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 to pass the disparagement law which made it illegal to question the safety of any food product without verifiable scientific proof. The PR industry seems to be good at doing what they can to make things right for their clients.
I don’t think she should have been sued; she was just speaking her mind and didn’t directly point anybody out. It is frightening to think that we can’t even really trust anything that’s going on, because you never know who’s going to be behind it. I was shocked when I heard how the biotechnology industry hired public relations firms in the U. S to attempt to assure people that the genetically modified organisms (GMO) was not only safe, but also an essential for feeding and nourishing people in third world countries.
The issue is very controversial because you never know who’s word to trust or if what is actually going on. Media is everywhere today, and so are public relation companies. But they are not all bad, sometimes the publicity is to inform the public about things happening around them, or to assist hospitals. These people are definitely professionals at what they do and shift and influence our perceptions every day. They use there tools to make us believe and think what they want. It is incredible that the multibillion dollar business is largely invisible and manipulates our population daily.