Quiz: identify the author or date of the quote (Updated/Answered)

A new fun feature for the website: identify the author or year of a quote. The first person to correctly identify the author or the year will receive a $10 Amazon gift card from the MountainRunner Institute. Submissions must be made in the comments of this post on the MountainRunner blog. This post will be updated with the full answer and context when there is a winner. The contest closes in 7 days regardless of whether there is a winner. I have sole discretion in judging the contest. Anonymous entries may win if they include an email for follow up or a simultaneous email to me. 

Here’s the quote:

The United States Government should create a Secretary of Public Relations as a member of the President’s cabinet. The function of this official should be correctly to interpret America’s aims and ideals throughout the world, and to keep the citizens of this country in touch with government activities and the reasons which prompt them. He would, in short, interpret the people to the government and the government to the people.

Have an idea? Add it in the comments.

Update: the answer is below.

This quiz was clearly too easy: the answer was submitted nearly immediately by Katherina. However, her context was incorrect, but that was not a requirement.

Steve below mentions David Lawrence as the source. In Propaganda (page 126), Bernays did refer to Lawrence as describing the need for an “intelligent interpretative bureau” in government “in a recent speech.” The Secretary of Public Relations, however, comes after Bernays (page 127) apparently offers his own specifics: “There should be, I believe, be an Assistant Secretary of State who is familiar with the problem of dispensing information to the press.” The next paragraph includes the recommendation to create the Secretary of Public Relations.

Continue Bernays’s comments (127-128):

Such an official would be neither a propagandist nor a press agent, in the ordinary understanding of those terms. He would be, rather, a trained technician who would be helpful in analyzing public thought and public trends in order to keep the government informed about the public, and the people informed about the government. …

Is this government by propaganda? Call it, if you prefer, government by education. But education, in the academic sense of the world, is not sufficient. It must be enlightened expert propaganda through the creation of circumstances, through the high-spotting of significant events, and the dramatization of important issues. The statesman of the future will thus be enabled to focus the public mind on crucial points of policy and regiment a vast, heterogeneous mass of voters to clear understanding and intelligent action.

Next time, the quiz will be more challenging. The next quiz will go up in 2 – 3 weeks on a Monday morning.

6 thoughts on “Quiz: identify the author or date of the quote (Updated/Answered)

  1. Matt – I think this quote is from the book “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays, the “Godfather of PR.” He talks about an Assistant Secretary of State that acts as a propagandist that feeds information to the press but also is the liaison for the “people to the government and the government to the people,” as discussed in the quote..

  2. Good answers. Steve, my read – as I note in the updated post – is that the quote is an original thought by Bernays that is at most influenced by Lawrence. Please correct me if I’m wrong: do you have Lawrence’s ‘recent speech’?The post has been updated with the correct answer and context. Katherina wins. Although her context was a bit off, she gave Bernays.
    Next time, the quiz will be more challenging.

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