Toxic Sludge

Topics: Public relations, Propaganda, Edward Bernays Pages: 2 (595 words) Published: April 13, 2011
Toxic Sludge is Good For You
The short video shares a lot of information and views about the public relations industry. The opinion that is expressed is that the public relations industry manipulates the public opinion and the well-being of the general population. I agree with this entirely. Advertising and marketing is a form of propaganda, it has become a part of our culture and we don’t even notice it. Many Americans still believe that we are not influenced by it, but we are every day. Public relations firms go out of their way to keep their campaigns hidden from the public they seek to influence. I was shocked to hear that the news sometimes may not even be real news. I watch the news and love hearing all the new stories that are going on, and to hear that the PR may be behind as much as 50% of it with pre-made pre-packaged stories is pretty disappointing.

This type of manipulation is not something new that’s happening, it can be traced back to the twentieth century. Edward Bernays knew how to use the media to spread his message and help break the “taboo” of women smoking in public. He hired beautiful women and publicized them smoking in the Easter Day parade of 1929 to help the American Tobacco Company, and it worked. Corporations have learned that when a crisis happens, they need to manage the public perception. The Tylenol poisoning case was handled well and reassured the Americans that the problem would be resolved. Unlike the Exxon-Valdez oil spill which did very little to reassure the public and led to outrage.

Another interesting story that was brought to my attention from the movie was how Oprah Winfrey was sued after her episode about mad cow disease. She stated that she would never eat beef again, and was sued for it by a ranch in Texas that citied the disparagement law. The law came about from Alar, which is a pesticide used on apples. Consumer groups were attacking the product because they felt it was unsafe and were scared, this led PR...
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