His name was Edward L. Bernays. He was Sigmund Freud’s Nephew. He was born in Vienna on November 22, 1891 and died in his home at Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 9, 1995 at the age of 103.
Before the early twentieth century, marketers thought of people as being rational beings. They figured all they had to do was reason with the public logically if they wanted to sell their product. Freud’s theories pointed out that everyone also possessed an unconscious mind filled with instincts and hidden emotions as sex, security, aggression, and survival. This unconscious mind greatly influences how people as a whole behave.
Edward Bernays was raised in the United States. He spent a lot of the summers of his youth vacationing in Austria and getting to know firsthand some of his famous uncle’s theories. He used what he learned to formulate the most useful corporate alien theory on the planet. This theory is called “Public Relations” by some, and “Spin” by others. You and I have been influenced by spin for decades if we’ve lived in any so called “civilized” nation of the world.
Some of Bernays’ campaigns actually changed the behavior of most Americans. In the mid twenties, a company called Beechnut Packing wanted to improve its sales of bacon. Bernays, instead of creating a campaign to put the bacon on sale created a new and unheard of use for the product. He asked the medical community if it was better for people to have a hardy breakfast or a light breakfast. Doctors agreed that a hearty breakfast was better. The breakfast of that period consisted of toast, coffee, and juice. Bernays added bacon and eggs to this breakfast. He started a marketing campaign that touted the medical benefits of a hearty breakfast that included bacon and eggs. To this day, an “all American” breakfast includes bacon and eggs.
Another of his campaigns was for the American Tobacco Company. By the mid twenties, smoking was prevalent in the United States and cigarettes were the most popular form of tobacco. Women, however, were not allowed to smoke in public. In 1928 the American Tobacco Company hired Bernays to try and change this. He consulted with a psychoanalyst A.A. Brill, who suggested that what women really want was the freedom to do the same things men do. So during New York’s 1929 Easter Parade, Bernays hired debutantes to march in the parade pretending to be suffragettes. On his signal, these women all lit up a cigarette. He had photographers standing by to mark the event and referred to cigarettes as being “torches of freedom.” It appeared that anyone against women smoking was against women’s liberation as well. Bernays saw to it that this event was publicized throughout the world. Smoking by women everywhere quickly skyrocketed when they began to associate cigarettes with freedom.
Here is how Bernays felt about Public Relations and 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.
Democracies are not the only forms of government that use spin. Doctor Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, kept copies of Bernays’ books in his extensive “mind control” library. Bernays never had Hitler as a client, but some techniques from his books were used in the Nazi campaign against the Jews.
During his later years Bernays saw how Public Relations was currently being misused. On his hundredth birthday in 1991 he said: “Public relations today is horrible. Any dope, any nitwit, any idiot can call him or herself a public relations practitioner.” He really wanted the science of Public Relations to be used for the good of mankind.
In order to use the science of Spin, one needs to enough money to wage a successful campaign and media approval. Today, there are only six or seven media corporations that control the majority of the news and entertainment the public sees. Governments have enough power to approve or deny what the public sees. The media only spins government policies that are considered “patriotic” and “politically correct.” Big corporations, because of massive wealth, buy the needed spin for their products to stand out. Corporate alien leaders thus determine what is good for the people.
During the Viet-Nam war the American people were constantly being told through the media that if the communists won in Viet-Nam, democracy would be lost. The communists won and nothing happened. There were over 58,000 Americans killed, 303,000 wounded and over 3,800,000 Vietnamese lost their lives. Many Americans still believe the media spin and think the war was necessary.
The current Iraqi war has the government again launching a Public Relations campaign. Now the word “terrorism” is constantly being spun in the media as a threat to “freedom.” According to the media, terrorists seem to be everywhere. Opposing this war could get you labeled as a traitor. You may get called a “conspiracy theorist” if you question the government’s explanation of the events leading to this war.
Elections are handled exclusively by the media. The candidate that invests the largest amount of money or wages the best Public Relations campaign wins. How qualified is the candidate? No one knows. The government can save a lot of election expenses by just appointing Paris Hilton as president and Jay Leno as vice-president. This result would be equivalent to that of the actual elected candidates in the next election. The people are controlled by spin initiated by powerful corporate aliens controlling the media. Spin requires a candidate to always look good, but ignores the candidate’s actual ability to do his or her job efficiently. No candidate, however qualified, can win without a lot of money to buy spin campaigns. Candidates are just faces and personalities that distract the masses and really may have very little of the skills needed to run the government. There seems to be an “invisible government” as Bernays said that is the true ruling power.
In order to have a true election, media must be left out of the election process. I believe that this is possible, but will not occur anytime soon for obvious reasons. Logic, not unconscious impulse must guide our choices.
Not all people succumb to spin. The more a person thinks as an individual, the less likely his or her ideas are affected by media campaigns. This is why, while most people today believe, because of the media, that there’s a terrorist lurking around every corner, some still question this premise. Being aware of how your unconscious mind can influence your thoughts can get you to investigate more of what the media tells you before reaching a conclusion.
The recent film “Thank You for Smoking”, now on DVD, is an insightful and entertaining feature covering the subject of spin. A book that covers more of Bernays campaigns and Public Relations in general is “The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & the Birth of Public Relations” by Larry Tye.