Follow TV Tropes


Propaganda Machine

Go To
"Look, I was young and stupid, okay?"

"They have an engine called the press whereby the people are deceived."
The Director, That Hideous Strength

The Propaganda Machine a.k.a. The Ministry of Truth delivers The Truth from The Government to the people.

At least, that's what they say. In fact, a Propaganda Machine is only employed by The Empire and used to brainwash people into Gullible Lemmings who believe that everything is all right when, in fact, it isn't, and that the very people who could help them are their enemies. Vigorously hated by La Résistance because it turns the very people they are trying to do good for against them.

The machine exists to create Propaganda Pieces and habitually indulges in Malicious Slander, Astro Turfing, and Divide and Conquer toward its scapegoats and enemies. Canned Orders over Loudspeaker is a common tool employed by the Propaganda Machine. They are opposed by the Voice of the Resistance. The Propaganda Hero is their carefully embellished national hero and Tokyo Rose is their representative to the outside world.

By its widest definition, just about every political entity practices propaganda; namely, making themselves look as good as possible while either downplaying or downright denying any good qualities in their opponents. The negative aspects of this trope come in when this is the only form of news someone has access to. It could be said that that the bad guys engage in "propaganda", while the good guys do "public relations". However, the Voice of the Resistance is likely considered propaganda by those who don't agree with them. How much of the content is truthful and how much isn't, as always, depends on who is producing it. Examples of this trope tend to be extreme cases where the preacher is using a combination of extreme censorship and/or outright lies to hammer their point across.

When instead of propaganda, the government provides mindless entertainment for the people to lull them into contented apathy, it's Bread and Circuses.

Compare with Recruiters Always Lie. Compare and contrast with the Censorship Bureau.

A No Recent Examples rule applies to Real Life examples of this trope. Real life examples shouldn't be added until 50 years after the propaganda campaign ends.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Fire Punch the citizens of Behemdolg are forced to watch "inspirational movies" of their founder from a young age to keep them in Knight Templar mentality and not question how the city came to be.
  • One Piece: Shogun Orochi skillfully employed propaganda pieces to advance his agenda. The school in the Flower Capital teaches that Orochi heroically saved the country from certain ruin that the previous ruling clan, the Kozuki Family, almost brought when Shogun Oden tried to break the isolation policy to open the borders of Wano to the outside world. The school also teaches to revere Orochi's "wealth is everything" philosophy and that poor people are the scum of the earth that do not deserve to live.
  • Rebuild World: The One Nation Under Copyright government has its media disguise False Flag Operation attacks they face as being from terrorists, these either being set up by themselves in an Inside Job, or from the We ARE Struggling Together cold war between Sakashita and the other MegaCorp within their federation.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: In the Marie Route Alternate Timeline, Leon notes how the news reports posted at his logistics hub are covering up how badly the war is going and the Collateral Damage. The report immediately gets contradicted by Prince Julius' Child Soldiers fleet returning to dock in tatters as more get sent to replace them inspired by his "overwhelming victories".

    Comic Books 
  • Star Wars: Doctor Aphra introduces the Coalition for Progress, the Empire's Public Relations department, which is in charge of projecting the image of the Empire as being the greatest thing ever and blindly obeying it being the right thing to do. They're also a branch of the Imperial State Sec mechanism, spying on the civilian population and having access to warships that can deliver an Orbital Bombardment on any trouble spots.
  • The Voice of Fate from V for Vendetta. In The Movie this was changed to "The Voice of London", an obnoxious pundit more than a little reminiscent of Bill O'Reilly.

