The world in present day 2016 is at an age of mass consumption. With mass consumption comes a mob mentality known as public opinion. Figures, such as celebrities, have massive influence over the general public opinion, determining what is popular and what is not. It is hard to influence people with the mob mentality to change their minds on subjects, especially since their opinions are based on very strong and intense emotions. Reason is not often the determining factor in manipulating public opinions.
It was suggested that an event in which the most human groups would be brought into juxtaposition with the president would have the desired result. Actors and actresses were invited to breakfast with Mr. Coolidge at the White House. The country felt that a man in the White House who could laugh with Al Jolson and the Dolly sisters was not frigid and unsympathetic.
As the above quote states, from “Manipulating Public Opinion: The Why and How” by Edward L. Bernays, American citizens were more persuaded to change their opinion on the president when someone they admired, a celebrity, was present to sway their emotions. The most effective way to manipulate people into believing something is to manipulate their emotions.
Sometimes, however, manipulation of public opinion is easier said than done. As Bernays said towards the end of the piece: “Take, for example, the feeling that used to exist against margarine… Yet the prejudice carried over, and a difficult campaign is still being waged to remove this prejudice.” Even with popular sponsors of margarine and the assurance of the safety of the product on the human body, people are still stuck in their ways. Some people may believe one thing their entire life, and to present them with facts that disprove this lifelong belief is shocking, and often causes the person to retreat farther into their belief out of fear.
“He who seeks to manipulate public opinion must always heed it.” Bernays point in this final sentence of the chapter was to imply that if one wants to change the mob’s mentality, one must participate in that same mob mentality. It makes sense because in order to find an effective solution to a problem, one must understand the entirety of that problem. Public figures seem to heed the public opinion, and seem to share it, that is why so many people trust public figures and are so ready to change their opinions because said public figure changes his or her opinion.