Read Edward Bernays’ reading (Chapters 1-4, 6, pp. 9-61, 92-114)
Answer the following questions for 400 words, then choose 2 posts and reply (mark their name at the beginning of the reply paragraph)
For Wednesday, February 3rd, we will turn to another media studies pioneer and Lippmann’s devoted follower and fellow member of the Committee on Public Information, Edward Bernays. Bernays is known as the “father of public relations,” suggesting that, in contrast to Lippmann, Bernays was far more sanguine about the value of propaganda for achieving government and corporate goals. Where Lippmann anxiously despaired of the public’s ability to grasp issues of importance, Bernays saw a business opportunity.
That Bernays was the nephew of none other than Sigmund Freud of course adds to his reputation as a master manipulator and “engineer of consent.” Even Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was a big fan of Bernays, despite Bernays’s Jewish faith. And yet what Bernays so closely resembles more than anything else is Donald Draper: an extraordinarily adept ad man capable of crafting messages that don’t simply sell policies or products, but that sell entirely new ways of seeing the world such that the policy or product in question seems the only reasonable solution. For Bernays, propaganda is simply effective, rational advertising.
In Propaganda, we get the apparently straight talk about how to manipulate the public, ostensibly for its own benefit. Bernays is, in effect, propagandizing his own incredible ability to produce propaganda, but in a self-effacing manner that evokes the cool, detached, scientific observer, not the zealous, overhyping huckster. Propaganda is as much a tour de force as Public Opinion, but this book is intended for corporate and political leaders looking to manage their image. The science of propaganda, Bernays suggests, is the only real way to manufacture the consent of the governed, the only real way for the gods of industry to “organize chaos.”
As you read Propaganda, then, please consider the following questions: