Are We Victims of Propaganda?

Exerpts from: Are We Victims of Propaganda? A Debate. Everett Dean Martin and Edward L. Bernays. Reprinted from The Forum Magazine, 1929 March.

I. Our Invisible Masters, by Everett Dean Martin. "...To the extent that present methods of propaganda operate to increase general knowledge and to keep open in public life an arena in which truth may have a fair deal in its endless contest with ignorance and falsehood, no reasonable mind could possibly object to it. I am convinced, however, that propaganda does not often serve these ends. It is not designed, even at its best, for such service, but for something quite the reverse. Its aim is to 'put something over' on people, with or without their knowledge and consent, and its result is to produce a social situation in which neither truth nor the basic values of civilization get a fair hearing...

"Who, then decides whether the ulterior end to which the public is to be led or driven, with or without its assent, is good? Decision in this all important matter is left to a few people -- the very ones who have something to gain by manipulating the public. Furthermore, the identity of these people is seldom disclosed and they are responsible to no one. Propaganda is making these irresponsible and unknown persons the real rulers in American democracy. Let me quote a few passages from Mr. Edward L. Bernays' charmingly written book in defense of propaganda: (Propaganda; Liveright, 1928.)

"What are the qualifications of these invisible governors? Who are they that they should command? In what virtue or wisdom are they eminent? If there is to be any stability or order in society, those who rule must at least be known and something must be required of them; otherwise their rule is pure impertinence. When before have the governing few been unknown and hence so irresponsible? When before have the rewards been so great for wrong doing, or the means so certain and easy for those who have the power? It is not enough for gentlemen to say, 'Oh, yes, we admit that propaganda is sometimes abused.' An enterprise so uncontrollable, so susceptible of abuse, and so constantly under the temptation to abuse, is a public menace...

"But I am concerned about the methods and ultimate effects of propaganda even at its best. One effect of propagandist methods is greatly to increase the susceptibility of the public to slogans, catchwords, and vulgarly stated half-truths. Every real educator and political philosopher in history has noted the danger of this popular tendency. Now the 'knowing ones' are urged to see this mob psychology, not as a social menace, but as a natural resource to be exploited for private gain. Mr. Bernays says:

"Precisely! The propagandist has learned to apply a wartime psychology to the accomplishment of any ends whatsoever! He proceeds by utilizing, for ulterior ends, the prejudices and passions and fixed ideas of the mob -- a new role, I assure you, for the 'intelligent few' in the history of civilization. Not even Machiavelli quite dared to propose such procedure. The intelligence of the community is thus told to abandon its historic role of keeping alive the values of civilization, and, by turning demagogue and sycophant, to pander ignorance in return for vulgar favors -- which means that prejudice and the well-known weaknesses of human nature are to be exploited and thus encouraged. Moreover, the regimentation of opinion so achieved (for a consideration) means standardization on a low level and greater conformity to herd opinion. This accounts, in part, for the astounding growth of intolerance in American democracy after the war. In this way also, fundamentalism, censorship, and other forms of organized crowd insanity have now become a serious menace to American liberty.

"It must be borne in mind that everything the propagandist does or says is for effect -- most commonly the effect on fools. The public wants not truth but a show? Very well, he will play the mountebank. The responsibility for the intellectual integrity of the intelligent few is now for the first time in history passed on to the public. In the future, as Mr. Bernays says, "If the public becomes more intelligent in its commercial demands, commercial firms will meet new standards." So with all propagandists. This is to say, as long as the public may be manipulated by misrepresentation and by appeal to ignorance and prejudice, it is the public's own fault if the 'knowing ones' make use of questionable methods. Why worry about being decent, so long as the opposite cause has public approval? Just now it is the rule to be 'low brow,' to come down to the level of the man in the street. In striving for mass action, intelligence exhausts itself in the methods of gaining the attention of the ignorant and stupid...

"Perhaps the most deadly thing about propaganda is that as it more and more organizes the vast agencies for communication and human intercourse in the interest of power and success and the dominance of certain influential groups, appealing always to 'cliches and emotional attitudes,' it sets up a vast system which excludes everything that is rare and challenging -- except that which may produce insignificant popular sensation. Mr. Bernays says that every means of human association and communication may be made a means of propaganda -- that is, may be organized for ulterior ends. Try to picture this state of affairs. This means that as such social forces become organized and controlled by the unknown few who can pay for such a vast enterprise, ideas that may not be utilized to the ends for which such organization exists cannot gain a hearing. Already we see many instances of censorship by such a controlling power. As Mr. Bernays says, 'of late a reaction has set in.'

