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Propaganda [Format Kindle]

Edward Bernays , Mark Crispin Miller
3.3 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

“Bernays’ honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist democracies.”—Noam Chomsky

“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.”—Edward Bernays, Propaganda

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891–1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed “engineering of consent.” During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would “Make the World Safe for Democracy.” The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon.

Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.

This is the first reprint of Propaganda in over 30 years and features an introduction by Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder.

Book Description

With politics taking centre stage due to the US presidential election, the time is perfect for a reprint of this classic work from Edward Bernays, the father of public relations and political spin and the man who designed the ad campaign that got the United States involved in World War I. Written in 1928, this was the first book to discuss the manipulation of the masses and democracy by government spin and propaganda.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Davantage qu'un simple traité de manipulation 19 mai 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Ouvrage fondateur d'une discipline (les relations publiques), "Propaganda" est entouré d'une réputation sulfureuse pour son soi-disant cynisme et son parti pris assumé pour la manipulation de la majorité par une minorité "intelligente". En réalité, le livre frappe surtout par son réalisme et sa capacité à pousser jusqu'au bout la logique des sociétés démocratiques. Il n'invente pas la manipulation des masses: il constate que dans la société moderne, elle est inévitable, seule façon d'éviter le chaos et de conserver un certain ordre dans la société. Il appartient aux dominants d'en faire le meilleur usage. Effectivement, rien ne garantit que des abus ne seront pas commis, mais Bernays souligne que "vendre" des mensonges au public risque fort de se retourner finalement contre les menteurs. "Propaganda" apparaît surtout comme un plaidoyer pour une nécessaire transparence (mesurée et canalisée, certes) des organisations aux différents publics auxquels elles ont affaire: dans une société démocratique, le black-out n'est pas une option, et il est donc impératif de réfléchir au discours que l'on doit tenir à chacun de ses interlocuteurs. Un message qui, mine de rien, reste fortement d'actualité.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
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In this book Bernays summarized the role, and the purpose of propaganda, while stressing on its importance in a democratic society.
This book is very easy to read, and provide the reader with a consistent and relevant conceptual background to analyse propaganda and manipulation.
Altough it was published more than 80 years ago, it is still relevant and prevent intelligent readers to loose themselves in the works of Chomsky or others, which come to similar conclusions, but are no easy readings.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A Non-Book 18 janvier 2014
Par Armen
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Until the last page I was hoping that now the author will unveil the secret of propaganda. Nothing came.
Try other books.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  152 commentaires
269 internautes sur 274 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 5 Stars--but Not in a literary sense 27 novembre 2002
Par Joe Gasper - Publié sur
The first lines: "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 rulling power of our country." This was written in 1928. This newphew of Sigmund Freud worked in Woodrow Wilson's creation, the Committee on Public Information, and saw first hand how the public's mind can be manipulated. Wilson was elected on a peace platform and had to transform the country to go to war against the German Kaiser. Bernays later helped publicize the American Tobacco Company, and is credited as a "father" of public relations. Anyone interested in understanding how the masses are moulded by the powers that be must read this book!
160 internautes sur 169 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Invaluable resource for Americans 6 janvier 2005
Par N. P. Stathoulopoulos - Publié sur
The rating here is primarily for the value of this book, smartly put back into print.

Propaganda, though written in the late 1920s, is an excellent resource for a citizen in general. This manual, a seminal document, is a key resource on the thoughts and workings of the public relations industry, then only a speck compared to what it is today. Everything from corporate PR to advertising in general has basically internalized what is covered in this book in order to serve those institutional functions that mold the public's mind.

This is all related to the 'manufacture of consent', something that Chomsky, who writes a good intro here, and Ed Herman explored in depth in their book 'Manufacturing Consent' where they lay down a Propaganda Model.

This is a huge topic for Americans, period. While media and their role, and their 'slants' is a hot topic (sometimes even within the media, but to limited scope of discussion) this book is a straightforward reprint of the PR industry manual. It's no 'secret'--it's more like company policy. It's far more illuminating than the latest pundit book of the week, discussing, among other things, the 'liberal' media, say.

Don't let the intro or its author derail you from reading this--this is nothing more than a mini-bible on how to manipulate the masses in an institutional framework (media, PR, government, etc). There's nothing really controversial here, since this is basically a historical document that still holds up after decades. Highly recommended.
88 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Important book 20 novembre 2005
Par C. Furnes - Publié sur
I'm glad this book has been re-published so people can read it. This is a book that until now have been very hard to obtain. For years this book was the unofficial handbook for the PR industry. It is important to read and understand the contents of this book to understand the history of PR. The book gives a foundation to understand the fine art of "control of the public mind" that we see today. This book can perhaps throw some light on the techniques used in present history concerning among other the "War on Terror". I will also recommend "Crystallizing Public Opinion" by the same author (if you can find it) and "Public Opinion" by Walter Lippmann.

