I will explain how one type of propaganda works, and then extend it to cover all forms of propaganda.
How loudspeaker propaganda conducted by South Korea against North Korea works:
People usually think all the loudspeakers plays are kpop songs and downright propaganda. If you look more into it, the loudspeakers are a carefully crafted psychological warfare.
The initial announcements start with weather reports. Accurate weather reports that the NK neither has the manpower nor the computing power to gather and spread along the DMZ. This naturally convinces the NK soldiers to rely on the loudspeakers, if not for news and entertainment, for the weather. After some time, we can literally announce “DPRK soldiers, heavy rain is expected to fall in the evening, so please gather your laundry from the clotheslines” and they will come out of their little posts and start gathering their laundry. This is good rapport. Then come just vanilla news. Maybe the results of a soccer match or some shit that happened overseas. They might not believe it, but they’ll find out in a week or when they read or hear it on some DPRK state media. They then subconsciously establish that the loudspeakers have fast, accurate news. Besides, the general NK population and common soldiers rarely ever get international news, if at all. So any international news is a mindfuck to begin with. Then the loudspeakers broadcast NK news. For example, they’ll report that General X, Y, and Z were executed by their glorious leader KJU for whatever petty reason he kills people for. There is good chance many soldiers at this point would write this off as propaganda, but when they eventually hear about it through their own channels, that Gen. X,Y, and Z actually were executed for treason or whatever, you’re starting to fuck with their minds. Then we tell them how fucked up and idiotic the Kim family have been and are.
Another crucial function of these broadcasts is they report news that the DPRK state media censors. And this is absofuckinglutely critical and what bugs NK the most. For example, there was a huge explosion at an NK train station in 2004. Naturally, NK censored the shit out of the event. But the loudspeakers reported on the event, and soldiers at the DMZ wrote home asking if everyone was alright since the explosion was so huge. The loudspeakers nullified NK media censorship just. like. that.
Then they play kpop songs in between the news for entertainment. And this cultural infiltration is so effective, NK soldiers literally sing these kpop songs to congratulate fellow soldiers when they’re done with their service. And mind you, singing those kinds of songs in Pyongyang can put you in a concentration camp in a heartbeat.
The loudspeakers reach about 7~8 miles during the daytime, which definitely covers the DMZ, and at night can reach up to 15~18 miles, which reaches Kaesong (home to the Kaesong Co-op industrial complex), a pretty large city that has a pretty sizeable civilian population (approx. 200,000).
Hundreds of soldiers and thousands of civilians that have defected have cited the loudspeakers as a crucial role in their decision to come south, and NK absolutely despises the loudspeakers because it is such an effective tool against their soldiers, and naturally disrupts their populace by bypassing their media censorship. It pisses them off so much, they are willing to fire 2 rockets across the DMZ and are now demanding a complete stop to these loudspeakers in 48 hours or risk total war.
How all propaganda works:
By extension all propaganda has 3 steps:
- Earn legitimacy by telling useful truths and creating genuine entertainment.
- Alternate subversive messages (truths & opinions) with useful truths and entertainment.
- Improve the range of coverage without annoying people.
These steps can be modified to be more powerful this way:
- Take over or infiltrate or subvert an existing source of legitimacy or genuine entertainment which is already popular. e.g.
- Trustworthy newspapers,
- Famous editors and editor boards
- Famous journalists.
- scientific journals,
- good movie/TV programs,
- good actors
- good directors
- good production companies
- Awards & prizes: Nobel Prize, Oscars, Movie Reviews, Reviewers
- Alternate subversive messages (truths & opinions) with useful/entertaining content.
- An allied editor finds an innocent journalist who happened upon a scandal regarding an undesirable person. Allow it to be printed on the front page.
- Give Nobel Prizes to people who you wish to be considered respectable.
- Give Oscars to movies that support your narrative.
- Let allied reviewers review bad content as good if it supports your narrative.
- Don’t forget to occasionally publish the truth and genuine entertainment or subverted channels will become boring or annoying soon.
- Invest in technology and marketing to improve outreach of subverted channels of legitimacy and entertainment.
Tips for subversion:
- The economy of subversive methods is paramount because an organization with too many subverted participants tends to breakdown through whistleblowers.
- For example: Never try to subvert/replace journalists. There are too many of them. Only subvert/replace editors and directors of a news/entertainment organization who are far fewer in number.
- Another example: Fame is mistaken for legitimacy, and there are fewer famous people than their fans, and even fewer agencies representing said actors, so infiltrating the ownership of talent management agencies is very good way to put words in the mouth of famous people.