Friday, February 26, 1999


Is it propaganda or persuasion? This is a very good question since most of us are bombarded every day by mass media in saving our planet from destruction. 'Think green' is the slogan that everyone should have imprinted on our minds while we do our day-to-day activities. There are a sea of possibilities what one can do to contribute; however, should it not give an individual the freedom of choice how he/she may want to participate. The article “Is The Light Bulb Ban A Bright Idea?” will be examined in order to determine what angle the story and its images leans toward, propaganda or persuasion or both. I felt it is a story worth mentioning.

In order to determine the angle of the story, first the definition between propaganda and persuasion must be made. Propaganda accordingly from our text, media uses one-sided and often 'nonfactual information' (opinions) as facts, combined with emotional appeals to change a person's mind or desired behavior. Persuasion uses 'factual information' and emotional appeals to change and promote a attitude change along with desired behavior. In both, the stirring of emotion creates 'interest' on the subject. To impress on an individual’s mind to change, accordingly to 1922 journalist and media critic, Walter Lippmann,” Pictures have always been the surest way of conveying an idea. . .next. . .with words. . .”. In this case images along with words are use to make a lasting impression on a person. (Lester, P.M. , pg.77-80, 2012)

The title of the story “Is The Light Bulb Ban A Bright Idea” done by Popular Mechanics first intrigues the reader because it shines light on another governmental intrusion in what the public can or cannot purchase. Secondly, bold print in the first paragraph synopses how on January 1, 2012, new laws would effectively ban 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, while phasing out 40-75 watt light bulbs up-coming years, which I fact-checked. In the same bold print, it reveals Popular Mechanics investigation in the “years-long” effort building a better light bulb. Lastly, the first image in the story portrays a broken incandescent bulb revealing more interest to the reader. Is the story stirring emotions yet? You bet it is especially in which side of the isle you are standing in. The story main captive audience would be adult men and some women consumer, especially those who are attractive to Popular Mechanics, those in technology and those who run the house whole. (PopularMechanics, 2011) (, 2011)

The article updates the reader in the second paragraph with the “year-end spending bill passed in December 2011 which includes a rider that effectively puts new energy requirements for light bulbs on hold.” at least temporary. I fact-checked this with the government website and Washington Times website. The persuasive angle of the article continues to debate, tweaked with other lighting images of different bulbs, political rhetoric with technology in regards of modern lighting with data supporting their story on the pros and cons of various types of bulbs with experts and advocates on both sides. (PopularMechanics, 2011)( (thomas, 2011) (washingtontimes, 2011)

Using Aristotle three components for persuasion: ethos, logos, and pathos; this reader thought this article had more of the flavor for persuasion than propaganda. The article's author John Herrman, an assumed freelancer back by Popular Mechanics along with electrical department manager, Paul Brewer, Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center, and Nicholis Loris of the Heritage Foundation were all sources used as credible ethos. Logical pros and cons on different light bulbs, light bulb images, data and scenarios were presented in the article that was backed up by scientific data and facts acted as logos. (Lester, P.M. , pg.78, 2012)(popularmechanics, 2011)

As mentioned earlier in the paper, the article did conjure emotion in its title, the broken incandescent bulb image with shattered glass fragments occurring on impact and arousing the reader's initial thought having the incandescent bulb being banned. Testimonials from store managers and owners and tests performed by Popular Mechanics all delivered meat to emotional appeal or pathos that are used in persuasion. In this case, this article could be leaning toward the side of green energy in a positive non-judgmental way. (Lester, P.M. , pg.78, 2012)(popularmechanics, 2011)

Did I in any way feel there was propaganda filtrating this article, my answer would be no for reasons stated for persuasion, information was factual. Did the article portray that if and when the banned on incandescent bulbs does occur, it would be the end of the world? I can easily say no. I did not feel I was being duped by the article but instead as a consumer, better informed for future decisions in light bulb purchasing. Regardless of political view, one has to believe sooner or later science and technology will be changing our world as we now see it, into one better world where it does not affect our out-of pocket expense so much. (popularmechanics, 2011) (Lester, P.M., pg.79-80, 2012)


Lester, P.M. (2011) Chapter 4 - Visual Persuasion

(pg. 77), Visual communication, images with messages, 5th edition, Wadsworth Cengage, printed in United States.

Lester, P.M. (2011) Chapter 4 - Visual Persuasion

(pp. 77-80), Visual communication, images with messages, 5th edition, Wadsworth Cengage, printed in United States

Dinan, S. (2011, December 16) Congress overturns incandescent light bulb ban

Received April 26, 2012 from WashingtonTimes website

Anonymous (2012) Bill Text 112th Congress (2011-2012) H.R.2417.IH

Received April 26, 2012 from LOC website

Herrman, J. (2011, September 20) Is The Light Bulb Ban A Bright Idea?

Received April 26, 2012 from Popularmechanics website


Green, H. (2012) As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements

Will Cost $50 Each

Received April 26, 2012 from LOC website

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