// designates my notes.
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
Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a
fact that 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 - a trifling fraction of
our hundred and twenty million - who understand the mental processes and social
patterns of the masses.
It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old
social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is not usually realized how necessary these invisible governors are to the
orderly functioning of our group life. In theory, every citizen may vote for
whom he pleases. Our Constitution does not envisage political parties as part
of the mechanism of government, and its framers seem not to have pictured to
themselves the existence in our national politics of anything like the modern
political ma- chine. But the American voters soon found that without
organization and direction their individual votes, cast, perhaps, for dozens or
hundreds of candidates, would produce nothing but confusion. In- visible
government, in the shape of rudimentary political parties, arose almost
overnight. Ever since then we have agreed, for the sake of simplicity and
practicality, that party machines should narrow down the field of choice to two
candidates, or at most three or four.
// there are MANY "clubs", churches, newspapers, etc. people
of common opinion that are not geographically close can be targeted, whereas
before you had geo limits on communication between communities. Mass media
allows the demographics to emerge
// a person in society is member of many smaller groups what
they learn in one they can introduce/support in another
Emil Ludwig represents Napoleon as "ever on the watch for indications of
public opinion; always listening to the voice of the people, a voice which
defies calculation. 'Do you know,' he said in those days, 'what amazes me more
than all else? The impotence of force to organize anything.'"
"L'Etat c'est moi." Louis XIV
The steam engine, the multiple press, and the public school, that trio of the
industrial revolution, have taken the power away from kings and given it to the
people. The people actually gained power which the king lost For economic power
tends to draw after it political power; and 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 common people.
For the masses promised to become king.
To-day, however, a reaction has set in. The minority has discovered a
powerful help in influencing majorities. It has been found possible so to mold
the mind of the masses that they will throw their newly gained strength in the
Whatever of social importance is done to-day, whether in politics, finance,
manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done
with the help of propaganda. Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible
// literacy was supposed to liberate common
man, instead he has rubber stamp ideas, common to all advertising slogans,
published scientific data, trivialities, history, etc... all devoid of
"There is no word in the English language," it says, "whose meaning has been
so sadly distorted as the word 'propaganda.'" The change took place mainly
during the late war (WW1? I assume)
"If you turn to the Standard Dictionary, you will find that the word was
applied to a congregation or society of cardinals for the care and oversight of
foreign missions which was instituted at Rome in the year 1627. It was applied
also to the College of the Propaganda at Rome that was founded by Pope Urban
VIII, for the education of the missionary priests. Hence, in later years the
word came to be applied to any institution or scheme for propagating a doctrine
or system. "Judged by this definition, we can see that in its true sense
propaganda is a perfectly legitimate form of human activity.
"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 the 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.
// 3 things can not remain long hidden...
"'Propaganda' in its proper meaning is a perfectly wholesome word, of honest
parentage, and with an honorable history. The fact that it should to-day be
carrying a sinister meaning merely shows how much of the child remains in the
"'What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,' says a wise old
proverb. Let us make haste to put this fine old word back where it belongs, and
restore its dignified significance for the use of our children and our
// 4 of 8 NTY articles are propaganda, b/c not what they
say, but where they come from. The state Dept and The Carnegie Foundation
Projecting the opinions of these as authoritative
illustrate how conscious direction is given to events, and how the men behind
these events influence public opinion.
Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events
to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group. This
practice of creating circumstances and of creating pictures in the minds of
millions of persons is very common. Virtually no important undertaking is now
carried on without it, whether that enterprise be building a cathedral,
endowing a university, marketing a moving picture, floating a large bond issue,
or electing a president.
important thing is that it is universal and continuous; and in its sum total
it is regimenting the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments the
bodies of its soldiers.
Charity, as well as business, and politics and literature, for that matter,
have had to adopt propaganda, for the public must be regimented into giving
money just as it must be regimented into tuberculosis prophylaxis.
Propaganda does exist on all sides of us, and it does change our mental
pictures of the world.
