Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Edward Bernays: Propaganda

The manipulation of American society is well-developed psychological art backed by decades of science. The innate tendency of humans to follow scripted and reinforced narratives was identified, studied and applied by Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud.

An early example of his work was the popularization of smoking among women.

Bernays hired women to march while smoking their “torches of freedom” in the Easter Sunday Parade of 1929. Where it had once been considered a "trashy" thing for refined women of that era to do, it became a symbol of a spirited rebellion against the backdrop of early feminism, liberation and the suffrage movement.

Today, the psychological art of opinion manufacturing is a multi-billion dollar industry that is maintained by the American media and advertising agencies focused on directing public opinion towards the products and business interests of their clients.

The danger exists where Americans are awash in selective news reporting. Such reporting collectively limits what they believe is "the truth". Americans seek confirmation, and when they hear a unified, distorted perspective, it becomes "reality". News outside of this is reflexively understood to be "fringe".

Edward Bernays

Torches of Freedom (cigarettes)

Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923)

Propaganda (1928)

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media(2002, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky)

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