Edward Bernays is one of the greatest propagandists of the 20th century, and while reading his book Propaganda it is made blatantly apparent. This Austrian-American pioneer was claimed to be the “father of public relations” in his New York Times obituary in March of 1995. He climbed the ranks of the field to become one of the founding fathers of public relations and what we are studying today in class. Thanks to all of his previous work, publications, and involvement in the advertising world he has established a great amount of credit, which makes the book an invaluable resources for Americans.
Bernays, an agricultural graduate from Cornell, wasn’t educated in journalism or public relations but would eventually become extremely diverse in the subject and one of the most knowledgeable. He gained first had experience working on many different propaganda campaigns, starting with the Woodrow Wilson administration. During his time with the Wilson administration and the U.S. committee on public information his interest in propaganda was sparked and according to his daughter then coined the phrase “public relations”. His previous involvement with such a prominent administration aided his credibility and supports his many publications and campaigns. He was further involved in different campaigns such as the woman’s smoking campaign throughout the 1920’s; all of which give him first hand experience and credibility when discussing topics of propaganda and public relations. He has written a total of five books ranging form topics on public relations and consent to propaganda.
The publication Propaganda is a book he wrote to inform the public of propaganda, almost as a manual into the influential topic. He seeks to inform the public of the impact of propaganda and aid them in understanding how it operates, which is crucial to understanding and conceiving unbiased or uninfluenced views in this day and age. He discusses many topics within the book and uses outside sources such as H.G. Wells from the New York Times in the first chapter which when writing an non-fiction publication is important, and according to Kovach and Rosenstiel in is essential when writing to add verification and authenticity. He also supplies many examples, although they may be hypothetical, they help the reader understand what he’s explaining but by giving actual, not hypothetical examples he would have produced a more relatable, reliable book.
There was little response and critique of the work, most likely due to the fact that Bernays himself is the founding father of the topic. Thanks to Bernays established history, the well-written propaganda manual became a very popular book in the 20th century media history. The average readers response and reviews claim it to be an important invaluable resource for Americans.
Overall, Bernays history in the field of propaganda, first hand experience, research and dedication to the field create a substantial form of support for Propaganda. This monumental book will continue to influence and inform readers for many generations to come on how to understand, interpret, and perceive information from the propagandists.