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Edward L. Bernays quotes Showing 1-30 of 78

“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. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
Edward Bernays, Propaganda
“Men (people) are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“The great enemy of any attempt to change men's habits is inertia. Civilization is limited by intertia.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“The public is not cognizant of the real value of education, and does not realize that education as a social force is not receiving the kind of attention it has the right to expect in a democracy.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
Edward Bernays
“It is asked whether, in fact, the leader makes propaganda, or whether propaganda makes the leader. There is a widespread impression that a good press agent can puff up a nobody into a great man.
The answer is the same as that made to the old query as to whether the newspaper makes public opinion or whether public opinion makes the newspaper. There has to be fertile ground for the leader and the idea to fall on. But the leader also has to have some vital seed to sow. To use another figure, a mutual need has to exist before either can become positively effective. Propaganda is of no use to the politician unless he has something to say which the public, consciously or unconsciously, wants to hear.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.”
Edward Bernays
“But being dependent, every day of the year and for year after year, upon certain politicians for news, the newspaper reporters are obliged to work in harmony with their news sources.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“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.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Whatever of social importance is done today, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“The great enemy of any attempt to change men’s habits is inertia. Civilization is limited by inertia.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“The history of the industrial revolution
shows how that power passed from the king and the
aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. Universal suffrage
and universal schooling reinforced this tendency, and
at last even the bourgeoisie stood in fear of the com-
mon people. For the masses promised to become
king.”
edward bernays
“The only propaganda which will ever tend to weaken itself as the world becomes more sophisticated and intelligent, is propaganda that is untrue or unsocial.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Propaganda mainly tells us that Bernays’s true métier was to help giant players with their various sales and image problems.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“The three main elements of public relations are practically as old as society: informing people, persuading people, or integrating people with people. Of course, the means and methods of accomplishing these ends have changed as society has change.

-Public Relations (1952)”
Edward Bernays
“Bernays’s tone is managerial, not millenarian, nor does he promise that his methodology will turn this world into a modern paradise. His vision seems quite modest. The world informed by “public relations” will be but “a smoothly functioning society,” where all of us are guided imperceptibly throughout our lives by a benign elite of rational manipulators.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Truth is mighty and must prevail, and if any body of men believe that they have discovered a valuable truth, it is not merely their privilege but their duty to disseminate that truth. If they realize, as they quickly must, that this spreading of truth can be done upon a large scale and effectively only by organized effort, they will make use of the press and the platform as the best means to give it wide circulation. Propaganda becomes vicious and reprehensive only when its authors consciously and deliberately disseminate what they know to be lies, or when they aim at effects which they know to be prejudicial to the common good.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Big business will still leave room for small business.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Here was an extraordinary state accomplishment: mass enthusiasm at the prospect of a global brawl that otherwise would mystify those very masses, and that shattered most of those who actually took part in it. The Anglo-American drive to demonize “the Hun,” and to cast the war as a transcendent clash between Atlantic “civilization” and Prussian “barbarism,” made so powerful an impression on so many that the worlds of government and business were forever changed.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Now “public opinion” stood out as a force that must be managed, and not through clever guesswork but by experts trained to do that all-important job.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“The great Allied campaign to celebrate (or sell) Democracy, etc., was a venture so successful, and, it seemed, so noble, that it suddenly legitimized such propagandists, who, once the war had ended, went right to work massaging or exciting various publics on behalf of entities like General Motors, Procter & Gamble, John D. Rockefeller, General Electric.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Bernays sold the myth of propaganda as a wholly rational endeavor, carried out methodically by careful experts skilled enough to lead “public opinion.” Consistently he casts himself as a supreme manipulator, mastering the responses of a pliable, receptive population. “Conscious and intelligent manipulation,” “invisible governors,” “they who pull the wires which control the public mind,” “shrewd persons operating behind the scenes,” “dictators exercising great power,” and, below them, people working “as if actuated by the touch of a button”—these are but a few expressions of the icy scientistic paradigm that evidently drove his propaganda practice, and that colored all his thinking on the subject. The propagandist rules. The propagandized do whatever he would have them do, exactly as he tells them to, and without knowing it.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“propaganda tended not to be the damning term we throw around today. The word had been coined in 1622, when Pope Gregory XV, frightened by the global spread of Protestantism, urgently proposed an addition to the Roman curia. The Office for the Propagation of the Faith (Congregatio de propaganda fide) would supervise the Church’s missionary efforts in the New World and elsewhere: “They are to take account of and to deal with each and every concern for the spread of the faith throughout the world.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
“Continuous interpretation is achieved by trying to control every approach to the public mind in such a manner that the public receives the desired impression, often without being conscious of it. High-spotting, on the other hand, vividly seizes the attention of the public and fixes it upon some detail or aspect which is typical of the entire enterprise.”
Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda

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