizations about an elite'spropagandaHe also] requires knowledge about technical expertise and skill hif propagandaunder scrutiny and that of individual propagandiststherein.

Tbe investigator must have rather specific, detailedof the propaganda organization whose output he Is analyzing in order to appraise the situationalsays It. to whom, and under whatomparison of what Is said to different audiences is generally ofvalue In making Inferences.

In propaganda analysis, It Is typical for the Investigatorconcerned with establishing alight changes inor minute or subtle differences In the wordingdifferent speakers or by the same speaker to

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