What is “counterpropaganda?”

Jack Holt, Chief, New Media Operations, DoD New Media, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, asks, in an SWJ entry that has fallen off their front page but isn’t quite dead yet.

Any Civilian Irregular Information Operators care to answer Jack’s question?

If we accept that propaganda is any form of communication in support of  objectives designed to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of any group in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly, then wouldn’t counterpropaganda be any form of communication designed to nullify, mitigate or reduce the influence of enemy, adversary and oppositional propaganda on one’s own target audiences?

It may be more useful to think of propaganda as the manipulation of information to promote attitudes and behaviors that advance the ideology and objectives of its sponsor.  Then counterpropaganda would be the manipulation of information to promote attitudes and behaviors that impede the ideology and objectives  of the sponsors of the propaganda being countered.  Wouldn’t it? 
Maybe counterpropaganda is propaganda to offset or nullify unfriendly or enemy propaganda.  In other words, Good Guy propaganda that  debunks, delegitimizes, defangs and destroys the credibilty of the Bad Guy’s propaganda.  Or how ’bout actions to discredit an adversary’s use of  media to support their objectives by influencing the opinions,  emotions, attitudes or behavior of U. S. and friendly audiences?

To this old DAT, propaganda is the Bad Guy woofing.    While the Bad Guys are blowing us up and being Bad, they’re also bloviating about how they’re not Bad Guys, they’re freedom fighters, and we’re not Good Guys, we’re Evil Oppressors, and everything the Bad Guys do is justifiable, and they’re everywhere, can’t be beat, and we can’t win so we ought to give up.  Counterpropaganda is talking back.  We can’t let the Bad Guys continously run off at the mouth without responding.  Silence is usually taken for consent, or acquiescence, or impotence.




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16 responses to “What is “counterpropaganda?”

  1. Grumpy

    C#4, As we look at this, it might be helpful to discuss this, an earlier question in the SWJ thread. The earlier question was something like, “The audience, are they the target or the weapon?” The answer will help us to limit our search and to help us to find a workable answer. Let’s try to define or describe them. We are not really talking about a large population of older people, many are uneducated older teens and 20+ years old. If they didn’t have war, what would they have?

    Let’s take a look at Jack’s question about propaganda vs counter propaganda. As I see what Jack is saying it sounds like Lies vs facts. I really should say verifiable fact, as Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” We need to understand the battle space, it is not just Iraq or Afghanistan, but it is actually in our homes as our young people make decisions about their lives. The discussions go on with their peers, parents, coaches and other significant people in their lives. None of these people thought they were going to be active in this war, but they are. I talked with a young Marine, he said something very profound. He said, “I just wish the adults would all grow up and stop acting like a bunch of damn fools. They don’t have a clue to how long this will last. The first person who says, ‘I agree, THEY should grow up.’ These are the people who need it now.” C#4, I’ll be learning until the day I die. I’m willing to learn.

    With due respect,

  2. Jack Holt :

    Ok, so let’s look at the Webster’s Definition. All three definitions have the basic understanding of propogating a belief, position, or viewpoint. Inherent in the word is the innate concept of combat. It is a word that describes a tactic, just as the word “terrorism” describes a tactic. Therefore, “counterpropaganda” is the countering tactic.

    Bear with me, here … we’re all saying the same thing differently. I just want to see if we can bring it into focus and understanding.

    For a tactic to be effective there must be a tactician, a weapon, a delivery system, and a target.

    In propaganda, with today’s Global Information Environment, there are no non-combatants there are only the four elements mentioned above.

    So my next question, is the audience a target or part of the weapon system?


    Posted by Jack Holt | January 6, 2009 1:49 PM

    Excellent discussion. Now I posit this concept:
    The tactician is the PAO, the IO officer, anyone entrusted with identifying channels and opportunities to engage important publics. The weapon system is the leader’s communication, vision, and engagement coupled with the communication of the audience (which is part of the weapon system) in public debate. The delivery system is the public debate, (publics = the audience which includes service members, target area citizens, allied country citizens, domestic citizens in public debate), the traditional media, the new media, word-of-mouth, etc. The target is the adversary’s ideology; what is his argument?


