The “Professional” Practice of Public Relations: A Conversation with Edward L. Bernays

The Professional Practice of Public Relations: A Conversation with Edward L. Bernays
PRSA M-001 Public Relations Society of America

Year - 1979-1980?

Thanks to Mike M. for sending me this talk on cassette tape.

  31 comments for “The “Professional” Practice of Public Relations: A Conversation with Edward L. Bernays

  1. Ryan Caron
    October 22, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Very, Very interesting.

  2. goatstaog
    October 22, 2012 at 3:18 am

    This is from 1979-1980 at the start they state he is currently 89 years old and he died in 1995 at 103 yrs of age.

  3. Keith McAlister
    October 22, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I’m about to listen and I know it’s going to be interesting but just wanted to say, Thanks Jan. Adam Curtis with the BBC did a documentary about Bernays entitled “The Century of the Self” and is open source on the net. Between Bernays and Walter Lippman, the illusions of state and control were deeply embedded into the mind processes of the American public. Chomsky’s Manufactured Consent covers Lippman.

    • Jan Irvin
      October 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Yes, and interestingly, thanks for reminding me, but Wasson also worked with Lippman.

      • Drake Dorosh
        October 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm

        The key point being that both Bernays and Lippmann despised the common person and worked to encourage the irrational nature of populace, invoking desires, selling the public things they wouldn’t rationally buy and turning them into consumers instead of citizens. Lippmann called it “engineering consent”.
        So it sounds like Adam Curtis has also discovered a motive for the psychedelic revolution. Were they disappointed by LSD’s successes?
        Major brain wave of yours to see Wasson as the head honcho -especially with his high level banking connections. Something Micheal Ruppert said about high level bankers moving to and from high level intelligence jobs in more recent times. Banking and intelligence being more closely related than commonly perceived.

        • Jan Irvin
          October 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm

          Let’s not forget Wasson, 😉

          Huautla, when I first knew it as a humble out-of-the-way Indian village, has become a true mecca for hippies, psychopaths, adventurers, pseudo-research workers, the miscellaneous crew of our society’s drop-outs. The old ways are dead and I fear that my responsibility is heavy, mine and Maria Sabina’s. […]

          As for me, what have I done? I made a cultural discovery of importance. Should I have suppressed it? It has led to further discoveries the reach of which remains to be seen. Should these further discoveries have remained stultified by my unwillingness to reveal the secret of the Indians’ hallucinogens?

          Yet what I have done gives me nightmares: I have unleashed on lovely Huautla a torrent of commercial exploitation of the vilest kind. Now the mushrooms are exposed for sale everywhere—in every market-place, in every village doorway. Everyone offers his services as a “priest” of the rite, even the politicos. […] The whole of the countryside is agog with the furtive movements of hippies, the comings and goings of the “federalistas,” the Dogberries with their blundering efforts to root them out.[33]
          ~ R. Gordon Wasson

          October 13, 1970:

          Dear Mr. Wolfe: […] Do you remember your last letter to me? I was asking you where Tolstoy had said the printing press was a mighty engine for disseminating ignorance. This Mazatec affair is a case in point.[35] [emphasis – mine]

          ~ R. Gordon Wasson

          • Drake Dorosh
            October 23, 2012 at 12:57 am

            If the target was Oaxaca then maybe some other bank dealings will turn up. I know you hate pure speculation and so you work with the evidence you have but I can only guess what benefit a hippie attack would have. 1 To provide cover for agents hoping to infiltrate land reform groups. Since it is Mexico’s southernmost point it would give cover the full length of the country. 2. Was the mushroom cult a source of strength to indigenous groups seeking land reform? If so it might frustrate social reformers connected to the indigenous religion. Right now I can’t find anything but chocolate and pine forestry. Oil nearby would raise my curiosity too. If the only reason was to experiment with commercial exploitation psychedelics then I don’t know if I could ever understand Wasson. I could relate to an “economic hitman” strategy though if one should develop from the facts.

      • Keith McAlister
        October 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm

        Had no idea Wasson worked with Lippman. Thanks for that info.

  4. October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Wow what a “Dick” Edward Bernay is. (Yes im attacking him at Ad Hominem). Or maybe im not let me define in my own words what a Dick is: Someone who speaks in fallacies and knows he will never be called on them; therefore his Fallacies in his own rationalization become true. E.G,: Edward kept saying through the interview he would only work with ethical companies, people that only do ethical things.