    Fan Works 
  • The Amazing Spider-Luz in: Across the Owl-Verse!: It's implied that the media and books of the Boiling Isles has been manipulated to consistently depict humans as Pun Earthlings who are defenseless but surprisingly kind-hearted, needing the aid of their witch cousins, justifying the need to merge Earth and the Demon Realm.
  • Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion: Zero states to Tamaki that the Britannian citizenry has been indoctrinated from the cradle to always believe that they are superior to any culture or people, thus becoming living dolls that simply spew out Charles's rhetoric with no sense of individual opinion on the matter.
  • Fallout: Equestria: In the backstory, this was the purpose of Rarity's Ministry of Image. They were the "invisible Ministry," in charge of making all the other Ministries look good, inspiring patriotism, and demonizing the enemy.
  • Emmet becomes part of one in A Piece of Rebellion. President Business convinces him that the Master Builders are actually Smug Supers, and takes advantage of how ordinary and relatable Emmet is by broadcasting his warnings to all the realms.
  • In Prodigal Son, Emperor Leo V muses to Hiccup that one of the benefits of having an ignorant population is that this makes it easier to control them.
    Hiccup: There's more in those texts! Roman history and Greek philosophy! We have a responsibility to spread knowledge and understanding! Even if you don't care about the people, at least save the books.
    Leo: For whom? The people of this Holy Roman Empire are illiterate. Would you like to know the benefits of an Illiterate population? The people only hear what my town criers are paid to tell them. The only believe what the priests say. They don't think too much. It makes my job a lot easier.
  • Two Letters: The new Ladybug has cultivated a Cult of Personality around herself, to the point where practically everyone in Paris has some kind of button, flag, banner or other token that declares their support for her. The network Nadja works at is especially eager to maintain her favor so that she doesn't switch to some other sponsor, so they have Nadja interviewing her every day, running a show called "All Things Ladybug!" which Ladybug uses to shill herself and various products she's endorsing.
  • your move, instigator (draw your weapon and hold your tongue):
    • Konohagakure is filled with posters hailing their strongest shinobi as heroes, commercializing their images and encouraging the populace to treat them like celebrities. They're also encouraged to "Buy local!" and bombarded with other images and slogans of this nature, while villainizing the other hidden villages. It's eventually revealed that all of these posters are being produced by Sai in ROOT, under Danzo's command.
    • Later on, this gets flipped on its head with a positive counterpart: Sai escapes ROOT and starts producing posters and graffiti encouraging the residents of Konoha to question authority more and consider replacing the Sandaime with a new leader: Namikaze Minato.

  • Airplane II: The Sequel: Parodied during the news reports segment on the malfunctioning spaceship. The Soviet newsreader 'happily' announces that several hundred American capitalists are expected to die... as an offscreen guard presses a gun against his head.
  • The Father's public adresses in Equilibrium, although they also use Prozium to enforce obedience.
  • Hotel Rwanda: The RTLM radio station which broadcasts anti-Tutsi propaganda and hate speech and ultimately signals the Rwandan Genocide with "Cut the tall trees!" is very hauntingly Truth in Television. You can listen to excerpts of the real radio station on YouTube from the time of the genocide, and it is even more disturbing than the film.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Caesar Flickerman's airtime has fully devolved into this, given his "interviews" with Peeta in which the latter denounces violence and urges the districts to lay down their weapons. Though it's pretty clear that even he looks uncomfortable about it all.
  • If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?: The communists set up loudspeakers that preach Christianity is stupid, communism is good incessantly, calling for any who would resist to give up. This is pretty unconvincing, admittedly.
  • Referred to as such in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
  • A Special Day: Set in Fascist Italy on the day of Hitler's 1938 state visit to Rome. The film opens with a six-minute vintage 1938 newsreel covering the trip. Throughout the rest of the movie, Fascist radio blares over loudspeakers outside the apartment complex, waxing rhapsodic about the visit of the Fuhrer to Italy, while Gabriele and Antoinietta go through their drama indoors.
  • V for Vendetta: Lewis Prothero, or the "Voice of London", acts as the charismatic, all-British face of the Norsefire regime. Due to his previous, somewhat dubious military career, he gets put the fuck down by V early on the film. The lack of him was probably a deciding factor in the people siding with V at the end. On a larger scale, the BTN (British Television Network) puts out stories they know are false regularly, and both are controlled by the Mouth, the state propaganda agency which censors everything.