    Glad to see you over here, Grumpy. As you can tell, I have spent a lot of time on the subject of counterpropanda and who is, is not, doesn’t want to be, ought to be and must be doing it if America’s Defenders in this war are to avoid the fate of the Vietnam veterans, who were winning when they left, but had their C-in-C deposed and their victory thrown away.

    All the FM’s refer to TA’s (Target Audiences). Jack thinks the target is the adversary’s ideology. I think the target for our counterpropaganda is the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of the audience being targeted by The Other Side’s propaganda.

    There are many audiences; just off the top of my head I can think of: Host Nation leaders, HN Government Supporters, HN Insurgents, HN Insurgent Supporters, HN Undecideds, plus these same five categories of audience in neighboring countries, other countries in the region, countries allied with us, countries opposed to us, and our own country. Our own country has been woefully neglected by whoever is in charge of counterpropaganda.

    It is not so much the ideology that should be the target as what the TA thinks and feels about the ideology.

    There are more ideologies to be countered than just radical Islamic fundamentalism, but these other ideologies have found a home in the Ruling Party and are beyond the reach of PA, PO, and DoD. But they are not beyond the reach of Civilian Irregular Information Operators.

    Young Marines are a never-ending source of wonder. It was my honor to live and work among them in Anbar.

  3. I don’t much like the term “counterpropaganda” because it reinforces the adversarial nature of the Islamic Small Wars generally rather than distilling out and isolating the mentality and the intellectuals, fighters, amd mobs that drive them.

    Moreover, to only a small extent may effort in intellectual battlespace entail standing up to bigots and salting misinforming and biased interpretation (of the Qur’an, current events, history) with fleshed out and open reference plus the blessings of compassionate and considerate reasoning. Such may also require knowing the legacy literature and mythology characterizing the latest in theofascism, understanding its torque, and working with or through (and there are other methods) key figures — perceived immune authorities — to reconstruct the interpretive potential of that human software.

    As regards deflection to alternative activities, forget it: the engine has revered and sound enough core. I cannot too highly recommend reading the Qur’an and _The Sealed Nectar_ before tackling Hadith and Sunnah and reinterpreting the information drivers for the Shabaab and others.

    For fun, I thought Le Carre’s “A Most Wanted Man” pretty good for outlining the shimmering nature of what I think a unique war for detectives and poets.

    Language is a cultural technology–the conduit through which generations replicate in their children the essential qualities that defined themselves–so walking into the intellectual framework inherited or promulgated by one’s enemy, a very small portion of a religious culture overlaying a great variety of older ones, may provide an honest foundation-not propaganda of any sort–for the work that seems of interest here.

    I hope I’ve been helpful.

  4. Hey, J. S.

    Yes, it is helpful to remember just how complicated all this is.

    I have a bunch of books on Islam and Jihad and terrorism. Great sleeping aids. Many Americans were motivated by 9/11 to study the violent Islamic fundamentalist’s ideology. I tried, but could make no sense of it.

    Christians and Jews, I think, have religious teachings about behaviors that should make us feel guilty when we engage in them. This form of social control has mostly been dispensed with in what remains of Western Christendom.

    Muslims have an entirely different way of looking at guilt. Their way of thinking allows them to perform, support, rationalize, and condone actions that would be totally unacceptable to others. That shame culture is not exclusively Muslim, but they seem to be the most troublesome exponents of it these days.

  5. Muslims do not have an essentially different way of looking at guilt.

    By way of Moses and monotheism, Judaism provided the basis for Christianity and Islam, both of which were reforming movements at their inception, with each figure–Christ and Muhammad–intent on returning some brazen, idolotrous, polytheistic society to God and the semblance of goodness as perceived in / transmitted by / or — smile — composed in the name of that entity.

    All three of the monotheistic faiths have produced great bodies of literature as well as produced or sustained diverse interior cultures. Islam, however, part in its natural geographical isolation, part in its way of life and supremist aspects supported by those who, frankly, derive their power from its ability to engage the mind, reverts toward the conservative and maintains a great deal of control over its audience. Even with large semi-literate populations, biased clerics, and plenty of financial resources, its Ummah suffers more at its own hands than it does any other force on earth as its fissures divide multiple ways, with the far smaller part slipping into AQ-type or, among others, Qutb-inspired militancy.

