Father of Spin: Analysis of Book on Edward Bernays

Topics: Edward Bernays, Propaganda, Public relations Pages: 5 (1703 words) Published: October 20, 2008
Edward L. Bernays deserves recognition far greater than that which he receives. “The father of spin” documents the career of Edward Bernays, the man himself and the monumental findings that precede him. Bernays not only fathered public relations as we know it he also shaped molded and embodied ideal practices of public relations and spin in everything that he did. Bernays and his studies did the unthinkable in that they were able to grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments and to live on with a sense of timelessness. The author Larry Tye describes Bernay’s in a very positive light. He organized the book in a way that outlines Bernay’s relations with various entities as the main points of “the Father of Spin”. Throughout the book, “the Father of Spin” he attests to Bernay’s greatness and the extent to which he was important to society. One example of Tye’s praise of Bernays was when he spoke of Bernays role in maintaining the situation between the country of Guatemala and the company which was then known as the United Fruit Company. When in actuality Bernay’s tactics (producing many articles across the mass media about the communist influence in Guatemala) actually led to a brutal uprising against the government; Larry Tye described it as Bernays "(remaining) a key source of information for the press, especially the liberal press, right through the takeover….[ ] he gave the first information regarding the takeover to the public”. Larry Tye was not very hard on the negatives of Bernays and his practices and in that sense the book may appear somewhat one-sided. Though Larry Tye casts Edward Bernays in a positively biased light, I still agree with his argument more than I disagree with it. I only disagree to the extent to which he was praised because from what I have read Bernays is motivated only by money and rarely morality and discretion in the sense of people’s health and safety. Bernays was very beneficial to society and many of the things that Larry Tye said about him have very strong support. As relayed by Larry Tye, Edward Bernay’s genius is undeniable. He is able to correlate ideas and concepts with products and services in order to expand business. When Tye writes of how Bernays acquired his first real “CEO” job as co-president of two medical papers that his friends father had given to them. He accounts the ambition and drive that the teenage Bernays demonstrated and how Bernays gave a young actor (Richard Bennett) the push he need to produce the movie, Damaged Goods. The book says that Bernays and cohort Fred Robinson organized the fund that paid for the production of the film only to be slighted by the actor/producer Richard Bennett. This demonstrated that even at a young age

Eddie Bernays himself desperately craved fame and a place in history. During his lifetime he worked and schemed to be remembered as the founder of his profession and sometimes drew ridicule from his industry colleagues for his incessant self-promotions. These schemes notwithstanding, Bernays richly deserves the title that Boston Globe reporter Larry Tye has given him in his engagingly written new book, The Father of Spin. In keeping with his obsessive desire for recognition, Bernays was the author of a massive memoir, titled Biography of an Idea, and he fretted about who would author his biography. He would probably be happy with Tye's book, the first written since his passing. The Father of Spin is a bit too fawning and uncritical of Bernays and his profession. We recommend it, however, for its new insights into Bernays, many of which are based on a first-time-ever examination of the 80 boxes of papers and documents that Bernays left to the Library of Congress. The portrait that emerges is of a brilliant, contradictory man. Tye writes that "Bernays' papers . . . provide illuminating and sometimes disturbing background on some of the most interesting episodes of twentieth-century history,...
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