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- The following is excerpted from the page Threats to Democracy. Please feel free to join in the discussion in the talk page.
Curiously, the word "propaganda" is rarely used in modern political discourse, and yet, propaganda is more pervasive, widely used and effective than ever before. Perhaps this is because "propaganda" is a "dirty word", everyone's heard the word, yet few understand its true meaning. While propaganda in one form or another dates from the establishment of the Republic, the power of propaganda has been increased by the application of sophisticated techniques taken from commerce and product marketing, including the use of focus groups, data mining, and other technologies. Traditionally, propaganda was generated by "propaganda machines", organizations under the direct control of a political party. In the modern incarnation, control is much more diffuse, with few lines of direct accountability, and has more of the flavour of independent action by independent groups. The common feature is a willful distortion of the facts and out-right lying to promote a perticular point of view. More generally, cable news networks remain a dominant source of political information, with round-the-clock coverage of politics, "talking heads", including former presidential staffers from the Reagan and Clinton administrations, with strong political biases, as well as spokesmen from "non-partisan" think tanks whose biases are not revealed. In fact, listening to obviously biased information from both sides and distilling truth for yourself is usually better than listening to one supposedly unbiased source.