    There seems to be a blog here that recognizes the inadequacy of a purely clinical and tactical approach to addressing actors, which is not a bad word for many, who have found their script and who readily employ mafia-style processes in their war making.

    I fall asleep too over my reading, and it’s varied around here, but I’ve devoted a good deal of my life to aesthetic and literary experience, something shared intimately and irrevocably with Islam’s scholars and its Ayatollah, whose mindful existence resides in fundamental texts and the sea of language and language-driven concepts, including some over-the-top follow through in Abraham’s absolute obedience to God, whose invention time enabled.

    There’s certainly a strain in American life, possibly elsewhere, that wants the “clash of civilizations”, the “end times”, and that sort of nonsense. I think I’d rather deal with the diverse wellsprings of human inspiration.

    My blog buries off-page work rather quickly, so when a reader hits the site, there’s just a lot of material not accessible from its surface. This is one of those pieces:


    I’ve read Keegan too, lol, and Demaris and so many others and would hesitate quite to aggregate the world’s causes and gangs for address in some kind of unified core principals program. Islam has its own terrain, and 85 percent of, this according to Daniel Pipes, harbors no sympathy for its militants.

  6. Many Muslims do indeed have an essentially different way of looking at guilt. Whether that is because of their religion or because of other factors, what would induce guilt in Western guilt cultures does not induce the same emotion in Southwest Asian shame cultures. He who would influence the emotions and objective reasoning of such people need to be aware of this.

    Jacksonian Americans want to fight the war effectively and quickly, killing the enemy, his women, children, livestock and crops until their hearts break and they can fight no more forever. Fighting a war with any less intensity prolongs it and gets more Americans killed, which is seen as immoral. If a war is worth fighting, and the enemy really does deserve to die, then we must kill him in large numbers as quickly as we can until his will is broken and he begs us for peace. I don’t think that’s nonsense. That’s my heritage and I struggle to restrain those thoughts while trying to support my Westphalian nation-state’s actions in the Long War, which would have been over on 9/12 if fought along Jacksonian principles.

    If 85% of Muslims harbor no sympathy for the militants, how do the militants survive?

  7. “If 85% of Muslims harbor no sympathy for the militants, how do the militants survive?”

    There are more than one billion Muslims around the planet–multiplied by (out of thin air) 1/2 percent or less — that’s a lot of support, and given the methods, it’s producing some firepower in the field. However amplified that violence may be, it’s still a problem having to do with what occupies the minds of a distinct minority among Muslims.

    Fighting over the definition of the war in conventional terms — where is it? who is fighting? how many of them are there? — belies the super-intimate and personal nature of this one, which hydra-headed things extends itself out through the winks and nods of private communications and small group or cell actions.

    States’ armies may be better off, for a little while, watching opposition gains turn into small institutions, which are much easier to see than bands that form up and melt away until they’ve secured a nest. That’s Gaza today; it may be Somalia in a few months to a year.

    Having looked over a lot of warfare in the past couple of years plus spending quite a few hours on the Antietam battlefield with Bruce Catton in my head, the folly of the glorious march to war cannot be overlooked–it has ways of surprising its proponents.

    Also, for a transnational religious war, we have also a new resource in transnational leaders from all walks; the variety of cultures underlying the Islamic overlay have been numerous and resilient. I’m a little more worried about what the world may be overlooking in Somalia today (i.e., the reconsolidation of the Islamic Courts in areas it holds with the Shabaab) than I am the Ummah suddenly coalescing into a dark and unified cloud.

  8. Grimmy

    What is too often lost in this discussion of islam and it’s general support of violent expansionist jihad is that there are two forms of support.

    There is Commission: Direct support.
    There is also Omission: Indirect support.

    The islamic world refuses to stand up and counter the efforts to expand the caliphate. Their support is in one of the two types listed.

    Muslims can not claim to be against violent jihad if they are so uniformly unwilling to stand up and fight against violent jihad.

    Only those who have taken up arms against violent jihad can be counted as “moderate muslims”. The rest are just sitting on their hands and waiting for the rest of the world to be forced into submission to islam as their ideology demands it be.

  9. “The islamic world refuses to stand up and counter the efforts to expand the caliphate. Their support is in one of the two types listed.”

    Muhammad left his companions with two or three hard nuts in the faith and information mix.

