Propaganda, an influential book written by Edward L. Bernays in 1928, incorporated the literature from social science and psychological manipulation into an examination of the techniques of public communication. Bernays wrote the book in response to the success of some of his earlier works such as Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and A Public Relations Counsel (1927). Propaganda explored the psychology behind manipulating masses and the ability to use symbolic action and propaganda to influence politics, effect social change, and lobby for gender and racial equality. Walter Lippman was Bernays' unacknowledged American mentor and his work The Phantom Public greatly influenced the ideas expressed in Propaganda a year later. The work propelled Bernays into media historians' view of him as the \"father of public relations.\"
Chapters one through six address the complex relationship between human psychology, democracy, and corporations. Bernays' thesis is that \"invisible\" people who create knowledge and propaganda rule over the masses, with a monopoly on the power to shape thoughts, values, and citizen response. \"Engineering consent\" of the masses would be vital for the survival of democracy. Bernays explains:
\"A single factory, potentially capable of supplying a whole continent with its particular product, cannot afford to wait until the public asks for its product; it must maintain constant touch, through advertising and propaganda, with the vast public in order to assure itself the continuous demand which alone will make its costly plant profitable.\"
Bernays places great importance on the ability of a propaganda producer, as he views himself, to unlock the motives behind an individual's desires, not simply the reason an individual might offer. He argues, \"Man's thoughts and actions are compensatory substitutes for desires which he has been obliged to suppress.\" Bernays suggests that propaganda may become increasingly effective and influential through the discovery of audiences' hidden motives. He asserts that the emotional response inherently present in propaganda limits the audience's choices by creating a binary mentality, which can result in quicker, more enthused responses. The final five chapters largely reiterate the concepts voiced earlier in the book and provide case studies for how to use propaganda to effectively advance women's rights, education, and social services.
Despite the relative significance of Propaganda to twentieth century media history and modern public relations, surprisingly little critique of the work exists. Public relations scholar Curt Olsen argues that the public largely accepted Bernays' \"sunny\" view of propaganda, an acceptance eroded by fascism in the World War II era. Olsen also argues that Bernays's skill with language allowed terms such as \"education\" to subtly replace darker concepts such as \"indoctrination.\" Finally, Olsen criticizes Bernays for advocating \"psychic ease\" for the average person to have no burden to answer for his or her own actions in the face of powerful messages. On the other hand, writers such as Marvin Olasky justify Bernays as killing democracy in order to save it. In this way, the presence of an elite, faceless persuasion constituted the only plausible way to prevent authoritarian control.
After fighting ended, Bernays was part of a sixteen-person publicity group working for the CPI at the Paris Peace Conference. A scandal arose from his reference to propaganda in a press release. As reported by the New York World, the \"announced object of the expedition is 'to interpret the work of the Peace Conference by keeping up a worldwide propaganda to disseminate American accomplishments and ideals.'\"
Bernays pioneered the public relations industry's use of mass psychology and other social sciences to design its public persuasion campaigns: \"If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.\" He later called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the engineering of consent.
Bernays touted the idea that the \"masses\" are driven by factors outside their conscious understanding, and therefore that their minds can and should be manipulated by the capable few. \"Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.\"
In the 1930s, his critics became more harsh. As the leading figure in public relations and a notorious advocate of \"propaganda\", Bernays was compared to European fascists such as Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler. (Bernays wrote in his 1965 autobiography that Goebbels read and used his books.)
While opinions ranged negative to positive, there was widespread agreement that propaganda had a powerful effect on the public mind. According to John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, in a published review of Larry Tye's biography of Bernays:
Karl von Wiegand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Wiegand his propaganda library, the best Wiegand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Wiegand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. ...Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.
Propaganda is the voice of the people in the democracy of today because it gives everyone an opportunity to present his point of view. Fascist or Communist societies have no alternate propagandas; they must accept the official propagandas of those in power. [...]
From one of the greatest French philosophers of the 20th century comes a seminal study and critique of propaganda. Taking not only a psychological approach but a sociological approach as well, Jacques Ellul outlines the taxonomy for propaganda and, ultimately, its destructive nature towards democracy. Drawing from his own experiences fighting for the French resistance against the Vichy regime, Ellul offers a unique insight into the propaganda machine.
The Real Anthony Fauci details how Fauci, Gates, and their cohorts use their control of media outlets, scientific journals, key government and quasi-governmental agencies, global intelligence agencies, and influential scientists and physicians to flood the public with fearful propaganda about COVID-19 virulence and pathogenesis, and to muzzle debate and ruthlessly censor dissent.
A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed the \"engineering of consent\". During World War I, he was an integral part of the US Committee on Public Information, or CPI, a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise, and sell the war to the American people as one that would \"Make the World Safe for Democracy\". The CPI became the blueprint for the marketing strategies of future wars.
Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell, Propaganda, lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science, and education. To listen to this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regard to the organized manipulation of the masses.
Propaganda, an influential book written by Edward L. Bernays in 1928, incorporated the literature from social science and psychological manipulation into an examination of the techniques of public communication. Propaganda explored the psychology behind manipulating masses and the ability to use symbolic action and propaganda to influence politics, effect social change, and lobby for gender and racial equality.
Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, as well as his uncle, Sigmund Freud, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.
Edward Bernays (1891-1995) was an Austrian American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda and was referred to in his obituary as \"the father of public relations.\" He combined the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud. He was named one of the hundred most influential Americans of the twentieth century by Life magazine. 59ce067264