Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Edward Bernays

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Edward Bernays

Edward Louis Bernays
Was an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda  along with Ivy Lee, referred to in his obituary  as "the father of public relations".He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct'.

  •  One of Bernays' favorite techniques for manipulating public opinion was the indirect use of "third party authorities" to plead his clients' causes. "If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway", he said 


Abstracts of books, articles and 
talks by Mr. Bernays deal with 
the public relations problems of 
industry, education, the social 
sciences, labor, government
  • The objective for Bernays was to provide government and media outlets with powerful tools for social persuasion and control.
"Bernays and journalistic giant Walter Lippman came to Woodrow Wilson’s aid in 1917 to reverse negative public sentiment about war. These two behind-the-curtain wizards were indispensable in helping the president whip gun-shy America into an anti-German frenzy to go “over there” for WWI. Bernays created the patriotic war slogan “Make the World Safe for Democracy”—an irresistibly patriotic mantra that America embraced..."                           
Applying this to public utilities, since 
government represents the people, the only modification of government attitudes and activities must be 
through modifying the people's attitudes through 
the engineering of consent. 

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.




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