    1. Essentially, a believer refuses Allah nothing. Where God spares Abraham killing his son, the tales of those sacrificing fammily out of loyalty to Muhammad are legend. In realpolitik, such as the Muslim Brotherhood have not gotten a free ride in, say, Egypt, where they’re arrested with regularity and occassionally hung, but . . . the crystalizing concept doesn’t die and the organization participates in the civil areas of politics after all.

    In Christianity, Jesuits were assassins in their formation–and they made a mess too–but neutralized by the forces of the church, they’ve persisted these several hundreds of years as the intellectual missionary vanguard of the church.

    Back to Arabian expansionism, Hezbollah in Lebanon falls into the same warrior-charity mode, and it too is hardly beloved of the Lebanese overall–but . . . it’s gotten its feet into the legislature, and it may be the administrator of choice in southern Lebanon.

    My point here is these groups are not unopposed in Islam–they’re heavily opposed–but they’re hard to isolate and kill, and the longer they persist, the more threaded they become in their host societies.

    2. You know the saying: “I against my brother; I and my brother against my cousin; I, my brother and cousin against the world.” The Torah says as much of the Arabs, so whatever that quality, it’s observation far predates Islam.

    In contemporary politics involving terrorism, that way of culture manifests itself in doubt or forgiveness extended in relation to the depth of crime committed by one’s relations as concieved within the predominating tribalism. This is where Musharraf treats with the Taliban (that fails) and later extends several days of invitation to negotiation before crushing the “shadow government” in embryo at the Red Mosque in Islamabad.

    The dog might bite friends and pee all over the carpeting, but . . . one defends him anyway (out of love or obligation, sentiment about family, or, not impossible, fatique encouraging acceptance of the problems).

    The confusions may extend to uncertainty in coupled U.S.-Pakistani military training and arrangements. Having said that, the officer’s path in the Pakistani military has predominantly disfavored religious hardliners or zealots and much favored proto-western educated men. (My favorite reference for analysis involving Pakistan is Stephen Philip Cohen’s _The Idea of Pakistan_).

    The complaint that there’s a “moderate” Islam that secretly embraces Islamic totalitarianism finds plenty of counterpoint in the behavior of Islamic-majority states. I would submit they’re having as hard a time as anyone else would resisting AQ and affiliate aggression (plus their own internecine violence) and do have this little bit of doubt in their heads that gets tangled with their feet, and they pay a price for that. By far, where Muslims have been dying in conflict, they have been doing through the will of other Muslims–coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel in Gaza this past week: hardly a bump on the dismal landscapes of the Islamic Small Wars.

    3. The issue of who is fighting, how, and for what is complex across the board. How we get our perceptions may be equally so (I blogged on that this morning), and I see there’s been some comment here about the God mob’s film business. Fundamental to each dimension may be the disparity between state war planning and the “Fifth Generaton” warfare that’s running circles around it.

    For one thing, between Arabic and the Qur’an, both the legitimate Wahhabi state and the errant Sunni-oriented part of the Islamic Small Wars have potent weapons in language and can signal through it the way American kids have done with, say, Beat Generation poetry or rock-and-roll history and lyrics.

    My background (M.A., English Language and Literature) suggests there may be more to a common Qur’anic phrase like “stung from the same hold twice” than may be assumed, especially if to an English speaker the same merely resembles the notion of being burned twice.

    In that the Qur’an is a fully memorized element in this warfare, it would seem to me essential that any Intellectual Battlespace program to intercept command-control information, deflect induction, or counter anti-western propaganda must start with it.

    Add to that the problem of heterogenous or integrated populations. We’ve got the odd condition of being able to kill the world’s largest armies in the field but not the methodology for turning up the would-be assassin or cell revving up across the street–and that may be the case everywhere.

    Many of the Pashtun tribes in Pakistan have formed militia (“lashkar”) for fighting the Taliban, and many have gotten killed adopting that laudable role, some in the field of battle. More often, however, the kidnapping and beheading of chiefs and elders or the familiar practice of gunning down officials in the streets has worked just fine for quelling resistance.

    Counter-intuitive: in the circles favored by OBL and philosophicle kin, the more Islam suffers attack, the more ennobled it becomes, effectively replicating the origin story in which the prophet had set out to reform the world’s polytheist and instead drawn its ire and fought his enemies to a draw–or lost and dressed it up as a win.