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Ministry of Truth. They edit all information — every song, story, news report, even porn so that it completely fits the Party's definition of truth; and they don't care if reality says otherwise. On the non-fiction front, George Orwell's essay "The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda" makes the point that art in all forms is, indeed, propaganda, that "propaganda in some form or other lurks in every book, that every work of art has a meaning and a purpose — a political, social, and religious purpose — that our aesthetic judgments are always coloured by our prejudices and beliefs."
  • Squealer of Animal Farm is a pig version of this.
  • Atlas Shrugged: Apparently, the government has enough control over the newspapers that many significant stories can only be reported as Suspiciously Specific Denials. All radio stations are made to run frequent official broadcasts, but the much-promoted November 22 "report on the world crisis" is pre-empted by John Galt's speech.
  • Caging Skies: After Hitler takes over as authority the school curriculum changes.
    We were made to look at a chart of the evolutionary scale of the higher species. The monkeys, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas were on the lowest level, and worked their way up. Man was at the top. When Fräulein Rahm began to lecture to us, I realised that some of what I'd taken to be primates were human races drawn in such a way that certain traits were accentuated so we could comprehend their relationship with the simians. She taught us a Negroid woman was closer to the ape than to mankind. Removing the hairs of the ape had proven to scientists to what extent. She told us it was our duty to rid ourselves of the dangerous races halfway between man and monkey. Besides being sexually overactive and brutal, they didn't share the higher sentiments of love or courtship. They were inferior parasites who would weaken us, bring our race down.
  • The Children Of Captain Grant: The British priests running Australia's aboriginal education programs have some rather curious ideas concerning the extent of the British Empire. North America and France are English colonies run from Washington and Calais by Governor Johnson and Lord Napoleon, apparently.
  • In Christian Nation, Fox News Channel, which becomes Fox Faith & Freedom News, or F3, is this in an Alternate History where Sarah Palin instead of Barack Obama becomes President.
  • The Decline of the West:
    • Spengler accused Northcliffe of having used his press conglomerate to manipulate the readers (and thus, their countries) until they wanted World War I.
    • Also, he wrote that journalists... well, suck. How much? Don't read if you're a journalist and easily offended: Spengler wrote that journalists are intellectual whores, who will sell their intellectual abilities to whoever needs them, and support whatever cause they want.
  • Monstrous Regiment: This Discworld novel is set in the small and incredibly confrontational nation of Borogravia. Throughout the book, ranking officers decry any doubts, negative thoughts, or unpleasant facts as Spreading Alarm And Despondency, a crime nearly on the level of treason, and families at home are routinely sent pamphlets and updates telling them how splendidly the war's going. Of course, Borogravia has been at war for so long, with so many different countries, that the only people who actually believe the propaganda are the people putting it out; everyone else has done the math, and noticed that they're running out of sons to send to the front lines (as the climax approaches, the characters are told that Borogravia is so badly outclassed that her opponents have actually managed to get bored of slaughtering them. note ).
  • Fade to White, an Alternate History short story by Catherynne M. Valente, is set in a post-World War III United States. The Department of Advertising and Information is the largest employer outside the military, maintaining the facade of The Fabulous Fifties so everyone doesn't have to think about how most of the population is infertile and large parts of the world are a radiation-blasted wasteland where soldiers fight a meaningless undeclared war against the Dirty Communists.
  • In Flight of the Swan, at the reception at the Governor of Puerto Rico's residence, Madame is shot, getting her arm grazed. However, the press is forbidden to report ANYTHING about the incident. It never happened.
  • In the later Harry Potter books, The Daily Prophet effectively exists to maintain the Ministry line and discredit anyone who disagrees with it. The Ministry line varies wildly between the three books in question, but it's always at least somewhat misguided.
  • That Hideous Strength: The ironically-named evil organization N.I.C.E. enlists Mark Studdock to write propaganda pieces portraying the organization in a positive light. N.I.C.E. appears to have editorial control over several large newspapers in England.
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe: in the Coruscant chapter, the narrator Pollus Hax is the head of the Emperor's propaganda department and overseeing every piece of media being produced in Imperial Center. As such, the chapter is a Propaganda Piece designed to make Coruscant under the Emperor look as glorious as possible and downplay any sordid elements like Fantastic Racism, oppression, or torture.
  • Industrial Society and Its Future: Kaczynski argues all advertising, education and news media amounts to this, saying people only call this “propaganda” when they disagree with its messages.
  • In It Can't Happen Here, the fascist regime exerts rigid control over all media, reporting rose-colored news to the masses. The media leaves out inconvenient stories such as revolts against M.M.s, refugees fleeing to Canada, and global events. One of the tasks of the resistance is importing factual news from Canada and secretly disseminating it to citizens.
  • The Global Community-controlled media and press becomes this in the Left Behind series during the Tribulation, which causes Buck Williams to develop his Voice of the Resistance publication called The Truth to counter their news report spins with actual facts.
    • Averted in the Millennial Kingdom, as God allows the La Résistance group The Other Light to have their say, despite how wrong they are in contesting God's Word.
  • The Machineries of Empire: The Vidona faction are responsible for propagating the Hexarchate High Calendar and its doctrine. They also torture and reform heretics, and oversee every citizen's compulsory education, giving them ample opportunities to indoctrinate people.
  • In Poster Girl the main character Sonya Kantor served as the titular Poster Girl for the propaganda department of the Delegation, a tyrannical regime in a post collapse USA.
  • In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen vs., the pith and essence of Marketing. It sells the public the superheroes, their carefully managed lives, the absolute necessity of their company, and the evil of any superpowered person who tries to escape.
  • Wasp (1957): The Sirian empire covers up their military failures and regularly claims spectacular victories over the Terran fleet. Hilariously, this includes things like showing old photos of Mongolian bandits and claiming them to be captured Terran marines. The Sirian citizens find the propaganda rather hard to believe, though, especially thanks to the Terran agents undermining their morale.
  • A Woman's Work: Queen Arrabel's gotten most of the bards on her side singing her praises now by giving them many benefits, has lots of schools which indoctrinate children into loyalty toward her, and a recruiter who's very skilled at instilling devotion among her troops.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Public Control Department in Wilfred Greatorex's 1990.
  • Babylon 5: ISN, co-opted by government puppets, is used to denigrate Sheridan and his alien allies during the dictatorship of President Clark, so Susan Ivanova becomes the Voice of the Resistance to counter it.
  • The Barrier has only one broadcast television channel, which is a news channel controlled by the dictatorship ruling New Spain.
  • In The Boys, seemingly the entirety of American media and entertainment revolves around Vought's superheroes, and it's all used to spread the company's "values" (which is mostly bullcrap).
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Full Circle": A handful of youngsters live in the wilderness, convinced that Mistfall is a myth put out by the Deciders to control them. Then Mistfall comes. When they manage, through various ways, to get to safety, the Deciders solemnly consider their youth and their new knowledge and only put them to work.
    • In "The Deadly Assassin", we hear the plans — twice — for covering up what happened.
    • "The Lie of the Land": The Monks have conquered Earth, and the propaganda is provided by the Brainwashed and Crazy Doctor.
  • Romper Stomper: No Quarter is a right-wing TV program which constantly advocates for an anti-immigration and Islamophobic view with slanted, biased means covered by false "balance" to lure opponents in, as the host Jago Zoric is far from a neutral host or moderator when they get there for a debate. He gives cover to some even more openly far-right groups, who he is shown as in bed with (and they use violence).
  • Star Trek: The Romulans and especially Cardassians.
  • The Undeclared War: Russia Global Today is a news outlet widely recognized as this, working for the Russian government and spreading fake or heavily slanted narratives which serve to divide British society so the UK overall becomes weakened, with Russia in a stronger position against them.

