Propaganda is a book that focuses mainly on the intelligent manipulation of planned habits and opinions in order to influence the masses in a democratic society. Edward Bernays views media propaganda as an intelligent and carefully crafted skill that is used to achieve meaningful schemes. His eccentric support for propaganda is evident throughout the book. In his submission, he declares that it is a necessary tool for an orderly society (Bernayss, 2004). It is important to state that according to Edwards view, media propaganda has been used to manipulate the masses by being made an invisible tool in the competitive society.
One of the major points in Bernays’ opening remarks is how he views the relationship between media propaganda and democracy. He states that, in a democratic society, governance and leadership rely heavily on media propaganda. Lack of this would either lead to chaos or paralysis. Bernays’ first argument is that, the society has been transformed from a local and sectional entity to a global village with ideas that are easily transmitted instantaneously. He points to technological advancement as the main reason for the rapid development in information transmission (Bernayss, 2004). There is also the aspect of modernity, where he states that in the 19th century, information flow was a slow and boring process that few dared to venture into. His change of heart is informed by the current developments that have seen the enhancement of technical structures across the planet.
Bernays believes that the current society is yet to gain fully from the possibilities presented by the improved information flow. He points out governance as one of the areas that would significantly gain from this phenomenon. The author rightly states that, in a democratic society, media propaganda is as important as any other tool of governance. He claims that his book is specifically meant to explain the process of media propaganda and how it can be manipulated to create public approval of specific ideas. It is surprising to note that the author does not see the ethical dilemma that media propaganda posses though he understands the dangers of news manipulation (Bernayss, 2004). All the concerns raised about media propaganda are considered orderlies of life by the author.
Through the first part of the book, Bernays has spent much time trying to explain why media propaganda is not a bad term. He uses many examples to justify his assertion. One of the most interesting examples he uses to justify his stand is the use of democracy as a way of justifying media propaganda. The author explains that, without media propaganda, governance would become a problem. This would then translate into weak democratic structures which would reduce the quality of life. He explains that successful leaderships have relied on media propaganda at one time or the other. His reflection on the events that happened before 1928 is aimed at explaining to the reader the origin of his argument. He contends that there is no society without incidents of personality inflation or misleading promotion of ideas with the aim of improving one’s stature. He therefore, concludes in the first part of the book that, media propaganda is not worthy of the criticism that it is currently receiving (Bernayss, 2004). The chapter on ‘psychology of public relations’ is used to drive his point home by relating to group habits. The author notes that public relations are a process that relies on reading habits of a group and developing products that suit into these habits. This in itself is viewed as the simplest form of media propaganda by the author. The chapter further claims that, manipulation of impulses, emotions and habits of a given group, without interfering with the individuals, is the highest form of media propaganda.
The first three chapters of the book present specific arguments. In chapter one, two and three, the…