    Sound familiar?

    Nominally targeting all of Islam plays to that re-enactor’s fantasy.

    Separating AQ affiliate actors, individual and in aggregate, enables those who fight for the reformation and modernization of Qur’anic interpretation and application to do so in ways competitive and congruent with other perspectives that have moved on to address contemporary issues in cooperative and effective ways.

    • (Picking his knuckles up off the ground before typing)

      An impressive and persuasive comment. Can’t find much to attack in it, though I am not normally inclined to think highly of apologies for what I and many Jacksonians perceive as the complicity of the Ummah. Your education shows.

      Do you ever comment over at The Belmont Club? You should.

  10. Grimmy

    Throughout history, islam has expanded aggressively by either conquest or by migration saturation.

    Islam demands war against all that is not islam until all is islam. Where ever islamic migration occurs to any substantial degree, internal violence has been assured as efforts commence to overthrow the original culture and install sharia.

    Those that many claim to be moderate muslims are part and parcel of that program, always.

    There is no place on this planet that islam brushes up against non-islam where there isn’t blood being shed.

    You can dance around it and mealy mouth it all you want, but islam is as horrid an abomination of an ideology as was nazism and for exactly the same reasons.

    There is zero possibility of any peaceful coexistence between islam and anywhere that is not islam.

  11. So . . . when, where, and how should America launch the inquisition?

    I have neither the answer nor a proposal for millenia.

    In 1492, about half a million Jews took refuge in Islam (Turkey) and subsequently migrated to Jerusalem upon the establishment of Israel. In recent years, Turkey and Israel, perhaps not coincidentally, have produced between them a $4 billion annual trade economy–that’s far off the Hamas and Hezbollah road maps.

    Elements and movements in Christianity have spilled some blood too.

    Of course, Islam has resisted reformation. In Pakistan, it would seem to be quarreling about its soul, and the militants of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and related along the Durand Line would seem engaged with state forces and encountering resistance in their march toward Islamabad. Perhaps instead of aggregating Pakistan’s Muslims as a monolithic lot, joint U.S.-Pakistani efforts to defend unTalibanized tribes and prosecute the war in that region should be made plain, promoted, and defended. If there’s revolution in the street for that and it turns the military, then we’ll have an old fashioned conventional conflict, and Pakistan would be sure to lose it. On this day, that’s just not the condition of the country, nor is it indicated in its development and trade efforts.

    However, I would like to see the profile of Wahhabi expansionism raised in the press. The Saudis have been planting their schools everywhere they can, and especially in contested, “failed state” regions, and that fleet of madrassah are centers devoted to an essentially anti-Western indoctrination with the Qur’an as its central feature.

    Even in Bangledesh, their establishment has been protested.

    Where has the United States been when it has come to confronting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on that?

    There would seem to be a contest between the Arabization of Islam and its leadership through the Iranian part of the Islamic Revolution (Sunni vs. Shi’a as usual) that would seem to be lending the world much of its headache.

    I will never counsel genocide.

    The defeat of Nazism produced a post-war Germany, still German-speaking, still predominantly Lutheran: it did not destroy all Germans.

    I trust the main body of Islam in the United States to evolve through our system and those outside of it and intent on committing crimes to find their way blocked at every turn.

  12. Grimmy

    The defeat of Nazi Germany did destroy the ideology that was driving the belligerence of Germany at that time.

    It is the ideology that drives the predations. The persons holding to that ideology are not genetically tied to that ideology. There is no need for genocide against the adherents of the ideology in order to break that ideology and end the belligerence that it preaches, pushes, mandates and requires of its adherents.

    That is, unless we keep dragging our feet and remain bottom seeking in our cowardice in confronting this ideology head on, then, the options remaining will be either genocide or surrender.

    The appeasniks will again have served no purpose but to amplify the loss of life and deepen the blood that must be spilled in order to put this monster away.

    Islam has had its reformation, it’s called Wahabism. Only those islamic areas far enough away from the center of gravity have managed to resist full capitulation to it’s call for global war. That center of gravity is spreading its boundaries and has been for a full generation in this latest war of conquest by islam.

    The Shaia have always been bit players in the islamic expansion, but they are also learning from the ways and means of the wahab. We can expect a convergence of purpose between those two main branches in the near future. A combining of forces to defeat the infidel and bring the world to islam, then the fight between those two main doctrines to determine the last ideology standing.

