Video Description (from Youtube)
Darrin McBreen reports on the Father of Propaganda: Edward Bernays.
Shared on: 09 Aug 2019
In Propaganda (1928), Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy:
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. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
In the 1920s, working for the American Tobacco Company, he sent a group of young models to march in the New York City parade. He then told the press that a group of women's rights marchers would light "Torches of Freedom". On his signal, the models lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. The New York Times (1 April 1929) printed: "Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of 'Freedom'". This helped to break the taboo against women smoking in public.
Bernays helped the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) and other special interest groups to convince the American public that water fluoridation was safe and beneficial to human health. This was achieved by using the American Dental Association in a highly successful media campaign.
Edward Bernays has been cited as the inventor of the consumerist culture that was designed primarily to target people's self-image (or lack thereof) in order to turn a want into a need. This was initially envisioned for products such as cigarettes, for example. However, Bernays also noted in his 1928 book, Propaganda, that propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government. This can be seen most clearly in the modern police state and the growing citizen snitch culture, wrapped up in the pseudo-patriotic War on Terror. The increasing consolidation of media has enabled the entire corporate structure to merge with government, which now utilizes the concept of propaganda placement. Media; print, movies, television, and cable news can now work seamlessly to integrate an overall message which seems to have the ring of truth because it comes from so many sources, simultaneously. When one becomes attuned to identifying the main message, one will see this imprinting everywhere.
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