This then, evidently indicates the fact that any one with sufficient
influence can lead sections of the public at least for a time and for a given
they find in propaganda a tool which is increasingly powerful in gaining that
approval. Therefore, propaganda is here to stay.
// during WW1 America targeted individuals through mass
media, appealing directly to them. They brought this message back to their
communities, where some were leaders... instant authority
the manipulators of patriotic opinion made use of the mental clichés and the
emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged
atrocities, the terror and the tyranny of the enemy.
// velvet market needs revived in USA. Go to Paris, get
fashion on board, sponsored openly by velvet industry push your story, get
famous people seen in velvet eventually "real" media picks up on your created
velvet hotness and reports, velvet sales skyrocket store all start advertising
The created circumstances had their effect. "Fickle fashion has veered to
velvet," was one newspaper comment. And the industry in the United States again
kept thousands busy.
clearly it is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda
continuously and systematically.
In the active proselytizing minorities in whom selfish interests and public
interests coincide lie the progress and development of America. Only through
the active energy of the intelligent few can the public at large become aware
of and act upon new ideas.
// who's who list of thousands of leaders... often
The power of the invisible cabinet which deliberated at the poker table in a
certain little green house in Washington has become a national legend.
// who is mark hanna?
Paris fashion leaders set the mode of the short skirt, for wearing which,
twenty years ago, any woman would simply have been arrested and thrown into
jail by the New York police, and the entire women's clothing industry,
capitalized at hundreds of millions of dollars, must be reorganized to conform
to their dictum.
The idea of invisible government is relative. There may be a handful of men
who control the educational methods of the great majority of our schools. Yet
from another standpoint, every parent is a group leader with authority over his
or her children.
New activities call for new nomenclature
// birth of public relations council
government is only government by virtue of public acquiescence.
// PR gained traction in the muckraking insurance finance
The profession of public relations counsel is developing for itself an
ethical code which compares favorably with that governing the legal and medical
professions. In part, this code is forced upon the public relations counsel by
the very conditions of his work. While recognizing, just as the lawyer does,
that every one has the right to present his case in its best light, he
nevertheless refuses a client whom he believes to be dishonest, a product which
he believes to be fraudulent, or a cause which he believes to be antisocial.
He should be candid in his dealings. It must be repeated that his business is
not to fool or hoodwink the public. If he were to get such a reputation, his
usefulness in his profession would be at an end.
the group has mental characteristics distinct from those of the individual,
and is motivated by impulses and emotions which cannot be explained on the
basis of what we know of individual psychology. So the question naturally
arose: If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not
possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their
The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up
to a certain point and within certain limits.
It is now scientific in the sense that it seeks to base its operations upon
definite knowledge drawn from direct observation of the group mind, and upon
the application of principles which have been demonstrated to be consistent
Propaganda, like economics and sociology, can never be an exact science for
the reason that its subject-matter, like theirs, deals with human beings.
If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious
cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway. But men do
not need to be actually gathered together in a public meeting or in a street
riot, to be subject to the influences of mass psychology. Because man is by
nature gregarious he feels himself to be member of a herd, even when he is
alone in his room with the curtains drawn. His mind retains the patterns which
have been stamped on it by the group influences.
A man sits in his office deciding what stocks to buy. He imagines, no doubt,
that he is planning his purchases according to his own judgment. In actual fact
his judgment is a melange of impressions stamped on his mind by outside
influences which unconsciously control his thought. He buys a certain railroad
stock because it was in the headlines yesterday and hence is the one which
comes most prominently to his mind; because he has a pleasant recollection of a
good dinner on one of its fast trains; because it has a liberal labor policy, a
reputation for honesty; because he has been told that J. P. Morgan owns some of
// the group mind first follows a trusted leader next if it
must make up its own mind, it refers to clichés
Not many years ago, it was only necessary to tag a political candidate with
the word interests to stampede millions of people into voting against him,
because anything associated with "the interests" seemed necessarily corrupt.