As already stated in a review, the 5-star rating is primarily for the value (and importance) of this book.
32 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sheeple 15 février 2011
Par Henry Blane Cox - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This book is about manipulating people. It is written from a Ranchers point of view with the majority of us, his herd. He can't force you (at least in a civil society) to drink but he can secretly salt your oats. I was disappointed to learn that a heary breakfast is a contrived idea since breakfast is my favorite meal.

Now that I know some propaganda techniques, I will have an ever growing suspicion of ads, speeches, even photos and videos of the news. It reminds me of learning to play a musical instrument. I no longer listen to the music; I analyze it, deconstruct it and map it...I do everything but enjoy it.

A fascinating and somewhat sad read.
149 internautes sur 174 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Read the title - he ISN'T joking 12 août 2006
Par PJ - Publié sur
In a piece of amazingly brazen subterfuge, Bernays gives his book a title - "Propaganda" - which doesn't tell you what the book is ABOUT so much as what the book IS.

That is to say, as Mark Crispin Miller points out in the Introduction, the true nature of this book is to act as propaganda for propaganda. To get the full message on how to carry out propaganda you have to watch what Bernays is actually DOING. If all you take from the book is what Bernays says overtly about how to mount a propaganda campaign you will have missed the whole point of the book.

Bernay's central message is, in effect, "Never openly admit what propaganda is." And to this end he carefully confuses and conflates propaganda, PR and straightforward advertising. Indeed, although he uses the term "propagandist" a number of times in the book, he usually referred to himself as a "personal relations counsel".

As an example of how this confusion technique is used in this book, Bernays makes the perfectly reasonable claim that manufacturers need to use advertising to bring their products to the notice of the general public, but manages to blur the distinction between advertising and propaganda so as to make it seem that it is propaganda which is a perfectly natural process in a well-organized society.

First of all he sets us up by a series of seemingly reasonable but actually quite ludicrous statements (page 39 - it's a long Introduction):

"In practice, if everyone went around pricing, and chemically testing before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would be hopelessly jammed."

[Yes it would, but don't we actually test many things in a less exhaustive way every time we go shopping? Obviously we do know quick and simple ways to evaluate goods before we purchase without having to go to ridiculous extremes like "chemical testing".]

"To avoid such confusion, society consents to have its choice narrowed to ideas and objects brought to its attention through propaganda of all kinds."

[Oh really? When did this "consent" take place? Do we really only consider purchasing goods which we've seen advertised somewhere? And notice the way Bernays slips in "propaganda" when he is really talking about "advertising".]

And finally he presents us with the (utterly false) claim that propaganda is a necessity, AS IF his previous comments logically led to this conmclusion:

"We must find a way to make free competition function with reasonable smoothness. To achieve this society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda. ...

"The instruments by which public opinion is organized and focused may be misused. But such organization and focusing are necessary to orderly life."

Translation: "For an orderly life the people must be made to think and believe what they are told to think and believe - by people like me."

Which brings us to the crux of the book, the answer to the question: "What is propaganda?"

When he finally gets round to giving a simple, straightforward answer to the question (page 161), Bernays writes:

"... propaganda is simply the establishing of reciprocal understanding between an individual and a group."

Which is pure twaddle, and Bernays knew it was twaddle. And we know he knew it was twaddle because he started his career as a propagandist as a member of the Creel Commission during WW1. The Creel Commission, officially known as the "Committee on Public Information" had the task of filling the general population of the US, the majority of whom were pacifists and wanted no part in the European war, with the kind of thoughts and emotions that would move them to support the use of American troops in Europe on the side of Britain and France against Germany.

Bernays briefly describes that work in this book (page 54) where he refers to:

"... the manipulators [i.e. Bernays, Walter Lippmann, etc.] of patriotic opinion made use of the mental cliches and the emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged atrocities, the terror, and the tyranny of the enemy."

Translated into plain English that means:

"We borrowed from the Allies a collection of lurid and bloodcurdling lies* about the Germans, and added a few of our own, such that no decent person reading the material or seeing the pictures (artists' and film makers' impressions, of course) could help but feel that we had no choice but to defeat the barbaric people who were committing such atrocities."

(*One particularly effective piece of propaganda was the totally fictitious story that German soldiers invading Belgium had started eating Belgian babies - raw!)

In other words, propaganda isn't about anything as mundane as promoting envy and greed to sell goods, it is about the deliberate manipulation of people's thoughts and feelings, in a covert (or, less frequently, an overt) manner, to get them to ascent to policies, etc. they might otherwise resist.

Bernays' book is of some small interest as an example of an early modern propagandist at work, and gives some examples of the kind of strategies he employed (all the examples in the book, unless otherwise stated, refer to his own work). However, I believe it makes a lot more sense for a 21st century audience if read in conjunction with Noam Chomsky's book "Media Control" (ISBN 1-58322-536-6).
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