Can you recall anything that was propaganda that the UK government has espoused?

I am sure it didn't just stop after WW2 but they have got so good at it I find it hard to find good examples that are obvious enough to show people.

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    Define "propaganda" in this context Jun 10, 2016 at 4:12
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    I suspect the question of whether something is "propaganda" vs simply trying to inform people of why they've made a particular decision might be just a matter of opinion. Jun 10, 2016 at 9:00
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    Easy - 'Saddam Hussein' has weapons of mass destruction therefore we must invade Iraq'. Not true but widely used as the reason to invade Iraq...
    – Pat Dobson
    Jun 10, 2016 at 14:21
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    @GaryCarlyleCook - people always lie. Including (and especially) those in power. So, the answer is "yes" by definition.
    – user4012
    Jun 11, 2016 at 17:07
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    @user4012 - With leaks and official communiques from the Chilcott report it's pretty clear that these facts were know well before any decision was made.
    – Pat Dobson
    Jun 13, 2016 at 8:55

4 Answers 4



Government propaganda is government funded or created public information, of publicity in support of a certain program or project. Such a term has taken on a negative connotation, but originally, it was just a kind of publicity or advertising.

During WWII, the organization in charge of propaganda was the Ministry of Information. After WWII, and until 2011, the successor organization was the Central Office of Information. In 2011, as a cost saving measure, and because the propaganda was controversial, the office itself was closed, and the function was transferred to the Cabinet Office.

In modern democracies, for the most part, propaganda is no longer called that, and is instead termed "Public Service Announcements." Most of the same people who made the "Buy War Bonds" or "Loose Lips Sink Ships" propaganda of WWII also made the "Stop Smoking" campaigns in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, in the U.S. the Ad Council barely even changed its name.

It is worth noting that what many commenters have referred to may indeed be propaganda, but wasn't government propaganda, instead personal or political (i.e. by parties) propaganda. For the most part, in democracies, government propaganda tries to steer clear of hot button issues.


Absolutely. Not just in the UK, but propaganda is everywhere. However guessing from the way you asked the question I'm guessing you are referring to government propaganda, in which the answer would still be yes.

However remember Edward Bernays who was the founder of the PR industry stated in his writing "propaganda" that Public relations sounded better than the word propaganda at the time, however most modern public relations, advertising, is inherently propaganda.

Most of the media you see on television can be considered propaganda being that there is usually seem type of bias in the reporting. One example is the western offensive in the middle east, while most westerners consider terrorists=bad, so therefore its OK to bomb their villages. However the media never mentions that maybe because we invaded their country and started bombing them, that's why their retaliating. Things like this are hardly mentioned.

Advertising can also be considered propaganda. The entire objective of advertising is to make consumers make irrational choices and impulse purchases. Advertisements do not list all of the benefits and disadvantages of a product and allow you to make a decision weather to purchase a product or service, they only tell you whats good about it, or perhaps tell you little or nothing at all and just have a lot of sensationalism in an attempt to woe people into believing it.

Another problem is that most of the media is owned by a small group of conglomerates (at least in the US) which generally do not question the power of the elites that run much of western society, because the same kind of people run the media. Here is the article that explains how 6 corporations control 90% of media in us. I know you are talking about the UK here, but its the same idea.

Most modern propaganda also is much different from years past where in hindsight it may seem like blatant propaganda and perhaps even humorous. This picture of a US WWI propaganda poster is an Example. Now modern propaganda can be anywhere from a bulletin board advertising a Rolex watch, to the medias usual bias in their reporting. In a sense we are just so used to these things we think nothing of them being propaganda.


I am amazed that the question should be asked. It's like asking if the Pope is a Catholic! Of course the UK still uses propaganda, and it is especially rife in the US and the West. The West promotes the idea that many countries in the world use propaganda, which is often propaganda in itself! Only the naive could believe otherwise.


I think I can answer my own question now. People will say they are just copying the American news but an employee of the BBC at this level should know that an AR-15 is not an "Assault Rifle". I think they do know this but it fits a statist narrative.

Some people will say this is not evidence but I think most intelligent people will say it is.

Gay club mass shooter used "Assault Rifle".

PS: I am not really pro or anti guns. I just think the whole thing is a mess.

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    Out of curiosity - how is this defined as propaganda, and not the common practice of news outlets copying stories, or reporting on sources from other sites? What part of an updating news article reporting as further information unfolds is "Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view"?
    – user7754
    Jun 13, 2016 at 1:59
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    "AR-15 is not an "Assault Rifle". I think they do know this but it fits a statist narrative" AR15 is an assault rifle, or if we're being very technical and it's not ("assault rifle" is not "assault weapon", etc); close enough by design to count legally as a military weapon in most countries. And that issue is besides the point; because the accusation that firstly average BBC journalists are small arms experts (or their readers) is generous, and secondly gun ownership is not a "statist" issue; since gun rights or duties are enshrined in some nations laws like the USA.
    – user8398
    Jun 13, 2016 at 15:50
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    You might want to find a more blatant example for propaganda than just a technical inaccuracy which could be easily blamed on the author lacking knowledge about terminology. And by the way, your might have posted the wrong link. The string "assault" does not occur on it (however, there is a paragraph which describes the weapon as a "semi-automatic rifle"). Also, the BBC is not a part of the British government (although they often quote government sources which might be government propaganda, but that's hard to check in this case without the correct link)
    – Philipp
    Jun 13, 2016 at 16:18
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    The BBC are a part of the British government, or at least the establishment, whether officially or not. Their lisense to broadcast is issued by them and they are regarded as the state broadcaster. The only reason this has been marked down is pure statist bias. Intentional or otherwise. They know its propoganda and even if they didn't they should be sacked. They want people to think it is important as an issue as long as they tow the statist status quo but if anybody tries to correct them they will throb them off by saying its just a typo or somethng. Yet not correct it. Jun 15, 2016 at 9:30
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    @GaryCarlyleCook The arguments I hear out of America about what constitutes "assault rifle" are usually unrealistic. Like the rifle needs a bayonet holder or fully auto mode... these days most US soldiers are trained to use semi and not full auto. Which blurs the line between AR15 and M16 varients even further. AR15/M16 are certainly not "battle rifle" nor "SMG", it is a semi-auto M16. Duck test works well here; it quacks, it swims, it looks like it. There's nothing substantial which separates AR15 from assault rifles used by soldiers worldwide. Which is why the PIRA used it.
    – user8398
    Nov 11, 2018 at 15:02

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