Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: A shift of Intent

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A shift of Intent

Chapter six of Stuart Ewen's, " Pr! A Social History of Spin" brings forth a ideas of the new age of public relations in the time of war. With WWI on the on the forefront, public relations agents shifted gears of how they viewed the purpose of publicity and how it they could use to it to affect the lives of the people. Ewen states:

" Now, in the crucible of war, contemplative humanistic ideals were giving way to a fateful brand of cynicism. People who had once believed in the ability to use "creative intelligence" to bring about a more humane social order were becoming dutiful technicians of mass persuasion, craven manipulators of consent." p126

Ewen's statement discusses how publicity moved from public relations experts making their audiences socially conscious into making them those who can be easily manipulated to anything. Unlike the progressive's of their time, who were often the investigative journalists these men chose to use the gift of public relations to turn the public into clay that could be easily modeled in their hands. The intentions of the men would slowly begin to shift into what public relations have become today.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post and a good choice of quotation. The idealism of the progressive publicist becomes the cynical manipulation of public opinion according to Ewen. Of course, these are generalizations: Not all progressive reformers were pure idealists and not all PR people are cynical manipulators. Is this an over-simplification? Or is Ewen essentially correct?

3/11/2009 10:20 PM  

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