Recently the word Bolshevik has performed a similar service for persons who
wished to frighten the public away from a line of action.
In Great Britain, during the war, the evacuation hospitals came in for a
considerable amount of criticism because of the summary way in which they
handled their wounded. It was assumed by the public that a hospital gives
prolonged and conscientious attention to its patients. When the name was
changed to evacuation posts the critical reaction vanished. No one expected
more than an adequate emergency treatment from an institution so named. The
cliché hospital was indelibly associated in the public mind with a certain
picture. To persuade the public to discriminate between one type of hospital
and another, to dissociate the cliché from the picture it evoked, would have
been an impossible task. Instead, a new cliché automatically conditioned the
public emotion toward these hospitals.
Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions. A man
may believe that he buys a motor car because, after careful study of the
technical features of all makes on the market, he has concluded that this is
the best. He is almost certainly fooling himself. He bought it, perhaps,
because a friend whose financial acumen he respects bought one last week; or
because his neighbors believed he was not able to afford a car of that class;
or because its colors are those of his college fraternity.
// modern is that a thing
The music room will be accepted because it has been made the thing.
A benefit performance of the Jitney Players was staged for the benefit of
earthquake victims of Japan, under the auspices of Mrs. Astor and others
// ivory soap sculptures
to-day supply must actively seek to create its corresponding demand
An oil corporation which truly understands its many-sided relation to the
public, will offer that public not only good oil but a sound labor policy. A
bank will seek to show not only that its management is sound and conservative,
but also that its officers are honorable both in their public and in their
the public should appreciate the great economic benefits which business
offers, thanks to mass production and scientific marketing, business should
also appreciate that the public is becoming increasingly discriminative in its
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.
The tendency of big business is to get bigger. Through mergers and
monopolies it is constantly increasing the number of persons with whom it is in
If he is a leader in his industry, the public may demand that he be a leader
in his community.
knowledge of the public mind and of the ways in which it will react to an
appeal, is a specialized function which must be undertaken by the professional
it is my conviction that as big business becomes bigger the need for expert
manipulation of its innumerable contacts with the public will become greater.
One reason why the public relations of a business are frequently placed in
the hands of an outside expert, instead of being confided to an officer of the
company, is the fact that the correct approach to a problem may be indirect.
For example, when the luggage industry attempted to solve some of its problems
by a public relations policy, it was realized that the attitude of railroads,
of steamship companies, and of foreign government-owned railroads was an
important factor in the handling of luggage. If a railroad and a baggage man,
for their own interest, can be educated to handle baggage with more facility
and promptness, with less damage to the baggage, and less inconvenience to the
passenger; if the steamship company lets down, in its own interests, its
restrictions on luggage; if the foreign government eases up on its baggage
costs and transportation in order to further tourist travel; then the luggage
manufacturers will profit. The problem then, to increase the sale of their
luggage, was to have these and other forces come over to their point of view.
Hence the public relations campaign was directed not to the public, who were
the ultimate consumers, but to these other elements.
The development of public opinion for a cause or line of socially
constructive action may very often be the result of a desire on the part of the
propagandist to meet successfully his own problem which the socially
constructive cause would further. And by doing so he is actually fulfilling a
social purpose in the broadest sense.
Public opinion is no longer inclined to be unfavorable to the large business
merger. It resents the censorship of business by the Federal Trade Com-
mission. It has broken down the anti-trust laws where it thinks they hinder
economic development. It backs great trusts and mergers which it excoriated a
decade ago. The government now permits large aggregations of producing and
distributing units, as evidenced by mergers among railroads and other public
utilities, because representative government reflects public opinion. Public
opinion itself fosters the growth of mammoth industrial enterprises. In the
opinion of millions of small investors, mergers and trusts are friendly giants
and not ogres, because of the economies, mainly due to quantity production,
which they have effected, and can pass on to the consumer.
