Stuff to learn

Interest Groups

Political Activities Research

Special Interest Group: an organization composed of individuals who share one of more interests in common and who have formed an association for their purpose of advancing or protecting those interests. Interest groups are the backbone of the pluralist system. The idea of varying groups competing with one another for influence and access is built around interest groups.

Part I: TV Commercial
You will create a television/web commercial for a special interest group. A listing of special interest groups is attached. In addition, the University of Washington – Vancouver has an excellent listing of interest groups. There are of course other reputable sites and you are free to examine those as well.

The commercial must promote the group’s cause(s), be visually/aesthetically pleasing, effectively utilize propaganda techniques and “make the sale” – convince people to become involved. The project will be submitted on CD or USB and be able to run on media player. There are several programs that are available to help you complete your task, the most popular with students has been Movie Maker and Photo Story 3, but if you are familiar with other software use it.

□ Promotes the cause/Clearly identifies the group
□ Uses 3 or more propaganda techniques
□ Visually/aesthetically pleasing
□ 1:00 minute in duration
□ Fact Checked/Error Free
□ Cites sources for images and information


Part II: Resource Paper
You will research the special interest group that you used for the commercial and submit a resource paper that identifies the following:
□ Size/Membership
□ Group Cohesion and Intensity
□ Financial Resources and their Sources (
□ Goals
□ Tactics
You may copy and paste information but you must cite all sources. Use MLA style manual.


The Bill of Rights
Articles in addition to, and amendment of, the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress and ratified by the Legislatures of the Several States, pursuant to the Fifth Article of the original Constitution

Amendment I. (Article I)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Propaganda Techniques
Testimonial: Propagandists use this technique to associate a respected person or someone with experience to endorse a product or cause by giving it their stamp of approval hoping that the intended audience will follow their example. The Institute for Propaganda Analysis suggests we ask ourselves the following question when confronted with this technique. Who is quoted in the testimonial? Why should we regard this person as an expert or trust their testimony? Is there merit to the idea or product without the testimony? You can guard yourself against this technique by demonstrating that the person giving the testimonial is not a recognized authority, prove they have an agenda or vested interest, or show there is disagreement by other experts.

Transfer: Transfer is a technique used to carry over the authority and approval of something we respect and revere to something the propagandist would have us accept. Propagandists often employ symbols (e.g., waving the flag) to stir our emotions and win our approval. The Institute for Propaganda Analysis suggests we ask ourselves these questions when confronted with this technique. What is the speaker trying to pitch? What is the meaning of the thing the propagandist is trying to impart? Is there a legitimate connection between the suggestion made by the propagandist and the person or product? Is there merit in the proposal by itself? When confronted with this technique, question the merits of the idea or proposal independently of the convictions about other persons, ideas, or proposals.

Glittering Generalities: Propagandists employ vague, sweeping statements (often slogans or simple catchphrases) using language associated with values and beliefs deeply held by the audience without providing supporting information or reason. They appeal to such notions as honor, glory, love of country, desire for peace, freedom, and family values. The words and phrases are vague and suggest different things to different people but the implication is always favorable. It cannot be proved true or false because it really says little or nothing at all. The Institute of Propaganda Analysis suggests a number of questions we should ask ourselves if we are confronted with this technique: What do the slogans or phrases really mean? Is there a legitimate connection between the idea being discussed and the true meaning of the slogan or phrase being used? What are the merits of the idea itself if it is separated from the slogans or phrases?

Name Calling: Propagandists use this technique to create fear and arouse prejudice by using negative words (bad names) to create an unfavorable opinion or hatred against a group, beliefs, ideas or institutions they would have us denounce. This method calls for a conclusion without examining the evidence. Name Calling is used as a substitute for arguing the merits of an idea, belief, or proposal. It is often employed using sarcasm and ridicule in political cartoons and writing. When confronted with this technique the Institute for Propaganda Analysis suggests we ask ourselves the following questions: What does the name mean? Is there a real connection between the idea and the name being used? What are the merits of the idea if I leave the name out of consideration? When examining this technique, try to separate your feelings about the name and the actual idea or proposal (Propaganda Critic: Common Techniques 1).

Plain Folks: Propagandists use this approach to convince the audience that the spokesperson is from humble origins, someone they can trust and who has their interests at heart. Propagandists have the speaker use ordinary language and mannerisms to reach the audience and identify with their point of view. The Institute for Propaganda Analysis suggests we ask ourselves the following questions before deciding on any issue when confronted with this technique. Is the person credible and trustworthy when they are removed from the situation being discussed? Is the person trying to cover up anything? What are the facts of the situation? When confronted with this type of propaganda consider the ideas and proposals separately from the personality of the presenter.

Bandwagon: Propagandists use this technique to persuade the audience to follow the crowd. This device creates the impression of widespread support. It reinforces the human desire to be on the winning side. It also plays on feelings of loneliness and isolation. Propagandists use this technique to convince people not already on the bandwagon to join in a mass movement while simultaneously reassuring that those on or partially on should stay aboard. Bandwagon propaganda has taken on a new twist. Propagandists are now trying to convince the target audience that if they don’t join in they will be left out. The implication is that if you don’t jump on the bandwagon the parade will pass you by. While this is contrary to the other method, it has the same effect: getting the audience to join in with the crowd. The Institute of Propaganda Analysis suggests we ask ourselves the following questions when confronted with this technique. What is the propagandist’s program? What is the evidence for and against the program? Even though others are supporting it, why should I? As with most propaganda techniques, getting more information is the best defense. When confronted with Bandwagon propaganda, consider the pros and cons before joining in.