    Edward was it ethical to tell a lie to a indigenous group and change they way of their lives so a company in a far off land will have control of them and eventually get rid off they way they lived? To me it seems that he enjoyed the control he has over people and by using Fallacies to govern them. I don’t see how using Fallacies is Ethical—Edward. So therefore you are a Dick by my own understanding of what a Dick is. Or maybe your an Asshole. You could be both.
    Notice the rise of Edward using fallacies to sell ideas and products directly happened when the Trivium was no longer taught. People would not be falling for his bullshit if the Trivium was used.

    • Jan Irvin
      October 22, 2012 at 11:03 am

      The word is “sophist” 😉

      • Jan Irvin
        October 22, 2012 at 11:07 am

        Keep in mind too that Wasson was a PR man, worked with both Bernays and Lippman, and my bet was it was their intentional campaign against the Mazatecs.

        As I wrote in my Wasson article:

        “What was the purpose of the Wassons publishing in Life and This Week magazines, rather than in an anthropology journal? With the ties to Morgan, Skull and Bones, Edward Bernays, C. D. Jackson, Henry Luce, the CFR and the CIA, it seems that their campaign against Huaulta de Jimenez was intentional, as was the influx of “hippies, psychopaths and adventurers and pseudo-research workers” who descended upon the place. Was it an experiment in economics, to see how the banking elite and CIA could fully corrupt and commercialize a remote, indigenous village, while at the same time launching a positivist psychological warfare campaign?”

        DeWitt Peterkin, retired vice president in charge of domestic lending, joined J.P. Morgan & Co. in 1937. Gordon was already there, initially as a credit banker. He soon proved himself “a great person for putting together the background and history” of Morgan’s accounts, recalled Peterkin.
        In subsequent years, Gordon’s role as a credit banker gave way to new responsibilities. Eventually, as vice president, he would [end] up in charge of “communications, public relations—that sort of thing,” recalled Peterkin. Personal contact with overseas clients was part of the job.
        ~ T. Riedlinger

        In the New York Tribune financial department he [Gordon Wasson] had made contact with the house on the corner, Broad and Wall – J. P. Morgan. Then he had given up newspaper work and become associated with the home [Morgan’s “house on the corner”]. First he was in the publicity department. When Martin Eagen died, he assumed the function of publicity man with J. Pierpont Morgan.
        ~ Edward Bernays

        • John Bernays
          November 23, 2012 at 3:43 am

          Did you realise, that, although the Belief that my Great Grandfather’s Brother was a monster, I rather have a different view of his desires & reasons for his lifetime vocation of “Controlling Humankind.”
          A read of Sigmund Freud’s “Mankind and his Discontents” and a watching of the BBC Documentary “The Century of the Self” would make a thinking person realize, as I have, the Human Race is innately a Vicious and Savage Beast, especially in Crowds or Mobs ( Read Erik Hoffer’s “The True Believer” ) Freud was very very dispondant at Hitler, the Fall of Vienna, and his Studies had shown perfectly how Savage the Human could become.
          I know that Uncle Edward really wanted a way to End War, stop Violence against Helpless Poor People & Women, and other Higher Motives.
          Obviously, Freud’s Ideas are “Spot-On” as the YouTube Video i watched earlier yesterday by Jan shows that the many “Devices” these Tavistock people use to Control the People.
          Understand, I am 63 Years old, a Jazz Guitarist & a Retired Homeless Hobo. (Say,WHAT?) so, I have felt the Hatred America Rains upon the Homeless, Mentally Ill.
          But the Mannerisms of Bernays speech, understand, is the mannerisms of the Very Rich of the Early 1900’s. Bernays was not a Evil Man. He was Very Insulated, He never learned to Drive, he was not comfortable with people, he was a Solitary person, but he never meant his methods, nor Sigmunds, to be used AS IT HAS BEEN, since his death.
          Thank you Jan, as well, for opening my eyes to the Fallacy of

          The world according to Quantum Scientists is a holographic universal illusion.

          As many others, I had almost Embraced this. As well, I personally met & knew Agustis Stanley Owsley, Timothy Leary, Thomas Wolfe and Hugh Romney, I did LSD25 12 Times, had a Very Wonderful Vision on the 12th. then never wanted it again.

          My Father turned me on to Alan Watts & William Burroughs, I followed the Woody Guthrie “Path” and am a Close Friend of “Diamond Dave” the Last Surviving Beat Nick in San Francisco. Dave WHittiker is 73 Years old.