    Other Sites 

  • Destroy the Godmodder: The propaganda tower made by cathari in the TV Tropes session was this to a ridiculous extent.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Mutant Chronicles: Bauhaus has its own department called the Ministry Of Truth which tells people what they want them to hear, mostly good things about their corporation, and bad news from the other mega corporation.
  • Paranoia: Friend Computer constantly reminds every inhabitant of Alpha Complex that propaganda is unnecessary, because everything is perfect.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Basically everything is propaganda for one faction or another. The official stance of Games Workshop is that everything is canon, but "canon" does not mean "true", and the love of propaganda by all sides is one of the major reasons why. In particular, if it's from the Imperium of Man, it is almost certainly exaggerated if not fabricated whole-cloth to suit Imperial values and beliefs, while the Water Caste of the Tau is charged with... creatively interpreting their reports of alien societies and battlefield events in order to cast the most positive light possible on the Tau Empire.

    Video Games 
  • 7.62 High Calibre: You can listen to two radio stations: the official military government news, and the pirate guerilla resistance news. Both will report on events that you are not directly involved in exactly the same (such as a noted celebrity visiting), but any events that further the plot are wildly misrepresented by both sides. If, for example, while working for the rebels, you happen to ambush a military convoy, killing all the soldiers and taking their weapons, the resistance will report that rebel fighters successfully took the convoy, killing many (which is truth but for the fact that you did most, if not all the work). The government, on the other hand, will report that the soldiers managed to drive off the attackers, successfully defending the convoy while crushing the rebel force.
  • In Baldur's Gate III, after Lord Gortash pulls a Tyrant Takes the Helm on the titular city he turns its most popular newspaper into one of these, with Da Editor immediately becoming his Yes-Man. After finally entering the city proper you quickly discover that they're planning a hit piece on you, and you have to race against the clock to stop them before you and your companions become pariahs.
  • Beyond Good & Evil is all about fighting a government propaganda machine.
  • BioShock Infinite: The "Word Of The Prophet" kinetoscopes serve as this for Zachary Comstock's regime in the floating city of Columbia. Other examples include the "Duke Or Dimwitt?" puppets, and the huge amusement park "Soldier's Field" which subtly encourages children to enlist in the city's military regime.
  • Borderlands 2 has the Hyperion Truth Network run by Hunter Hellquist, who runs a radio show that constantly slanders the Crimson Raiders while glorifying Handsome Jack. A late-game sidequest had Mordecai sending you after Hellquist to shut him up for good.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, NOD has a determined go at collapsing GDI support via falsified news reports. Whilst not precisely falling under this trope in most of the 'Western world', it is noted in the background that NOD effectively controls at least 2/3rds of the 3rd world nations of today.
    • The Chinese in Command & Conquer: Generals'' can build Propaganda Centers and Speaker Towers to improve their troops' performance.
      • You can also build Propaganda Towers which heal soldiers. Somehow.
  • Dragon Age: The Chantry does everything in its power to present elves and mages in the worst light possible, often embellishing historical conflicts between Andrastian human muggles and mages/elves to make the latter look worse, and downplay, erase, or race lift historical mage/elven heroes Shartan, Ameridan, and others to keep the population believing that only Andrastian human muggles can be morally righteous heroes, as well as to justify excluding mages and non-humans from joining the Chantry priesthood.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Ministry of Truth, as its Orwellian name suggests, is this for the Tribunal Temple. They are tasked with suppressing dissent and stamping out heresy. For added kicks, they're headquartered in a moon floating above their holiest temple, which was left over from a failed Colony Drop by Mad God Sheogorath and later hollowed out for them to use. The nickname of their headquarters? Lie Rock.
  • Freelancer: After Rhineland falls under control of the Nomads and prepares for war with the other nations, their government gains a Ministry of Information. All the news items available in Rhineland during your brief visit there are so blatantly propaganda that it stretches Suspension of Disbelief as to how the people are going along with this — after all, the pre-war Rhineland government was supposed to be democratic.
