The Islamic State and the bewildered herd

Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays were masters at understanding how images and rhetoric could be manipulated in order to trigger certain psychological responses from the public. They perfected this craft over the course of World War I, while serving as advisers to President Wilson. Bernays served on the Committee for Public Information (Creel Committee), tasked with turning American public opinion towards military involvement in World War I. The strategy worked, and after the war Bernays took his talents to Madison Avenue where he became the “father of public relations.”

Bernays believed that people were innately stupid…