Fighting Disinformation in the 1930s: Clyde Miller and the Institute for Propaganda Analysis

Anya Schiffrin


In the late 1930s, the American journalist Clyde Miller founded the Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA) to promote media literacy education. Influential in its day, studying the IPA illuminates debates about the field of communications, the importance of messaging and public opinion, and the politics behind the focus on propaganda. We provide an overview of Miller’s life and examine the IPA’s efforts including publications, community programs, and an anti-racism curriculum, all meant to improve critical thinking skills in individuals and help democracy. We highlight the parallels between the political and media environments of the 1930s and the current proliferation of online mis/disinformation, and bring to light archival material about his dismissal from Columbia University.


misinformation, Clyde Miller, Institute for Propaganda Analysis, propaganda, media literacy, anti-racism, disinformation

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