  • Guild Wars: The city of Ascalon was a real propaganda machine, trying to paint their foes (who were villians only by necessity) as mindless savages — hiding the Awful Truth that really their foes aren't evil but rather misunderstood, as they're a bit ticked off about having their homeland stolen.
  • Halo 3: ODST: During Sadie's Story arc, an NMPD Propaganda Officer constants announces false propaganda in a half-assed attempt to raise citizen's hope during the Covenant's invasion of New Mombasa. Mike is quite understandably pissed off at hearing said false horseshit said announcer is spewing out and enters his office to give him a piece of his mind, the Propaganda Officer Stephen doesn't deny what Mike says at him.
  • Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2: The "Praise Gith!" Television Robots are a very literal example of this...
  • Hi-Fi RUSH: The Marketing Department of Vandelay Technologies is portrayed as this. The department's head, Mimosa, is in charge of spinning the marketing of the company's products and history to suit the schemes of Kale, the new CEO, making him into a Villain with Good Publicity. This "marketing" goes as far as to downplay the achievements and philanthropy of the company's founder and unpersoning Kale's sister Peppermint so he can take the company over unopposed.
  • Just Cause 2:
    • There's LITERAL Propaganda Machines (trailers, actually) all over the place, which you have to destroy; you can hear when one is nearby by the distinctive anthem they play, followed by Baby Panay's talking. Although his "Propaganda" doesn't seem so much "lying to the people that everything is fine", and more of apparently stroking his own ego:
      Panay: Listen most carefully, people of Panau. President Panay, your glorious and humble leader, must speak. Free photographs of the president and his staff are now available in all government buildings. REJOICE.
    • There is also a more traditional propaganda mouthpiece in the form of "Radio Panau: The Voice of Truth", which chimes in after every major mission to excuse away Rico's recent act of sabotage with some hilariously outlandish cover story, then remind the public that President Panay and the military have everything under control and Communists and gangsters aren't taking over the island.
    • Just Cause 3 has loudspeaker trucks driving around cities and towns, blasting propaganda, that you need to destroy. Destroying military bases also prompts a radio message from the Propaganda Minister about how the destruction was definitely deliberate on Di Ravello's part and there is most certainly nothing amiss. For bonus points, the Minister is a kidnapped celebrity (David Tennant As Himself) and very much unwilling, so he doesn't always try to make his scripts sound plausible.
  • Master Detective Archives: Rain Code: The plot of the Big Bad revolves around propaganda and lying to Kanai Ward's residents, in the sense that the CEO of Amaterasu Corporation, Makoto Kagutsuchi, tries by any means necessary to hide that Kanai Ward's residents are actually defective homunculi instead of human beings as a result of Yomi and Dr. Huesca creating clones of them in the past, even resorting to kidnapping and abuse of his power and wealth in order to cover up the truth. He lured his original self (Yuma) to Kanai Ward so he could replace him as Number One of the WDO to prevent outsiders besides the Master Detectives from investigating the city any further. As a bonus, said propaganda revolves around a literal machine, as he built a Weather-Control Machine to keep the homunculi subdued by blocking out the sunlight, which unintentionally creates Kanai Ward's eternal rainfall.
  • Metal Wolf Chaos: The Government Policy Promotion Department, where the password is "Overflowing love, and daily benevolence."
  • Not for Broadcast revolves around the news station the Player Character works at being turned gradually turned into one of these by the People's Republic of Tyranny, and they have to choose whether to play along or sabotage them from within.
  • Psychonauts 2: The Big Bad's mental world, which serves as the final level, is a propaganda piece exalting him as future Gzar of Grulovia, praising Maligula, and demonizing Ford... taking the form of an ""it's a small world"" knockoff.
  • Red Faction Guerilla:
    • Has the Voice of Mars Broadcasting System brought to you by the EDF. You kill a ton of EDF troops assaulting civilians: "Today EDF forces found a group of insurgents near a civilian housing complex, three EDF troops and five insurgents were killed in the crossfire".
    • After taking out those EDF snipers? Oh, those were actually Red Faction snipers wearing EDF uniforms "stolen from the artillery base in the Free Fire Zone". Yep.
