Propaganda doesn’t have the best reputation. We often associate it with manipulation, like Nazi propaganda in World War II. And we can still see its negative effects today, playing out in places such as Eastern Europe.
But propaganda isn’t inherently good or bad. It can be used for a wide range of purposes.
Consider public health. In the hands of the right leaders, propaganda is based on correct information, accurately conveying risks and rewards. It’s beneficial to society because the message is trying to convince the masses to do something that is good for everyone.
These were some of the insights of Edward Bernays, “the father of public relations.” Controversial in his own time, Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud and a character in his own right. Bernays was so good at advertising that he became famous, and served clients such as the US Army and Big Tobacco in the 1930s.
Whose messages are you shaped by today? Learn more in our Instaread on Propaganda.