The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society… Edward Bernays


YES! that is exactly as evil as it sounds. Just as Americans have a deep-seated ambivalence – or at least the ability to equivocate – about advertising with no less a conservative than Calvin Coolidge telling us, Advertising ministers to the spiritual side of trade. It is great power that has been entrusted to your keeping which charges you with the high responsibility of inspiring and ennobling the commercial world. It is all part of the greater work of the regeneration and redemption of mankind, while a more realistic Will Rogers would pronounce the simple truth, If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.

When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

While the commercial side of advertising presents its social hazards by stimulating people constantly to want things, want this, want that, it presents a far greater moral hazard because it treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments and when you mix the sacred with the profane you arrive at politics. While governing today means giving acceptable signs of credibility. It is like advertising and it is the same effect that is achieved – commitment to a scenario – and as David Ogilvy tells us,  political advertising ought to be stopped. It’s the only[sic] really dishonest kind of advertising that’s left. It’s totally dishonest – right, left or center the first victim of political advertising is always the TRUTH. Bernays did not discover that but he certainly practiced it and built practical scenarios that allowed political leaders to convert half-truths and outright lies into policy.

The father of spin : Edward L. Bernays & the birth of public relations  Larry Tye  New York : Crown Publishers, 1998  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xi, 306 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

The Father of Spin is the first full-length biography of the legendary Edward L. Bernays, who, beginning in the 1920s, was one of the first and most successful practitioners of the art of public relations.

This book tells of Bernays’s great campaigns, including: His precedent-setting work for the American Tobacco Company, climaxed by a parade of cigarette-smoking debutantes down Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday that recast smoking as an act of liberation for women, helped convince a generation of women to light up, and made headlines from coast to coast.

Miss Sarah Anderson, a Washington suffragist who advocates equal smoking rights for men and women in public places, snaped [sic] as she "puffed" a cigarette at the Chevy Chase Club, Washington's most exclusive country club

Miss Sarah Anderson, a Washington suffragist who advocates equal smoking rights for men and women in public places, snaped [sic] as she “puffed” a cigarette at the Chevy Chase Club, Washington’s most exclusive country club


He transformed the color green into an American favorite to blend in with the green of the Lucky Strike package, and he convinced weight-conscious women that a cigarette was just the thing to substitute for a sweet. And he did it all without anyone knowing his client was behind it.

He and his client the United Fruit Company helped engineer the overthrow of the socialist regime in Guatemala in the 1950s.

21-GUN SALUTE FIRED WELCOMES NICARAGUAN PRESIDENT TO CAPITAL. WASHINGTON, D.C. MAY 5 [1939]. PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND NICARAGUAN PRESIDENT, GEN. ANASTASIO SOMOZA, STAND AT ATTENTION AS A 21-GUN SALUTE IS FIRED ON THE ARRIVAL OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN EXECUTIVE IN THE CAPITAL. L TO R: MRS. ROOSEVELT; SENORA DE SOMOZA; PRESIDENT SOMOZA; PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT; BRIG. GEN. EDWIN M. WATSON, PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARY AND AIDE; AND STEPHEN EARLY, PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARY

21-GUN SALUTE FIRED WELCOMES NICARAGUAN PRESIDENT TO CAPITAL. WASHINGTON, D.C. MAY 5 [1939]. PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND NICARAGUAN PRESIDENT, GEN. ANASTASIO SOMOZA, STAND AT ATTENTION AS A 21-GUN SALUTE IS FIRED ON THE ARRIVAL OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN EXECUTIVE IN THE CAPITAL. L TO R: MRS. ROOSEVELT; SENORA DE SOMOZA; PRESIDENT SOMOZA; PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT; BRIG. GEN. EDWIN M. WATSON, PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARY AND AIDE; AND STEPHEN EARLY, PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARY


He borrowed ideas from his uncle Sigmund Freud to push people to buy products they didn’t need and to shape the way they perceived issues and the very way they believed.

And what Bernays did for tobacco and fruit peddlers, he also did for politicians.

In The Father of Spin, Boston Globe reporter Larry Tye, drawing on interviews with primary sources and voluminous private papers, presents a fascinating and revealing portrait of the man who, more than any other, defined and personified public relations, a profession that today helps shape our political discourse and define our commercial choices.

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