  • ReVOLUTION (2002): The Corporation makes use of this. You'll see more than one poster saying "Power And Control," as well as "The Corporation Is The Sun Of Your New Life!"
  • StarCraft II: Mengsk's Dominion has one of these up and running, making Raynor and his buddies out to be terrorists. When Raynor & co. find damning evidence that confirms that Mengsk threw Tarsonis' population to the Zerg, they hack in and broadcast it sector-wide. The media quickly turns against Mengsk.
  • Implied use of one in Star Trek Online's backstory. After overthrowing Taris as Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire in a Military Coup, Sela broached the subject of a renewed Romulan monarchy to unify the people. Observers wryly noted that people suddenly started comparing Sela to favorably viewed single rulers in Romulus' past such as Ael t'Rllaillieu (despite the fact that Sela and Ael are approximately nothing alike). Sela eventually did proclaim herself empress.
  • Tropico: This Real-Time Strategy game has this trope implied, especially in the third installment, as there are many news reels during gameplay, where the anchorman, Juanito, actually tells the people (and of course the player) how the political stability, the finances, citizen life quality, and other important aspects of the game currently are. Although he sometimes deliberately twists facts, he can be quite openly skeptic at times. El Presidente can have Juanito executed in the expansion; however, he is then replaced by a snarky anti-governmental anchorwoman, who unfortunately cannot be gotten rid of.
  • Defied in Valkyria Chronicles by Irene Elliet, an attached War Correspondent to Squad 7, who was willing to tell the truth about the Gallian war effort, including it's heavy losses, despite the national censorship board trying to stop her. She eventually starts publishing her own paper out of pocket, which you pay for and is necessary to unlock the non-skirmish bonus stages, called "The Writing on the Wall".
  • Vietcong 2 has a VC propagandist who tries to convince the civilians in Hue to rise up against the Americans using the town hall's radio. His voice can be heard in the fifth US level, and you can even sneak up on him and kill him two levels later.
  • VVVVVV: Worth mentioning is a hazard in this game which is a machine that is shooting the word "LIES" at a television multiple screens to the right. The machine, television, and LIES can all kill you.
  • The Xtended mod for X3: Terran Conflict introduces a BBS system for news stories and important messages. Each major faction — including the Space Pirates — have their own news network with varying degrees of reliability. Split Family News is owned by the ruling Family Rhonkar and mostly dedicates itself to accusing the largely pacifistic Boron Kingdom of trying to destroy the Split Dynasty. The Conspiracy Theorist Solara News Network is accused of being a propaganda machine by the equally conspiracy-prone Terran Morning News, and both of the news networks often end up sabotaging their own empire's efforts in trade agreements and public outreach.
  • XCOM 2 takes place in a Vichy Earth scenario, so ADVENT Administration media figures such as the Speaker describe the previous conflict as a Benevolent Alien Invasion that replaced the turmoil and injustice of the "old world" with the benign reign of the "Elders," while branding XCOM as a band of anarchic terrorists. Retaliation attacks against rebel encampments are initially portrayed as humanitarian missions to desperate refugees, while with the War of the Chosen expansion, after successful operations you may overhear an ADVENT newscaster insisting that any reports of gunfire in an area was a planned exercise with simulated casualties, and the shutdowns at a local gene therapy clinic were absolutely not the result of dissident activity. At the end of the game, XCOM takes advantage of the alien media network by hacking the feed to broadcast evidence of just what the Avatar Project entails, sparking a global rebellion.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • First we have Marzipan's kindergarten, named L.ifeblossoms U.ndergoing R.e-education N.aturally. Her children (i.e. grown men Homsar, Homestar, and Strong Mad) are referred to as "lifeblossoms", and the point of the lessons is parodically hyper-vegan (one of her blackboards reads "soy is also murder," as she says, "and that way you always feel guilty").
    • In the short "Career Day" it's revealed Strong Bad treats his space program's promotional films as such - the vanity plate reads "SBASAF propaganda indoctrination mind control edumacational films presents".
  • Lucky Day Forever has the Whites pulling the wool over the eyes of the Proles via artificial culture aimed at them.
  • Red vs. Blue. Apparently Command convinces the Reds to fight the Blue based on the information that "the Blues suck."