It was obtained not only by modifying the opinion of the public, as the
governments modified and marshaled the opinion of their publics during the war
Only recently, Prof. W. Z. Ripley of Harvard University, one of the foremost
national authorities on business organization and practice, exposed certain
aspects of big business which tended to undermine public confidence in large
corporations. He pointed out that the stockholders' supposed voting power is
often illusory; that annual financial statements are sometimes so brief and
summary that to the man in the street they are downright misleading; that the
extension of the system of non-voting shares often places the effective control
of corporations and their finances in the hands of a small clique of
stockholders; and that some corporations refuse to give out sufficient
information to permit the public to know the true condition of the concern.
A merger may bring into existence huge new resources, and these resources,
perhaps amounting to millions of dollars in a single operation, can often
fairly be said to have been created by the expert manipulation of public
An attempted issue by an east European country is now faring badly largely
because of unfavorable public reaction to the behavior of members of its ruling
family. But other countries have no difficulty in placing any issue because the
public is already convinced of the prosperity of these nations and the
stability of their governments.
The new technique of public relations counsel is serving a very useful
purpose in business by acting as a complement to legitimate advertisers and
advertising in helping to break down unfair competitive exaggerated and
over-emphatic advertising by reaching the public with the truth through other
channels than advertising.
The only way to combat such unethical methods, is for ethical members of the
industry to use the weapon of propaganda in order to bring out the basic truths
of the situation.
The business man and advertising man is realizing that he must not discard
entirely the methods of Barnum in reaching the public.
Amusement, too, is a business—one of the largest in America. It was the
amusement business-first the circus and the medicine show, then the theater-
which taught the rudiments of advertising to industry and commerce.
Fortunately, the sincere and gifted politician is able, by the instrument of
propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people.
While politics was the first important department of American life to use
propaganda on a large scale, it has been the slowest in modifying its
propaganda methods to meet the changed conditions of the public mind.
Acting on the fallacy that the leader must slavishly follow, he deprives his
campaign of all dramatic interest. An automaton cannot arouse the public
interest. A leader, a fighter, a dictator, can. But, given our present
political conditions under which every office seeker must cater to the vote of
the masses, the only means by which the born leader can lead is the expert use
He has adopted the glitter and the ballyhoo of the campaign. He has set up
all the side shows. He has annual dinners that are a compendium of speeches,
flags, bombast, stateliness, pseudo-democracy slightly tinged with paternalism.
On occasion he doles out honors to employees, much as the re- public of classic
times rewarded its worthy citizens.
Political campaigns to-day are all side shows, all honors, all bombast,
glitter, and speeches.
Emily Newell Blair has recounted in the Independent a typical instance of the
waste of effort and money in a political campaign, a week's speaking tour in
which she herself took part. She estimates that on a five-day trip covering
nearly a thousand miles she and the United States Senator with whom she was
making political speeches addressed no more than 1,105 persons whose votes
might conceivably have been changed as a result of their efforts. The cost of
this appeal to these voters she estimates (calculating the value of the time
spent on a very moderate basis) as $15.27 for each vote which might have been
changed as a result of the campaign. This, she says, was a "drive for votes,
just as an Ivory Soap advertising campaign is a drive for sales." But, she
asks, "what would a company executive say to a sales manager who sent a
high-priced speaker to describe his product to less than 1,200 people at a cost
of $15.27 for each possible buyer?" She finds it "amazing that the very men who
make their millions out of cleverly devised drives for soap and bonds and cars
will turn around and give large contributions to be expended for vote-getting
in an utterly inefficient and antiquated fashion."
But the politician is not necessarily a general sales manager, a public
relations counsel, or a man who knows how to secure mass distribution of ideas.
It is obvious that politics would gain much in prestige if the money-raising
campaign were conducted candidly and publicly, like the campaigns for the war
funds. Charity drives might be made excellent models for political funds
drives. The elimination of the little black bag element in politics would raise
the entire prestige of politics in America,
Big business has realized that it must use as many of the basic emotions as
emotional content must— (a) coincide in every way with the broad basic plans
of the campaign and all its minor details; (b) be adapted to the many groups of
the public at which it is to be aimed; and (c) conform to the media of the
distribution of ideas.
