I don't know about it being a bad word but it's certainly anathema to the pursuit of knowledge, no matter how well-intentioned it is.
When the Catholic Church invented the word it meant spreading what the Church insisted officially was the truth. It is only the more recent and frequent association of the word with Nazi's and Communist (as in "agitprop") that it became associated with false information and inaccurate opinions - and that is why one current dictionary says information "especially of a biased or misleading nature."
As an "anathema to the pursuit of knowledge," well, the person intentionally deceiving may well be pursuing knowledge, even if it is only to "cherry pick" facts.
Are we really supposed to lend credence to Edward Pollard's explanation of slavery as a great blessing
Look at the quote that was in my signature line when you responded. A very bright and pithy fellow encapsulated the development of "propaganda" applying it to socialists, but it applies to slave owners as well. That said, Pollard was exaggerating, but it would also be an exaggeration to say that slavery offered zero benefit to the slave. There was surely no warm and welcoming world awaiting a slave just handed walking papers. In addition to the dangers of the natural world, "enlightened"" Massachusetts who freed the slaves with the first sentence of its 1781 Constitution had a 1787 law providing for the flogging of black immigrants. Jim Downs' "Sick of Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction" chronicles, among other things, the humanitarian disaster that followed the Emancipation Proclamation.
And just as there is a body of pro-slavery "propaganda," there is body of anti-southern "propaganda."