"When the future historian, an American Sallust or Tacitus, records the downfall of our republic and its loss of liberty, he will point out the leading place that organized propaganda played in this unhappy business. Sallust tells us how such propagandist tricks as the Roman manipulators discovered -- bread and circuses -- brought about an unholy alliance between the passions of the mob and the ambitions of 'the intelligent few.' Tacitus tells us that when Augustus assumed divine attributes, and tyranny and persecution were later universal, these evils were possible because no one was able to protest. This is also the inevitable end of modern organized propaganda. Once we had an uncomplimentary word for such an industry. We called it 'intrigue.' The ambitious few who destroyed the freedom of the ancients won over the mob by making themselves visible. To-day, as Mr. Bernays says, their successors are setting up an 'invisible government.' Republica Americana delenda est.

"P.S. They got the job!

III -- Rebuttal by Everett Dean Martin.

"I specifically stated that I would discuss the evils of propaganda at its best; Mr. Bernays replies that I am like one who, in writing about the medical profession, 'would discuss only the fakers and quacks.' I quoted passages from Mr. Bernays' recent book to show that propaganda tends to set up an invisible and irresponsible government. The language quoted is plain...

"Mr. Bernays does not really discuss my argument, that the methods used by propagandists, even at best, in the necessary attempt to translate all things into such terms that one hundred and twenty millions of people can be 'reached,' make for cheapness, insincerity, and intolerance. His argument is in substance that propaganda serves the truth by giving both sides of an issue a hearing. But is it true that, as things are, each side of an issue gains a fair and equal hearing? Is it not a fact that the little business and the unpopular cause -- those that have not the money to pay for the services of high-pressure salesmen and large-circulation advertising, however worthy they may be -- are increasingly unable to compete for a hearing with forces organized on a nationwide scale?...

"I did not, as Mr. Bernays seems to think, bring severest criticism against propaganda in business. I am primarily interested in preserving our cultural inheritance. Doubtless propaganda in the form of advertising works less harm than elsewhere. The man who advertises soap generally sells what he advertises. Even the sale of an occasional gold brick is not the worst evil of propaganda. What I object to is the nation-wide sale of cultural gold bricks.

Cover Page - Are We Victims of Propaganda? / American Memory US Govt

Every word of this is a precise fit for the way the secret government of anti-smoking vermin has rammed its will down our throats! And with our own tax dollars, no less! Anti-smoker America is an utterly evil tyranny, and deserves to be wiped off the face of the earth.

Sample Anti-smoking Hate Propaganda

From a description of an anti-secondhand smoke commercial in Wisconsin:

It is not intended as mere hyperbole. These vermin demand that public policymakers treat this despicable crap as literal truth. They trot out slimy, corrupt physicians to make pretenses like this. And as for a fair and equal hearing, forget it! Their filthy media whores only trot out stupid, ignorant, credulous, sniveling, despicable little worms, who crawl on their bellies and prattle about how they want to quit smoking.

Throughout history, there have been inquisitions, persecutions, and repressions, and every one of them has been caused by subhuman excrement like the anti-smoker. Their kind are the very essence of evil! We should be proud to go to war against them!

A California psychotic gibbers, "Children are effectively smoking a pack and a half a day for every hour they are exposed to smoke in a car."

And out of respect for these nonsensical ravings, the California State Senate voted 23-14 to ban smoking in cars. The subhuman filth are so irrational they can't figure out that not even a smoker is exposed to a pack and a half a day for every hour they are in a car. (Senate votes to ban smoking in cars carrying young kids. By Steve Lawrence, AP. San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 28, 2006.) SPEWING LIES IS WHAT THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES STAND FOR! Al-Qaida has the right plan: smash their putrid culture to rubble!

Senate votes to ban smoking in cars carrying young kids, Aug. 28, 2006 / San Jose Mercury News

The Lasker Syndicate PR Conspiracy

The Anti-Smokers' Obsession With Advertising

The anti-smokers' obsession with tobacco industry advertising makes no sense from a practical point of view. After all, plenty of people smoked cigarettes in communist countries where advertising was forbidden. The tobacco industry is clearly not dependent upon advertising for its existence. Their obession actually reflects the anti-smoking movement's insecurity about its own shady origins and dependence on constant hype. Mary Woodard Lasker's husband, Albert D. Lasker, had headed the biggest advertising agency in the world. The American National Business Hall of Fame credits his efforts for Lord and Thomas' success, and acclaims him as "the Founder of Modern Advertising."

