Event Title

1B3: Propaganda as Public Relations Antecedent: The Complex Legacy of the Creel Commission

Start Date

29-9-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

29-9-2018 10:00 AM

Description

Scholars have documented the impact of the Creel Commission on modern war correspondence (Lippmann, 1922; St. John, 2009a, 2009b, 2011), military censorship (Lippmann, 1922, Gitlin, 1986), political communication (Bernays, 1923, 1928), advertising (Bernays, 1942; Collins, 1993, 2001), and modern public relations (DeSanto, 2000; Myers, 2015). Their efforts in propaganda helped reposition public opposition to public support for the American War effort and for the Armistice from 1916-1919 through the use of print media, music, art, and other popular sources of information, entertainment, and culture of the period. Edward Bernays (1923, 1928) discusses the inauence of his work as part of the Creel Commission in helping him develop the public relations practice in his iconic texts Crystallizing Public Opinion and Propaganda. In his earliest assessments, Bernays naively saw the strategic value of strategic communication in shaping the collective public opinion to achieve greater social good. With the benefit of age and experience, those who participated in the Creel Commission came to see sobering consequences of their successful work. American journalist and Creel Commission member Walter Lippmann (1922) documented the dangers of propaganda, stereotyping, and censorship in serving manipulative ends for government. Media sociologist Michael Schudson (2008) called Lippmann’s Public Opinion the founding book of modern journalism. Bernays (1965) in his own memoir discussed the shock and frustration of learning that his earliest reflections on the power and impact of the Creel Commission’s work became a source of inspiration for Dr. Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi regime’s propaganda efforts to consolidate power and achieve the holocaust. This realization ultimately altered Bernay’s philosophy and helped turn him from a controversial figure in America to the architect of the ethics and best practices that led to the development of the Public Relations Society of America and the professional maturation of the discipline. While the history of the Creel Commission’s efforts is complex and controversial, it directly set the stage for modern public relations practices. One of its efforts was the 4 Minute Men campaign (Oukrup, 1975), which seems to exhibit essential elements of public relations practice to leverage local opinion leaders to garner support for ideas and adoption of new practices. More importantly, the work of the 4 Minute Men has yet to be explored through a contemporary lens of public relations scholarship to assess its alignment with modern practice. This paper is a case analysis of the planning and execution of the speaking tour. The author will analyze the content, choice of speakers, and aims of the campaign against modern public relations practices, as well as appropriate communication and mass communication theory to assess both effectiveness and alignment with best practices of modern public relations. The author will then assess how the practices of the speaking tour helped in part to set into motion public relations campaign practices the professionals still use today.

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Sep 29th, 9:00 AM Sep 29th, 10:00 AM

1B3: Propaganda as Public Relations Antecedent: The Complex Legacy of the Creel Commission

Scholars have documented the impact of the Creel Commission on modern war correspondence (Lippmann, 1922; St. John, 2009a, 2009b, 2011), military censorship (Lippmann, 1922, Gitlin, 1986), political communication (Bernays, 1923, 1928), advertising (Bernays, 1942; Collins, 1993, 2001), and modern public relations (DeSanto, 2000; Myers, 2015). Their efforts in propaganda helped reposition public opposition to public support for the American War effort and for the Armistice from 1916-1919 through the use of print media, music, art, and other popular sources of information, entertainment, and culture of the period. Edward Bernays (1923, 1928) discusses the inauence of his work as part of the Creel Commission in helping him develop the public relations practice in his iconic texts Crystallizing Public Opinion and Propaganda. In his earliest assessments, Bernays naively saw the strategic value of strategic communication in shaping the collective public opinion to achieve greater social good. With the benefit of age and experience, those who participated in the Creel Commission came to see sobering consequences of their successful work. American journalist and Creel Commission member Walter Lippmann (1922) documented the dangers of propaganda, stereotyping, and censorship in serving manipulative ends for government. Media sociologist Michael Schudson (2008) called Lippmann’s Public Opinion the founding book of modern journalism. Bernays (1965) in his own memoir discussed the shock and frustration of learning that his earliest reflections on the power and impact of the Creel Commission’s work became a source of inspiration for Dr. Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi regime’s propaganda efforts to consolidate power and achieve the holocaust. This realization ultimately altered Bernay’s philosophy and helped turn him from a controversial figure in America to the architect of the ethics and best practices that led to the development of the Public Relations Society of America and the professional maturation of the discipline. While the history of the Creel Commission’s efforts is complex and controversial, it directly set the stage for modern public relations practices. One of its efforts was the 4 Minute Men campaign (Oukrup, 1975), which seems to exhibit essential elements of public relations practice to leverage local opinion leaders to garner support for ideas and adoption of new practices. More importantly, the work of the 4 Minute Men has yet to be explored through a contemporary lens of public relations scholarship to assess its alignment with modern practice. This paper is a case analysis of the planning and execution of the speaking tour. The author will analyze the content, choice of speakers, and aims of the campaign against modern public relations practices, as well as appropriate communication and mass communication theory to assess both effectiveness and alignment with best practices of modern public relations. The author will then assess how the practices of the speaking tour helped in part to set into motion public relations campaign practices the professionals still use today.