Propaganda dictionary: name calling


Labelling or name calling is a commonly used technique in propaganda. It neutralises the target or the communication party’s arguments with a single phrase or sentence. A person under attack will be attached with an attribute or an image that is readily engageable and mutes the internal discussion on the content. Name calling is essentially always negative, even if it is packaged in wording that is pleasant and praising.

One of the first studies of name calling as a propaganda technic was done in the United States by Institute for Propaganda Analysis (1937-1942).

Labelling as an act is always highly charged and easily understandable. Propaganda against Estonia mostly contains terms as “fascist”, “Nazi” or “Russophobe”. These labels provide an introduction to each anti-Estonian theme.

Photo: JD Hancock/Flickr/CC

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