chapter  Two
15 Pages

The Formation of Opinion

ByBaruch A. Hazan

Propaganda attempts to direct human behavior by affecting personality—usually by organizing the components of that personality into a system conducive to a certain preconceived pattern of behavior. Hence, the process of propaganda brings about two related results: the modification of attitudes, beliefs, values and opinions; and the consequent promotion of behavior suited to and deriving from the change of personality caused by propaganda. The attempt to create opinions often necessitates an attack on specific elements of personality, such as certain beliefs, and attitudes. The policymaking body does not deal directly with propaganda. The responsibility for molding the propaganda policy belongs to the second agent of the propaganda process. There is one defensive device which causes the greatest difficulty for the propagandist, and that is the "absorption screen". Two sets of factors determine which message will penetrate the absorption screen: technical factors; and rational factors.