          I am very excited at the Information you, Jan, put fourth. Perhaps you are my Salvation…(Eh, Wot?)

          • Jan Irvin
            November 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

            John Bernays…

            It’s good to hear from you, John, if you are who you say you are.

            I would love to debate your reasoning behind some of your statements. For instance, you’re aware that Edward worked for the “war is good” department to get us INTO the war?

            As well, he was part of the guys who sold the compulsory education system that we have today, that dumbs people down.

            For if you [the rulers] suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves [and outlaws] and then punish them.
            -Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), Utopia, Book 1

            No irony between the above quote and your statements.

            On the front page you’ll find John Taylor Gatto’s Ultimate History Lesson, which will prove you wrong on many other accounts:

            As well, you may be interested in studying the trivium study section to the left. However, you may already be familiar with some of it. Are you familiar with the works of Demosthenes?

            Of course your argument also rests on a false appeal to authority, or the ad vericundiam fallacy. Because someone who lies and manipulates others for their own gain and rather false direction, based on their own false notions of authority and right, often religious based for instance (Zionism is a good example of this type of behavior), rather than uplifting them through a proper education of the 7 Liberating arts, that Edward himself helped to eliminate and helped to advertise the very compulsory education system that dumbs men down into the very savages that you here discuss and complain about(! No irony there!) is hardly doing good for humankind. But maybe your dear grand uncle should have looked in the mirror. But as well, the same arguments are made for eugenics, etc. Of course he was behind many of those too.

            What about Edward’s influence on Gobbels?

            He also worked with the CIA, the CFR, the Tavistock Institute, he’s the very guy who promoted fluoride in the water as well…working for the aluminum industry. .. The damage from that is inestimable… speaking of dumbing down. There’s evidence that he was connected to the JFK assassination, as well as Project MKULTRA – of which I have strong evidence myself. He was also involved in Operation Ajax, and numerous others…

            I wonder, John Bernays, have you followed in Edward’s footsteps of propaganda? You seem to have “inherited” some of his talents for sophistry.

            You see, we must ask ourselves whom this type of behavior benefits… because when we have a clear understanding of it, we know that it’s for the elites and oligarchs and their ultimate revolution against the masses, such as under the UN’s Agenda 21 and Fourth World Wilderness Conferences.

            So if you’d like to debate these issues, just to begin with, I’d love to have an in depth discussion.

            Welcome to the website.

      • Henk
        October 23, 2012 at 9:21 am

        Fallacy of four terms:

        Premise 1) Dick is a nice person
        Premise 2) Most sophists are dicks
        Conclusion: Most sophists are nice persons

    • Vigilius
      October 23, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Of COURSE he’s going to couch everything in praiseworthy terms. LOL. This is ED BERNAYS. How do you think he and Lippmann got us into WWI?

      And the word is douchebag.

  5. bremont
    October 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    it relates to how people function, however it does not relate to how the mind evolves and what any mind does in order to become something else of what it is. on the other hand plays a religious role were organization and organizing is the main purpose as well to keep a wheel running smoothly.

    • Jan Irvin
      October 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      “the main purpose as well to keep a wheel running smoothly” if the wheel is being turned by the oligarchs.

  6. October 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    He would have turned 89 in November of 1980. So this would have been recorded in 1980 or 1981.

    Only the good die young.

  7. Drake Dorosh
    October 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    The public relations tricks that Bernays espouses here can be applied by any social class. That makes him very likeable in this interview. While his life’s work was molding public opinion for the benefit of the powerful and duped common people like me, one would be well advised to listen and learn. There are issues and causes that require us to enlist the greater public and knowing their motivations, fears, desires, hopes and vision ARE key to improving our own causes. Bernays’ chief technique is to enlist community leaders. How would Bernays end the drug war?, promote industrial hemp?, create a legally sanctioned psychedelic culture? fight GMOs? or implement a tax on speculation?. What kind of “study” would inform him and how would he viscerally persuade a mass change in consciousness? I despair because I think his task working with aristocracy and oligarchy is far easier than working from the grassroots. I know he is a phony and his stunts and frauds work because he aligned his career to powerful people. Still we can learn from him and hopefully not just “culture jamming” but how to create actual reform.

  8. Paul
    October 23, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Well, I like the editorial decision to include this talk along with the Plato talk in the “radio show.”

    One does get the impression from this interview that this is a man with quite a bit to hide…and I guess hiding is his job.

