Trend Watch

Propaganda

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and a new ISIS video ...


When:

Lookups spiked on October 1, 2014.

Why:

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and a new video released by ISIS both triggered lookups of the word propaganda.

The efforts of the Chinese government in Beijing to minimize the influence of Hong Kong protesters have been conducted in part by the oddly named "central propaganda department." For example, here the term is used in The New Yorker:

To keep the contagion of protest from infecting the mainland, Beijing's central propaganda department has taken powerful measures to remove any mention of the demonstration from social media.

In the Middle East, ISIS released a video of a British prisoner made to read a script criticizing U.S. airstrikes. As reported in The Independent:

It is the third such propaganda video released by ISIS and hosted by the British photojournalist who was seized by militants in November 2012.

Propaganda means "ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause." It comes from part of the Latin name of the "Congregation for propagating the faith," a missionary organization founded by Pope Gregory in the 1600s, and ultimately from the Latin verb meaning "to propagate."



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