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In Fahrenheit 451, how does the government use propaganda to manipulate the opinions of...

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hienboi | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:45 AM via web

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In Fahrenheit 451, how does the government use propaganda to manipulate the opinions of the people?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:42 PM (Answer #1)

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One good example of the propaganda techniques used in Fahrenheit 451 comes when Montag is pursued by the government for killing Chief Beatty. When he successfully escapes the city, the government uses the media and the television, which has programmed civilians to have short attention spans and no curiosity, to show Montag being killed even though he is long gone:

"They're faking. You threw them off at the river. They can't admit it. They know they can hold their audience only so long. The show's got to have a snap ending, quick... So they're sniffing for a scape-goat to end things with a bang."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

Here, the possibility of Montag as a revolutionary figure is dangerous, so it is vital to remove him from the public perception as fast as possible. By showing a fictionalized, controlled chase on TV (much like the scripted "reality" TV of today) the government is able to show their efficiency and power in destroying seditious behavior. TV is used to both control the population, and to spread government-approved "truth," regardless of the actual events.

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