    Web Videos 
  • Doctor Steel: Doctor Steel is a master of using propaganda and propagandic art to spread his Utopian Playland message, which his fans/followers (known as Toy Soldiers) happily disseminate. Doctor Steel is, in fact, the only mad dictator in the history of existence who can actually label his propaganda as "propaganda" and no one will care. Except perhaps Dr. Insano.
  • Mahu: In "Crownless Eagle", the agents of the Swedish Empire are excellent when it comes to picturing the Commonwealth Republic as the worst, most evil empire ever created. So convinced are the soldiers of this, they are willing to fight to the last man and commit suicide rather than be captured by the Commonwealth.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Fire Nation. Their schools warp history and facts to promote the Fire Lord's agenda, like any good Evil Empire would. Subverted in the first season, though. Two Fire Nation guards are reading about how the Avatar can supposedly "run faster than the wind" and one of them scoffs that it's just Fire Nation propaganda. Guess who zooms past right at that moment?
    • The Fire Nation has nothing on the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se, whose propaganda is so thorough that they've managed to convince a significant chunk of the population (including their own king) that there is no war.
  • The introductory voice-over recaps in The Clone Wars have both the style and substance of Republic propaganda.
  • After the events of Transformers: Prime, the elected council of Cybertron moved to promote a view that Optimus Prime was to blame for the war and used this as an excuse to keep Autobots loyal to him out of positions of power. By the time Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) rolls around the government is moving to establish a police state and restart Cybertronian expansionism.

