Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/11/10

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Subject: [Leica] Progaganda or no?
From: Martin Howard <>
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 13:26:48 -0800

My on-line dictionary (American Heritage through Sherlock in OS X.2) 
defines the following terms:

Propaganda, (n): 1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause 
or of information reflecting the views and interests of those 
advocating such a doctrine or cause. 2. Material disseminated by the 
advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.

(Interesting sidenote: It comes from the New Latin for 'propagating the 
faith' -- the faith in this case being Roman Catholicism)

Documentary (a): 1. Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents. 
2. Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting 
fictional matter, as in a book or film.

(n): A work, such as a film or television program, presenting 
political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and 
informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or 
interviews accompanied by narration.

Not editing is, of course, impossible, as is being "objective", 
although "presenting facts objectively" may or may not be the same 
thing.  But, it would seem to me, both from the excerpts above and from 
the common sense understanding of the words, that the defining 
difference between "propaganda" and "documentary" is that the latter 
chooses to downplay or ignore altoghether those aspects of reality 
which do not fit comfortably with the point of view of those reporting.


- -- 
Martin Howard

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