  13. Arabization: yes.

    The Kingdom will pick up all the pieces Sunni extremists pin down for it.

    I am less certain of Iran’s ability to do much more than invite suffering on the people of Gaza.

    While the global vision may not be globally embraced (as Islam is spilling much of its own blood rejecting it), no one questions the global ambition and reach of the God Mob; however, there’s a lot of softness on the underlying Wahhabi expansion, and that has got to come into the light.

    Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government has effectively given up its winnings from 2007 and left its portion of control back in the hands of the Islamic Courts . . . and there’s hardly a word of that on anyone’s front page–and southern Somalia’s a true conventional front line backed by control of about 500 miles of littoral, developed ports, and a significant capital, i.e., Mogadishu.

    While I dick around with the literary drivers of the war, there’s much to be said for shaping Islamic aggression it into a conventional and more familiar scenario (witness Israel’s assault on Gaza this month), but unlike Germany, the God Mob’s war machine and skill set are broadly distributed and semi-autonomous, adept at the lowest and least defensible levels of violence–assassination, intimidation, IED’s and suicide bombs, and general portable arms (mortars, RPG’s, etc.) tactics, and generally detached from country, albeit quite attached to intellectual and command personalities.

    Applying conventional tactics with most of these guys is like trying to hit fleas with a hammer.

    Where such has worked in my recent memory: conditions in which core cell elements have been effectively cordoned: Red Mosque, Islamabad; Nahr al-Bared camp, Lebanon.

    Where such has been failing: a handful of Pashtun tribes in Pakistan; an adult coordinated or motivated set of youth bands, the Shabaab, in Somalia.

    Much to our detriment: the warlord business, which, all said and done, produces uncertainty in populations so controlled or exploited, and probably stimulates militant recruitments in the same.

    Our worst Star Trekki-type policy in the field: not adjudicating local disputes when requested by the parties involved. In the television show, the hands-off “prime directive” was meant to preserve remote cultures by not introducting disruptive ideas or technologies to whatever extent possible. On earth, the same leaves the United States and its allies in a military position unaccompanied by a much needed and often wanted cultural intervention.

    In family-oriented psychobabble, this is like dealing with the teen who hates you and doesn’t want your help, but, oh not really, and some judicious guidance would be much welcomed.

    Grimmy and Cannoneer: thanks.

    I’ll visit pajamas media, but . . . I’ve been offline a week and want to get back to my blog.

    Recommended reading from my still recent purchases: Cohen’s _The Idea of Pakistan_, a terrific history and cultural study both; Ahmed Rashid’s _Descent Into Chaos_, which, among other things, gets into the CIA’s $1 billion peace payout to all parties, warlords and on-the-fence enemy included, involved in violence in Afghanistan.

    Rathern than prove their pen mightier than our swords, I’d rather work on our pen–and I don’t want to call it “counter-propaganda” as it’s somewhere else and more true in human intelligence–and thereby blunt their swords.

    (I’m a lot less expensive than any warlord too, lol).



  14. “counterpropaganda ” = Truth.

    I dont fear the terrorists, I fear their lies.

    When you see propaganda , you can
    counter it just be stating the truth.

    That is the biggest and most effective
    weapon against the Propaganda.

    An un-opposed lie
    said enough times
    in enough places
    and over a long enough time
    becomes the ‘POPULAR’ TRUTH.

    You can knock it down
    just by counter posting the truth.

    If even 10% counter posted when
    we saw propaganda they
    would have a significant impact.


    • Not as simple as that. Direct Refutation is best used in a very timely manner when counterpropagandists have complete access to factual information regarding the allegation. Counterpropagandists use this technique when they are confident that they can refute the propaganda with complete accuracy. A disadvantage of using this technique is that direct refutation may draw added publicity, strength, and credibility to the opponent’s allegations. Additionally, this technique may draw additional publicity to the opponent’s propaganda by repeating and then refuting the information. Countrpropagandists should avoid becoming involved in a “mudslinging” contest when using this technique to avoid damage to the supported force’s credibility.

      Direct Refutation is not always the best response. It is the response that makes the Good Guys look good, when it can be done quickly and accurately.