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Propaganda is any information which is disseminated for the purpose of influencing an audience in order to further a cause or agenda. Propaganda frequently selectively presents facts, half-truths, and lies, and is often emotionally charged. In form and content, propaganda can vary widely. It can range from simple slogans to sophisticated media such as visual arts, books, movies, and the like. It usually comprises signs and symbols which seek to simplify issues and remove nuances. Propaganda may be produced by governments as well as activist groups, religious organizations, corporations, the media, and other individual interests. Propaganda is especially common in wartime, and may constitute part of psychological warfare.
Propaganda plays a prominent role in the United Nations Space Command. UNSC propaganda is primarily meant to support the policies of the Unified Earth Government and increase recruitment for the UNSC Armed Forces. In 2164, during the Interplanetary War, propaganda tactics helped to strongly bolster the nascent UNSC forces. Propaganda was also a common part of the environment of the Corbulo Academy of Military Science. Propaganda could be found on UNSC ships and at UNSC recruiting centers. UNSC propaganda presented the Epsilon Indi system as the farthest-flung system in human controlled space. This reliance on propaganda could have its detriments, however; for example, prior to the Battle of Bliss in 2526 most Outer Colonies leaders dismissed the Covenant threat as merely propaganda.
The Office of Naval Intelligence produces large amounts of propaganda. ONI Section Two is responsible for external communication and public morale, a role which in practice involves the creation and spread of propaganda. This includes overseeing the doctoring of war photography. Much of its propaganda was designed to preserve the fiction that UNSC forces were holding their own against the Covenant. One of its most notable propaganda exercises was ONI Directive 930, which mandated that all SPARTAN-II soldiers be listed as missing in action or wounded in action rather than killed in action. Legends which grew around the ORION Project supersoldiers following Operation: CHARLEMAGNE were utilized for ONI propaganda in the following decades. Similarly, the exploits of the SPARTAN-II supersoldiers were publicized in an effort to improve morale. The victories of Vice Admiral Preston Cole were also used for propaganda purposes. ONI propaganda stated that the UNSC won the Battle of Ballast.
During the Battle of Mombasa in 2552, Secretary of Defense Paul Huphy Russel and Minister of Information David Dockmaster Dunn both released propaganda messages for the citizens of New Mombasa. Public service announcer Stephen also broadcast propaganda from NMPD headquarters during the battle.
According to Petra Janecek, the Press Corps is synonymous with the dissemination of propaganda. Journalist Benjamin Giraud was contracted in 2558 by ONI to create a propaganda piece on John-117; however, this effort ultimately backfired after Giraud began to uncover the truth of John's origins.
Insurrectionists are known to use propaganda. Serin Osman initially thought that the bombing of Far Isle was rebel propaganda before she read the relevant file. During the Draco III rebellion in 2554, ODST squad Alpha-Nine was ordered to avoid damaging the city of New Albany lest its destruction be used as anti-UEG propaganda.
Following the Human-Covenant War, the group Sapien Sunrise spread propaganda opposing the 2558 Sangheili peace talks lead by Richard Sekibo. In 2553, Forerunner ancilla Intrepid Eye established and controlled several propaganda outlets in an effort to prepare humanity to assume the Mantle.
The Covenant makes use of propaganda. For example, they have broadcast threats to intimidate the UNSC. The sermons of the Prophet of Truth and Prophet of Regret also served as propaganda to inspire their troops. Voridus originally dismissed stories of the Flood as Covenant Propaganda.
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