In general, a message designed to persuade its intended audience to think and behave in a certain manner. Thus advertising is commercial propaganda. In specific, institutionalized and systematic spreading of information and/or disinformation, usually to promote a narrow political or religious viewpoint. Originally, propaganda meant an arm of the Roman Catholic church responsible for 'de propaganda fidei,' propagation of the faith. It acquired negative connotations in the 20th century when totalitarian regimes (principally the Nazi Germany) used every means to distort facts and spread total falsehoods.
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