Let’s talk about Al Gore, PR and Ed Bernays — Whatdaya say?

October 10, 2007

Al Gore hasn’t much use for PR people, and that’s real clear in his latest book, “The Assault On Reason.” But today I’m wondering why the book, released last spring, hasn’t triggered significant discussion in the PR blogosphere. Maybe I can spark some here.

“The Assault on Reason” is about lying — deliberate, deceitful, organized lyinggore.jpg by the Bush administration. Yeah, it’s also a political book with an anti-W slant, but Gore presents a ton of evidence to support his claims. He explains to us just how adept government is a fooling the electorate, often using the tools of PR.

As Gore inspects the history of political lying, he sets his sights on Edward L. Bernays, the man he says turned the art of propaganda into a science of manipulation.

bernays.jpgIf you studied PR history in college, or later in preparation for the APR exam, you know Bernays as the acknowledged “father” of modern public relations. He is revered in the eyes of many who work in our business — a hero in a profession adept at manufacturing such heroes.

Bernays is credited as being the first to use the term “public relations counselor,” and the first to apply the ideas of social science to PR practice. Historians never fail to link Bernays’ knowledge of human nature to his DNA. Ed was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. Read the rest of this entry »