Kissing babies, if it is worth anything, must be used as a symbol for a baby
policy and it must be synchronized with a plank in the platform. But the
haphazard staging of emotional events without regard to their value as part of
the whole campaign, is a waste of effort,
People to-day are largely uninterested in politics and their interest in the
issues of the campaign must be secured by coordinating it with their personal
Every object which presents pictures or words that the public can see,
everything that presents intelligible sounds, can be utilized in one way or
A political practice which has its roots in the tendency of the popular
leader to follow oftener than he leads is the technique of the trial balloon
which he uses in order to maintain, as he believes, his contact with the
public. The politician, of course, has his ear to the ground. It might be
called the clinical ear. It touches the ground and hears the disturbances of
the political universe. But he often does not know what the disturbances mean,
whether they are superficial, or fundamental. So he sends up his balloon. He
may send out an anonymous interview through the press. He then waits for
reverberations to come from the public—a public which expresses itself in mass
meetings, or resolutions, or telegrams, or even such obvious manifestations as
editorials in the partisan or nonpartisan press. On the basis of these
repercussions he then publicly adopts his original tentative policy, or rejects
it, or modifies it to conform to the sum of public opinion which has reached
The propagandist's approach is the exact opposite of that of the politician
just described. The whole basis of successful propaganda is to have an
objective and then to endeavor to arrive at it through an exact knowledge of
the public and modifying circumstances to manipulate and sway that public.
There is no means of human communication which may not also be a means of
deliberate propaganda, because propaganda is simply the establishing of
reciprocal understanding between an individual and a group.
The newspaper, of course, remains always a primary medium for the
transmission of opinions and ideas—in other words, for propaganda.
It was not many years ago that newspaper editors resented what they called
"the use of the news columns for propaganda purposes." Some editors would even
kill a good story if they imagined its publication might benefit any one. This
point of view is now largely abandoned.
The newspaper cannot assume, nor is it its function to assume, the
responsibility of guaranteeing that what it publishes will not work out to
In the New York Times—to take an outstanding example—news is printed because
of its news value and for no other reason. The Times editors determine with
complete independence what is and what is not news. They brook no censorship.
They are not influenced by any external pressure nor swayed by any values of
expediency or opportunism. The conscientious editor on every newspaper
realizes that his obligation to the public is news. The fact of its
accomplishment makes it news.
If the public relations counsel can breathe the breath of life into an idea
and make it take its place among other ideas and events, it will receive the
public attention it merits. There can be no question of his "contaminating news
at its source." He creates some of the day's events, which must compete in the
editorial office with other events. Often the events which he creates may be
specially acceptable to a newspaper's public and he may create them with that
public in mind.
The average magazine assumes no obligation, as the newspaper does, to reflect
the current news. It selects its material deliberately, in accordance with a
continuous policy. It is not, like the newspaper, an organ of public opinion,
but tends rather to become a propagandist organ, propagandizing for a
The lecture, once a powerful means of influencing public opinion, has changed
its value. The lecture itself may be only a symbol, a ceremony;
Professor So-and-So, expounding an epoch-making invention, may speak to five
hundred persons, or only fifty. His lecture, if it is important, will be
// who decides what is important? this reboardcasting is the
propagandists tool (make 1 lecture, reuse it)
certain newspapers have bought radio stations and linked them up with their
news and entertainment distribution facilities,
Large groups, political, racial, sectarian, economic or professional, are
tending to control stations to propagandize their points of view.
...whether the message will reach the public in the form of straight
entertainment and news, or as special programs for particular groups,
The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda
in the world to-day. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The
motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation.
the vivid dramatization of personality will always remain one of the
functions of the public relations counsel.
The man who would most effectively transmit his message to the public must be
alert to make use of all the means of propaganda.
Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda
is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help
to bring order out of chaos.