    Real Life 
  • Yellow journalism has been prone to this. In particular, William Randolph Hearst exploited hot-button issues to sell more newspapers, such as the Spanish-American War, Graf Zeppelin and cannabis.
  • Perhaps the father of the propaganda machine, or public relations machine, was Austrian-American Edward L. Bernays, who was responsible for selling cigarettes to women, World War 1 to the U.S. public, the bacon and eggs all-American breakfast, and the Guatemalan coup. His book Propaganda from 1928 inspired Goebbels.
  • Nazi Germany in general and Joseph Goebbels in particular. Goebbels has become so synonymous with propaganda that he's the go-to name when casting aspersions on someone for perceived propaganda tactics.
  • American post-war propaganda and "mental hygiene films" were directly inspired by the Nazi use of cinema, a great volume of which was produced by the military. They reasoned that it could, and should, be used for indoctrination of pro-American values of the time. Of course, this was when film was still going through its New Media Are Evil phase, and there was much more belief in cinema's power over people's minds. PSAs are descended from the early American Propaganda Machine.
  • Stalin had Trotsky, Yezhov, and many, many others edited out of pictures, for starters; later Soviet premiers shied away from being quite as blatant, though the propaganda machine remained in place. The untrustworthy nature of the news sources at the time sparked a joke in the USSR spoken amongst those not prone to reporting people to the Central Committee: There is no Pravda ("truth") in Izvestia, and there is no Izvestia ("news") in Pravda (or some variation thereof; both papers are still around, by the way, although they have become two remarkable cases of In Name Only). Since people had to read between the lines to determine what actually happened (there being few to no real news alternatives depending on the circumstances, and open discussion being obviously dangerous), some Russians believed that America won in Vietnam. Too much propaganda in Russia (and presumably elsewhere) wound up creating a huge backlash.
  • In East Germany under the socialist dictatorship, the government's control over the media was so absolute and the media therefore so mistrusted by the people, that the area in Saxony that couldn't receive West German radio and television (boosting those signals was what West Berlin was kept for, despite all the expense of supporting an island in enemy territory) and where it took a while for the smuggled West German newspapers to make their way to, was referred to as "the valley of the clueless". Of course, a lot of the West German media from this era turned out to be propaganda, too.
  • One of the rare examples of this trope being used for good was the Abolitionist movement in 19th-century America. They mobilized a truly massive Propaganda Machine made up of everything from newspapers to novels (Uncle Tom's Cabin) to public speaking in order to wake up the North of America to the horrors of slavery.
  • Imperial Japan during World War II proved to be astoundingly bad at this.
    • The xenophobic militarists who controlled the country viewed intellectualism as suspect and cosmopolitanism as treason, and anyone who demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of a foreign culture was suspected of being an enemy sympathizer, which meant the nation was denied their services crafting or interpreting foreign communications.
    • The famous Tokyo Rose broadcasts were written by Allied prisoners who turned the broadcasts into parodies, since any Japanese with a sufficient fluency in the English language to detect the subtleties was considered too politically unreliable for government employment (and probably was).
    • Their painfully earnest attempts to win hearts and minds within the "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere" were constantly undermined by the brutality of their troops.
    • Their other attempts were equally, almost childishly, unsophisticated, as in "every battle is a great victory and if we lost one ship then the enemy must have lost ten", made worse by their tendency to accept the wildly exaggerated claims of their sailors and pilots at face value because to do otherwise would question their sincerity. Eventually, their ever-wilder claims started working against them, as they implied that the enemy had unlimited resources and anyone with a map could see that each "great victory" was closer to Japan than the last.note  By the time US firebombing destroyed 60% of their urban areas, they'd switched to whipping up hysteria for a suicidal national Last Stand. It is a testament not to their skill but to how insular and isolated Japan was that the surrender actually came as a colossal shock to some people in rural areas of the home islands, because they'd been led to believe they were still winning the war. People who lived in areas devastated by the firebombing were under no such illusions.
  • The Ministry of Information was the British government's propaganda arm during the Second World War. While other examples are probably more notorious, the MoI is arguably the most influential as far as culture goes, both because of their work in encouraging the Stiff Upper Lip stereotype ("Keep Calm and Carry On" was one of their creations), but also thanks to George Orwell heavily basing the Trope Codifier on it. The Ministry of Truth's headquarters, as described in Nineteen Eighty-Four, is clearly inspired by the MoI's own base of operations, the University of London's Senate House. Fittingly, the 1984 film adaption used that exact building as the MoT's headquarters.
  • Fascist Italy was extremely effective at propaganda, as anyone would be expect who knows that Benito Mussolini having been a rather influential journalist before World War I. One example among many is that, to this day, we don't know if the O.V.R.A. actually existed or was just an acronym (that sounds suspiciously like "piovra", Italian for "octopus") used to distract everyone from the normal police doing the job, as that was the kind of manipulations they pulled all the time. They however lost their influence and credibility in early 1943, when the survivors of the Italian force on the Eastern Front of World War II came back and revealed the many lies told about that front.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Ministry Of Truth


Fake campaign on Elsa Engstrom

An American delegate informs Swedish Foreign Minister Elsa Engstrom that American intelligence has investigated fake social media accounts used by bots to help promote fake political scandals against Elsa since she's a known supporter of signing the Arctic Treaty to stop further oil exploration in the Arctic region.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / PropagandaMachine

Media sources: