December 18, 2015

Poetry of Propaganda

Sure, there's a crude message that propaganda is trying to get across. But like poetry, when you know how to read it, propaganda contains lots of more subtle messages that you might not see at first glance. This week: examples, big and small, from around the world.


Ira talks to New York Times reporter Damien Cave, about a strange phenomenon he noticed in the pages of in-flight magazines. (5 minutes)
Act One

Guerrilla Marketing

Producer Sean Cole tells the story of a brand of war propaganda developed in Colombia that was so ambitious and ornate, it's almost hard to believe. You can watch Jose Miguel Sokoloff's TED talk, which is featured in the story, here. (15 1/2 minutes)

Act Two

Not Our Town

When Jon Mooallem went to see his six-year-old daughter in a musical at her after-school program, he didn't know what to expect. But it certainly was not the performance saw. The musical was created by Children's After School Arts. (15 minutes)

Act Three

The Spy Who Didn't Know She Was A Spy

On September 29th a medical researcher in Philadelphia fired off a simple, well-meaning tweet, and then barely thought twice about it. Little did she know that by doing that, she was perpetrating covert propaganda on behalf of the U.S. government. Ira explains. (7 1/2 minutes)

Act Four

Party On!

Evan Osnos, a staff writer for the New Yorker who for years reported on China, tells producer Nancy Updike about an incredibly shrewd and successful propaganda campaign that hinged on two words. Evan's book about China, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, won the national book award in 2014. (12 1/2 minutes)