This short clip from the BBC series “Century of the Self” shows how Edward Bernays (founder of public relations) set about creating fear in the people of the US as a way of fighting the “communist threat”.
What is really interesting is his belief that “human beings were driven by irrational forces” so when you want to scare the hell out of a nation – just feed into these “unconscious fears and desires” and there you have it – mass paranoia. It worked in the 1950s and it works today as the “forces of Islam” are substituted for the “forces of communism”.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society,” Bernays argued. “Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . 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.”
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