Card Stacking: Propagandist uses this technique to make the best case possible for his side and the worst for the opposing viewpoint by carefully using only those facts that support his or her side of the argument while attempting to lead the audience into accepting the facts as a conclusion. In other words, the propagandist stacks the cards against the truth. Card stacking is the most difficult technique to detect because it does not provide all of the information necessary for the audience to make an informed decision. The audience must decide what is missing. The Institute for Propaganda Analysis suggests we ask ourselves the following question when confronted with this technique: Are facts being distorted or omitted? What other arguments exist to support these assertions? As with any other propaganda technique, the best defense against Card Stacking is to get as much information that is possible before making a decision.



Interest Groups


Google News

Special Interest Groups
Citizens Flag Alliance: The Citizens Flag Alliance, Inc., is a coalition of organizations, most of which are national in scope, that have come together for one reason: to persuade the Congress of the United States to propose a constitutional amendment to protect the Flag of the United States from acts of physical desecration and send it to the states for ratification.”

Alliance for the Separation of School and State:
Our goal is the end of federal, state, and local involvement with schooling. We believe government has no role in financing, operating, or defining schooling, or even compelling attendance.”

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: As the largest national, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center are dedicated to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in their communities. The Brady Campaign and the Brady Center believe that a safer America can be achieved without banning all guns. The Brady Campaign works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies through grassroots activism, electing pro-gun control public officials and increasing public awareness of gun violence.”

National Rifle Association
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

National Right to Life “The ultimate goal of the National Right to Life Committee is to restore legal protection to innocent human life. The primary interest of the National Right to Life Committee and its members has been the abortion controversy; however, it is also concerned with related matters of medical ethics which relate to the right to life issues of euthanasia and infanticide. The Committee does not have a position on issues such as contraception, sex education, capital punishment, and national defense.”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. “…The mission of Planned Parenthood is to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual; to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services; to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality; to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications.”

Center for Democracy and Technology “The Center for Democracy and Technology works to promote democratic values and constitutional liberties in the digital age. With expertise in law, technology, and policy, CDT seeks practical solutions to enhance free expression and privacy in global communications technologies. CDT is dedicated to building consensus among all parties interested in the future of the Internet and other new communications media.”

American Family Association
“The American Family Association represents and stands for traditional family values, focusing primarily on the influence of television and other media – including pornography – on our society.”

Council for a Livable World
“The Council for a Livable World is among the nation’s preeminent arms control organizations and focuses on halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction, opposing a national missile defense system, cutting Pentagon waste and reducing excessive arms exports. The Council is also a political lobby which endorses political candidates.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars
“The VFW, with its Auxiliaries, includes 2.6 million members in approximately 9,000 Posts worldwide. Our accomplishments are many, including lobbying for a GI bill for the 20th century; donating more than $1 million each to the Vietnam, Korean, Women in the Service and World War II memorials; fighting for compensation to veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome; and improving VA medical centers services for women veterans…”

Americans for Fair Taxation
“…Simply put, the FairTax replaces the way we’re currently taxed – based on our annual income – with a tax on goods and services. The FairTax is a voluntary “consumption” tax: the more you buy, the more you pay in taxes, the less you buy, the less you pay in taxes.”

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
“MALDEF is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and promote the civil rights of the more than 40 million Latinos living in the United States. Making sure that there are no obstacles preventing this diverse community from realizing its dreams, MALDEF works to secure the rights of Latinos, primarily in the areas of employment, education, immigrants’ rights, political access and public resource equity.”

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
“The primary focus of the NAACP continues to be the protection and enhancement of the civil rights of African Americans and other minorities.”

U.S. Border Control
“U.S. Border Control is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizens lobby, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Border Control is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation’s borders and reforming our border and immigration policies.”

Federation for American Immigration Reform
“The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, non-profit, public interest membership organization of concerned citizens united by their belief in the need for immigration reform. Founded in 1979, FAIR believes that the U.S. can and must have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory and designed to serve the environmental, economic, and social needs of our country.”

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
“ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation’s largest community organization of low and moderate-income families… Our priorities include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools.”

Eagle Forum
“Eagle Forum’s Mission is to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public policy making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (USA)
“Founded in 1980, PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving
“We are determined to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime, and prevent underage drinking.”

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
“NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.”

Friends of Tobacco
“Friends of Tobacco is a grass-roots organization dedicated to preserving an essential part of America’s history and future. We believe that when any of our freedoms are taken away, all of our freedoms are at risk. Some people want that. Some people want to tell us that we can not enjoy ourselves after dinner, at work, in our cars, or in the privacy of our own home. If these people did not exist, we would not need to.”

Drug Watch International
“The illegal or harmful use of psychoactive or addictive drugs is a major threat to all world communities and to future generations. Drug Watch International is a network of prevention experts and community volunteers from a wide range of professions whose mission is to help assure a healthier and safer world through drug prevention efforts by: providing accurate information on both illicit and harmful psychoactive substances; promoting sound drug policies based on scientific research; and opposing efforts to legalize or decriminalize drugs.”

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is fighting to free America’s youth from tobacco and to create a healthier environment. The Campaign is one of the nation’s largest non-governmental initiatives ever launched to protect children from tobacco addiction and exposure to secondhand smoke.”

American Association for Retired Persons
“AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over. AARP is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service. AARP also provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members.”

American Farm Bureau Federation
“Our Mission: To implement policies that are developed by members and provide programs that will improve the financial well-being and quality of life for farmers and ranchers.”

American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
“The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families—to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.”

Common Cause
“Common Cause is a non-partisan citizens’ organization whose goal is to ensure open, honest, accountable and effective government at the federal, state, and local levels.”

Categories: Government