Edward L. Bernays

Albert Lasker is given undue credit for supposed advertising genius for his advertising slogan for Lucky Strike cigarettes aimed at women. The story is that 1930s surveys showed that many women didn't buy that brand merely because the green color of the package didn't go with their wardrobes, so, in 1934, advertising huckster Edward L. Bernays set out to make green a fashionable color. "Under the auspices of a local charity, Bernays planned a Green Ball and dispatched a well-connected society matron to the Paris couturiers to coax them into providing green gowns for the event. He convinced a leading textile manufacturer to sponsor a Green Fashions Fall luncheon for fashion editors and invited an art historian and a psychologist to expatiate on the significance of green. He organized a Color Fashion Bureau, which disseminated trends to the press, naturally emphasizing the popularity of the color green."

"Using green paper, he concocted a letter-writing campaign to interior decorators, art-industry groups, department stores and clubwomen describing the sudden 'dominance' of green. He induced department stores to feature green dresses and suits in their window displays, and he persuaded the Reinhardt Galleries to hold a "Green Exhibition" of paintings. The result of this six-month flurry: green became the hot new color of fashion." (The Lives They Lived: Edward L. Bernays and Henry C. Rogers; The Fathers of P.R. By Neal Gabler. The New York Times 1995 Dec. 31.)

Gabler / The New York Times 1995

Note that Mary Woodard was employed at Reinhardt Galleries, and Paul Reinhardt was her first husband. Furthermore, she was for many years the only art dealer in New York with a degree in art history, and fashion magnate Eleanor Lambert was one of her close friends.

The rest of the story about the Green Ball

The Green Ball was held the night of Oct. 25, 1934, at the Waldorf-Astoria. It was actually a charity benefit for the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Mrs. Frank A. Vanderlip, the president of the infirmary, was the honorary chairman. Mrs. Harold E. Talbott Jr. was executive chairman, with somewhere between six and ten assistants. Members of the younger set of "Society" posed in scenes from famous paintings, and the Radio City Music Hall ballet entertained at supper. The illustrious box-holders included Mrs. Frank C. Altschul, Mrs. George F. Baker [Jr.], Mrs. Walter P. Chrysler, Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Mrs. William Goadby Loew [Florence Baker], Mrs. William S. Paley, and Mrs. Alfred P. Sloan. (Society Prepares Gala Green Ball. New York Times, Sep. 30, 1934; 1,000 See Tableaux at the Green Ball. New York Times, Oct. 26, 1934.) It was just one-shot publicity by and for wealthy and connected socialites, and the fashion world promptly returned to normal. (First Night. White Fox on Black Velvet is Liked. By Virginia Pope. New York Times, Nov. 11, 1934.) In 1938, Mrs. Bernays was on the board of the Infirmary, along with Mrs. Frank Altschul, Paul D. Cravath, Mrs. Marshall Field, Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, and Miss Elizabeth Lamont. (Spring Style Show to Help Infirmary. New York Times, Apr. 17, 1938.) Marshall Field's investment banking firm was a financier of Tobacco & Allied Stocks, which eventually took over Philip Morris.

Mrs. Bernays (Doris E. Fleischman) had been involved in recent past fund-raisers for the Infirmary, along with such persons as Mrs. Alan A. Ryan Jr., Mrs. David Sarnoff, and Eleanor Lambert. Their patrons included Mrs. Juan T. Trippe, Mrs. Clendenin J. Ryan, Mrs. W. Goadby Loew, Mrs. August Belmont, and Mrs. William Randolph Hearst. (Two Social Events to Help Infirmary. New York Times, Apr. 15, 1934.) Mrs. Everett Dean Martin was among the Infirmary crowd. (Spring Fête to Aid Infirmary. New York Times, Feb. 26, 1933.) Doris Fleischman, fashion fascist, deplored diversity of style and proclaimed that "You can create fashions by coordinating your ideas, and you can create acceptance of them by coordinating your propaganda," and called for the creation of a "supercontrol" committee to centrally dictate fashions. (Style Curbs Are Urged. New York Times, Oct. 31, 1935.)

Edward L. Bernays had been a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace in 1919, some of whom, including Bernays, Frank L. Polk, Bernard M. Baruch, Allen W. Dulles, and Christian Herter, later organized "a permanent but informal alumni group." (Organize Alumni of 1919 Peace Group. New York Times, Apr. 29, 1929.) Bernays was public relations counsel for the American Committee on Medical Costs, formed to support Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur, which advocated group medical care for the masses. (Prepare to Defend Socialized Medicine. New York Times, Dec. 1, 1932.) Bernays and William Green of the AFL were elected the board of directors of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation, headed by Floyd B. Odlum. (Green, Bernays Elected. New York Times, Dec. 1, 1948.)

