The science of modern propaganda arguably got its start over a century ago during World War I when a young Edward Bernays was recruited to help sell the conflict to a reluctant American populace, after which he took what he’d learned on that front and folded it into a lifetime of work on the study of mass-scale psychological manipulation. That was when propaganda, as we know it today, came into being, with the scientific method applied to the task of refining techniques for manipulating large-scale human behavior using modern media distribution. Those methods have been in research and development this entire time, and have advanced at least as much as our other instruments of warfare have advanced since World War I. But that wasn’t the beginning of mass-scale psychological manipulation by the powerful. That has been going on since the dawn of civilization.
Reading by Tim Foley.