Yes, we do have such a question, and it survived closure twice. The trouble I see with that is one can easily make 1,000 such such questions "Is this statement of X propaganda", just by searching the news with Trump and propaganda...

Or nearly everything that Trump says (kentucky.com):

When do simple lies become propaganda? Most experts define propaganda as a pattern of intentional lies used to promote a political cause. Political propaganda influences and alters the perception of a population to create an alternative reality.

Propaganda is what a senior adviser to President Donald Trump calls “alternative facts,” to which she claims the president is entitled.

For the first time in my 66 years, I’m concerned that America is awash in a wave of propaganda. And, sadly the origin is the president himself. He is the modern-day version of Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Trump “lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And he had a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook. His response is to accuse everybody else of lying.”

(In case this is the first you've heard of "alternative facts", there's a Wikipedia page on that notion/expression.)

And that's hardly a recent theme in the press, e.g. 2016 article:

Trump [...] is a practitioner of something else again: authoritarian propaganda. This is a form of communication in which a leader concocts a fiction that offers a narrative explaining why the problems that trouble whole groups of people have a simple origin and an even simpler solution. The explanation of the problems is inevitably that some other group or groups in conspiracy with a corrupt elite are responsible for them. The solution is even simpler—namely to elect the author of the fiction as the new leader who will eliminate the elites and the other groups, thus solving the problems. The constant repetition of the fiction is a key to getting it accepted.

Or even the academic works, e.g. paper arguing that Trump is engaging in "antiprofessional propaganda".

Undoubtedly, antiprofessionalism is not Trump’s only appeal—racism, sexism, and transphobia have drawn many to him as well—but this article will focus on the antiprofessionalism in Trump’s propaganda.

Or undergraduate thesis titled "Trump and his Tweets: Presidential Propaganda". Etc.

If someone were to spam such "is this propaganda" questions for everything that Trump said and has been fack-checked as false by the media... That would get us a lot of such "Trump bashing" questions. Even if restrict that to things that are recurring themes, so e.g. that they got "bottomless pinocchios" (a special category invented by WaPo for stuff Trump says a lot and which they fact-check as false) that is still potentially a lot of "is this propaganda" questions.

These kinds of "is this propaganda" questions probably aren't as controversial as "is Trump fascist" (note the New Yorker link/juxtaposition and also the "authoritarian propaganda" quote), but one could easily make lots and lots of them, for no clear benefit except as "Trump bashing".

So should we have/allow such questions here of the form "is this statement of X propaganda"?

(N.B. maybe a "canonical question" asking something about Trump's "alternative facts" and propaganda might be a suitable "generic dupe", but I'm not sure such a question can be written in a way that would not received the same mod treatment as the ones about Trump and fascism or Trump and racism.)

2 Answers 2


As a general rule, no single statement qualifies as propaganda. Propaganda is a systematic misrepresentation of facts in order to present a false, redacted, or misleading worldview as true. We could close any question of the type "Is statement X propaganda" as lacking sufficient information or context, with the guidance that the question needs to refer to a programme of behavior, not a single utterance.

That should preclude most 'politician-bashing' efforts by demanding that question-askers engage the question at a higher, more abstract level, while still allowing an avenue for effective discussions of the political problem of propaganda.


I say yes, but only if we have good consensus definition of "propaganda." After all, terms like, "Fascist," for example, become messy very quickly for this reason. Without a clear definition either by consensus or given by the OP (like in questions like this one where the OP is asking about words used by a specific author), then questions about things like this quickly become not a good fit for this site.

If we have a good, consensus definition of "propaganda," then I see no reason to prohibit such questions. This is certainly most political.

Of course, if we don't have a good definition, then we should only allow questions that give a definition of what they mean by "propaganda." And really, I only see this happening in questions about other people claiming that something is "propaganda."

As to Trump specifically, one doesn't need to resort to accusations of "propaganda" to generate a controversial question. He says and does a lot of things that are controversial. Just searching the mainstream US media outlets for "Trump" will likely find tons of negative stuff about him. No need to even bring "propaganda" into it.

Case and point: your linked Trump Bashing question meta discussion doesn't even involve propaganda. So, to reiterate, you can find other ways to bash Trump besides accusing him of propaganda.

At the end of the day, this seems to be more of a per-question thing than a specific bad topic. We already don't allow Trump Bashing (as I don't think we should). If the question doesn't bash Trump, asks about propaganda, and is otherwise on-topic, I see no reason to prohibit it.

But it would have to ask in a way that doesn't feel like it bashes Trump.

  • 5
    Just to avoid any misunderstandings: The reason we don't allow Trump bashing is because we don't allow bashing of any politician or political entity. It's not about Trump in particular.
    – Philipp Mod
    May 13, 2020 at 7:33

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