Bernays and wife were friends of Prof. James Harvey Rogers of Yale University. (Dinner for Prof. Rogers. New York Times, Oct. 20, 1934.) Rogers was active in the Economic Committee of the League of Nations. (Dinner for Prof. J.H. Rogers. New York Times, Nov. 2, 1935.) They were also friends of cancer researcher Dr. Isabel Knowlton, who was married at their apartment. (Dr. Isabel Knowlton Wed. New York Times, Oct. 14, 1934; Dr. Isabel Knowlton Feted. New York Times, Nov. 14, 1935.) Their daughter, Doris Fleischman Bernays, married Richard M. Held, a teaching fellow in psychology at Harvard who recently received a grant in psychological research from the U.S. Public Health Service. (Doris F. Bernays Married in Home. New York Times, Jun. 30, 1951.)

The ideology of deceit of Bernays and his co-conspirators: "Throughout our conversation, Bernays conveyed his hallucination of democracy: a highly educated class of opinion-molding tacticians are continuously at work, analyzing the social terrain and adjusting the mental scenery from which the public's mind, with its limited intellect, derives its opinions." (PR! A Social History of Spin. By Stuart Ewen, 1996. Chapter 1, Visiting Edward Bernays.) Actually, it is not a hallucination, but a description. It is those who imagine this corrupt system to be a democracy who are deluded. The anti-smoking movement, with its endless stream of smoking prevalence surveys and opinion polls and strategy evaluations and low-brow hate propaganda, illustrates this mentality so crassly and flagrantly that only a drooling imbecile could miss it. Furthermore, these manipulators are not the "highly educated" elite that they fancy themselves, but a bunch of shallow, charlatan-worshiping mediocrities, who use their financial and conspiratorial control to ensure that their lackeys and fellow travelers dominate the scene.

PR! A Social History of Spin / Ewen

"The Power of Public Relations," a discussion between Bernays; host David Suskind; Irwin Ross of the New York Post; and Rodger Tubby, former State Department press officer and press secretary to President Truman. (Radio Reports. for Hill & Knowlton Inc., on "Open End," Dec. 13, 1959, over WNTA-TV, Newark NJ.)

The Power of Public Relations, 1959 / UCSF-Legacy

Bernays' support of John Banzhaf's anti-smoking group ASH

Bernays was a longtime sponsor of anti-smoker lawyer John Banzhaf's group, ASH. The group was created to manufacture hate propaganda after Newton Minow stacked the Federal Communications Commission with cronies from the Ford Foundation, who delivered the infamous "Fairness Doctrine" ruling to subsidize the anti-smokers.

The Fairy Tale of John Banzhaf and the Fairness Doctrine
Kloepfer Informational Memorandum, Tobacco Institute, 1968 / UCSF-Legacy

John Banzhaf's letter to the Federal Trade Commission, Sep. 20, 1977, with list of Trustees and Sponsors, including Bernays et al.

Banzhaf - ASH letter, 1977 / UCSF-Legacy

Bernays is listed as a sponsor of ASH in the group's "Smoking and Health Review," May 1985.

Smoking and Health Review, May 1985 / UCSF-Legacy

Bernays participated in the 1981 National Conference on Smoking or Health

Edward L. Bernays was a member of Work Group 8, "Countering Cigarette Advertising and Supporting the Rights of Nonsmokers Through the Media" (pp. 16-17) -- that is how this nest of subhuman vermin mischaracterize their campaign of systematic psychopathic lies and defamations -- of the 1981 National Conference on Smoking or Health.

Work Group 8, NCSH 1981 / UCSF-Legacy

Project HOPE

Mrs. Edward L. Bernays and Sen Jacob K. Javits were on the New York Committee for Project HOPE in 1964 (p. 64). Mary Lasker was a member of the Benefit Committee, along with Mrs. and Mrs. William Randolph Hearst Jr.; Hon. and Mrs. Robert B. Meyner (in that year, he was the first and only administrator of the Cigarette Advertising Code); Mrs. William S. Paley; and Mrs. Lowell P. Weicker. Patrons and sponsors of the organization included Mrs. John T. Cahill (wife of Albert Lasker's attorney); the Hearsts; Mary Lasker; Mr. and Mrs. Samuel I. Rosenman; Mrs. Stanley M. Rumbough Jr. (wife of the American Health Foundation trustee); and Mrs. Weicker.

New York Committee for Project HOPE, 1964 / UCSF-Legacy


cast 07-08-07