  9. robert42
    October 23, 2012 at 6:06 am

    One of his statements seemed to sum up so much:

    “the War came along, and I decided, like most young men of the period, that the United States had to become victorious, that freedom, equality and orderly justice were basic to the World, that the Kaiser was a man who tried to impose his will, not only upon his neighbours but who would do that to the whole World, and I enlisted in George Creel’s Committe on Public Information.”

    He “enlisted”? Well, not quite, despite his enthusiasm for other people to go and fight in the War. Similar euphemisms abounded in that interview, such as “publicity” for “war propaganda”, but it probably goes with the territory.

  10. Caelidh
    October 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

    It is interesting at the beginning of the interview Bernays sounds so reasonable. I mean I do get it that there are various “social issues” like venereal disease or drug abuse that need to be “dealt with” in some fashion either by informing the public, helping people tackle certain issues. It is HOW that is done and I agree that deliberately manipulating the public to dissuade rather than helping the public consciously understand and treating them like (or at least encouraging them to be) mature grown up intelligent “adults”. It seems to me that society feels that the “masses” are generally a lost cost and the only way to change their behavior is by manipulating instead of raising them in a manner where they engage in a more informed manner.

    It seems that Bernays’ evolved and maybe at one time wanted to help society but then encouraged PR to just take control of all society. It is like that in Science “hey, this kills this pest.. lets just spray it over entire cities and we won’t be bothered with ANY pests anymore” (like DDT).

    There was a DISINFORMATION article about what they called “Hegemonic Urban Development” and how campuses and cities are being designed to control masses of people. There is this apparent FEAR in our society about social uprisings and assuming that masses of humans will automatically behave badly if left to their own devices. I think that the social engineers of today are probably patting themselves on their back that they invented such great things such as mass consumerism and entertainment ALONG WITH drugs like Prozac.. because It appears that those two things have kept people generally passive and “happy”…



    ( )

  11. solarwind
    October 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    ”Electoral College” i can believe none of u have gone in to it.

    • solarwind
      October 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      yea shroom heads kill me lol.

  12. October 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Alan Watt of talks about Edward L. Bernays almost every other talk he gives. Bernays created Front Organizations with “Experts” to guide the culture. Democracy itself is a Front Organization. The second poem Alan I have linked below Alan says the techniques of Bernays creates a 99% accuracy in how your life and your culture will go! I have also posted a few links which Alan posted on his site regarding Bernays and all his influence.

    July 21, 2010
    Alan Watt “Cutting Through The Matrix” LIVE on RBN:
    Poem Copyright Alan Watt July 21, 2010:
    For Freud, Bernays, Skinner, Kinsey et al.:
    Evil Creatures of the Most Heinous Kind,
    Raping, Reshaping the Human Mind:
    “Many Fronts has This Long War of Terror,
    Implemented Top-Down, Covering Each Sector
    Of Society, Creating Mindsets of Humankind,
    Plundering and Altering the Human Mind,
    Standardizing for the Collective, Quality Control,
    Complete in Victory, Except for the Soul
    Which by Poverty and Fear They Hope to Destroy,
    The Physical — Emasculated Man and Girl is Boy,
    Masters of Behaviour Scoffed with Assurity,
    Demanding Access to Young Before Maturity,
    Culture Creators on Board with Brother Press,
    Plus Academia, They’re All Conscienceless,
    Pity the Knowing Few Who are Self-Led,
    Who Walk as Strangers in Lands of the Dead”
    © Alan Watt July 21, 2010

    Aug. 31, 2010
    Alan Watt “Cutting Through The Matrix” LIVE on RBN:
    Poem Copyright Alan Watt Aug. 31, 2010
    Scientific Indoctrination:
    Scientific Indoctrination on Each Generation,
    Leads to Passivity, Close to Vegetation:
    “Your “Present” is Designed, as Your Masters Know
    With 99% Accuracy The Flow Your Life Will Go,
    Scientific Indoctrination with Terms Sounding Cool,
    Programming with “New Norms” Way Back in School,
    “Your” Generation’s Fads will Affect Your Outlook,
    Past is Altered, with Announcement of Each E-Book,
    Always Doing “Your Thing,” Since You Know Best,
    Yet “Your Thing” and Opinions are Same as the Rest,
    Your Life Will be Transitioned Just Like Your Friends,
    New Societal Dysfunction in the Script That Never Ends,
    Moral Relativity in Judging, Except Obey Your Master,
    Observing You Constantly, to Save You From Disaster,
    The Brightside is Playtime, when Nothing is Forbidden,
    Then You’re Up on Facebook, Nothing Can be Hidden,
    Eventually You’re Jaded, Yes You and All Your Kind,
    Reality Unfurled the Way the Masters had Designed”
    © Alan Watt Aug. 31, 2010

    VIDEO: “The Century Of The Self” by Adam Curtis.
    Part 2 :

    Crowd Psychology Manipulation 1 of 24:

    Governments Employ Scientists in Behaviour Modification to Manipulate the Public (Bernays Techniques):

    Bernays gets America to Invade Guatemala by Propaganda Campaign–The Century Of The Self Pt. 2:

    Freudian/Bernays Connection of Writer of 10:10s Propaganda Movie “No Pressure”:

    Amd as Alan has well pointed out Bernays created Front Organizations with “Experts” to guide the masses. Democracy itself was a front organization.

    • Jan Irvin
      October 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks. Tried to get him on the show but no reply.

  13. November 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if someone has brought this up already, but is this tape slowed down or something or does this evil fuck actually sound that much like a demon? It sounds like his voice is abnormally low, but I never heard his voice before. hehe. What a dude…

    • Jan Irvin
      November 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      Yes, tape is slow… we tried to fix it. I’d have to re-record it to not lose too much quality. my apologies.

      • November 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        haha, no worries, bro. I’m just glad you replied… that voice was so surreal. I almost wish his voice DID sound more like a demon… maybe he wouldn’t have gotten away with this shit if that was the case. Here’s another demonic voice –>

        At any rate, thanks for uploading this. 🙂

  14. Sleek Minister
    December 21, 2012 at 4:20 am

    He says he wanted workers that were more occupied with reality than words, preferring not to hire writers, but men of action who could create precedent. I know of a poet who would have contended he had it upside down, atleast when it comes to oration.

    “He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” – Joseph Conrad

    Think Obama settled that argument… As for written text, Augustine noted in the late 300s that he had observed a man who -actually- read without sounding the words. Living in the times after Christianity had transitioned into a cult openly accepting, if not encouraging, warriors, we can probably assume that literacy had taken a serious hit to the bough in the general area of Western Rome, especially seeing as educated Romans were bilingual in the time of Cicero. A lot of meters in Greek drama, so the possibility exists, I suppose. At any rate, the language of education was predominantly Greek even in Augstines days and this is interesting because it was also the language of peoples almost completely subdued by Latin speakers. In plain terms, the ancients used the grammar-intensive language of Latin for all else than nurturing their spirit (severitas rather) and gaining a liberal footing, which of course was traditionally accomplished in the morphic-rich lingua franca of the day, Greek, always subject to hip shot derision on the part of speakers of the language of imperial conquest. Has a lot in common with the ambivalent relationship between English and French up to and throughout the Napoleonic era, though Spanish and Italian has held the position of Father Tongue for a much longer time than the sly merchants in north-west Europe. After the guillotine, German became a language for spiritual development, having fostered so many renowned philosophers, musicians and lyricians, and also having been on the forefront historically on religious freedom, but in truth, German rhetoric of the 1800s was poisoned heavily by pangermanic idealism. Still, we owe some thanks for coining words like zeitgeist and istigkeit. My point? The victor writes history and thus the disleveraged losers must write very well indeed. Bernays never had obstacles like Germanias fragmented sense of national pride. He played on the winning team from the get go and thus I have a hard time accepting that he was a brilliant demagogue. Atleast far from exceptionally so. Yes, he was quite successful and attained a few firsts, but in my opinion, oppurtunistic, ruthless piggy banker describes him much better. Nephew of Freud? Come on.

    Another thing I bit onto is the slurring drawl he insists, or should I say persists, to narrate in. Sure sign of a gigantic ego, but anyway; As we know, Woodrow Wilson had an infamous quote regarding pressure.

    “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

    By race, I suspect he means mercantile competition… He just might be that stupid, don’t you think? Cant speak of the powers in this world without also saying something of beauty. Of empathy. He’s trying to motivate his underlings, I think, dreaming his self away to a 6-rigged 1.-rate, with course set for mass murder and sugar plantations. Admirals jargon was probably still in high esteem, even a century after the invention of the ocean faring steam boat – we all know the life at sea poses some disturbing risks to a captain without authority over his men.

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