• September 19, 2023
  • By Josh Watterud

This is the second blog in a series. First blog / Third blog

Ivy Lee father of Publicity

Up to this point we have not mentioned it, but Bernays had a competitor who we could think of in retrospect as a business partner in the establishing of Public Relations as a profession. His name, Ivy Ledbetter Lee. Lee was an intriguing character. He developed a highly effective method of damage control after the Rockefellers and other mine owners hired “detectives” to trap and shoot coal miners in Ludlow Colorado with a gatling gun mounted to a homemade armored vehicle as a response to their strike.

The pesky peasants wanted bearable living conditions such as actual building structures for their families. This way they wouldn’t whimper and die in the winter. Despite these firing raids in the dead of night into the tents they lived in, they just wouldn’t die. When they wouldn’t shut up and work like good “free” workers, these “detectives” set every tent on fire with the families inside them.

The national attention in conjunction with the awkward silence from the Rockefellers started to taint the good name. This was once the family who provided energy to America as well as the means of production. Now they are responsible for the kinds of behavior fit only for an evil tyrant!

Enter Ivey Lee.

Humble Beginnings

Born the son of a Methodist preacher in Atlanta Georgia in 1877, Ivy Lee grew up seeing the path of development of polished orators as well as witnessing the effects they had on groups of people in the Christian faith.

John Rockefeller Sr. and Jr.

In his adult life, Lee would go on to coin a term we use so often today. “Publicity

As a self-described publicist, Lee developed methods of self-development in the public eye and ways to limit the damage certain blunders would cause to the public’s perception of a company or individual. His stance was that large conglomerates should not shy away from publicity. Instead, they should lean into it with tact and strategy.

This is the advice he gave to the Rockefellers who were understandably fearful of the press considering the Ludlow Massacre they had been involved with. Rockefeller’s instinct was to fight with marketing, but Lee advised against spending any kind of money to fix this problem directly. It was, after all, an ideological battle between rich and poor.

Instead, Rockefeller should “make their story available to the newspaper, say whatever they have to say over their own signatures, and take full responsibility for accuracy.” Mind you, this is their publicist speaking. We know now that this is a solid way to direct the narrative. You hold the cards if you are “telling the truth” whatever facts you withhold are your own to keep. No one can prove otherwise… “take full responsibility for accuracy” means you audit yourself. You alone bear the full weight of the responsibility. This is a great thing if no one else comes along to share such a responsibility.

Public Railroading

Publicity and The Congressional Pennsylvania RailroadJust 9 years earlier, Lee created the first ever Press Release to provide damage control to a famous derailment of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. There is an old saying, “there are three sides to any story. Your side, my side, and the truth lies in the middle.” The idea of the press release stems from a similar theory. If you hold a press release, you hold the ability to inform the public. You can share your side of the story and form the narrative. For this to be truly informative to the public, the opposing side needs to be heard too. In the case of the derailment, this was rather difficult as the other side was already dead.

In the case of the Ludlow Massacre, the victims and their families had already held press releases where they were able to speak their side. This story disgusted and outraged the entire country.

Look Like One of Them
Riverside Church
Riverside Memorial Church NY

Ivy Lee advised John Rockefeller Jr. to spend time with his minors and appear to be on their level. Of course, the press would be there. Someone of that kind of class wouldn’t be caught dead in such insect ridden conditions unless it was to make a spectacle.

His work was not over yet. In the years that followed, Lee coached JDR Jr. in the creation of various philanthropic Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) as a means of ammo generation for the use of damage control. He was instrumental in the building of the Rockefeller Center, the Reconstruction of Williamsburg, and the founding of the Riverside Memorial Church, “as means of explaining the ideas and purposes of the Rockefellers.” In other words, these constructs were established to make the Rockefellers gods of society. It most certainly worked as they still live in so many minds rent free. The pharmaceutical industry is a testament to that.

Expanding the Client Base

American IG Chemical CorporationThe leaders of IG Farben, the company which made up almost all of Auschwitz camp, saw Lee’s work from across the pond. Surely it was only a matter of time given their close working relationship with Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Lee was able to work with a villainous name like Rockefeller, known for torture and bloodshed, and turn it into a Godly name of philanthropy in a very short time. They desperately needed the same thing to cover their own sins so they could continue to scale up with little scrutiny.

Some of the wealthiest bankers in the world were on the supervisory Board of Directors of IG Farben. In fact, one of these bankers was Max War-burg. He just so happened to be the brother of one Paul Warburg. A founding member of the Federal Reserve System in the United States. Max happens to be the only board member who was not convicted of any war crimes. Now we start to see that the Nazi agenda may not have been limited to the Nazis of Germany.

Word Games

Ivy Lee began working as public relations counsel for IG Farben in the United States in 1929. In 1934 he had to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee on his work for Farben. He said that IG Farben and the American Farben firm were affiliated.

House Committee investigating Un-American activities
House Committee investigating Un-American activities

“The American IG is a holding company with directors such people as Edsel Ford, Walter Teagle, one of the officers of the City Bank.” He was being paid $25,000 a year under a contract made with Max Ilgner, one of the Board of Director’s. Lee’s job was simple. Counter criticism directed towards IG Farben within the United States.

Lee’s advice: “In the first place, I have told them that they could never in the world get the American people reconciled to their treatment of the Jews: that that was just foreign to the American mentality and could never be justified in the American public opinion, and there was no use trying. In the second place, anything that savored of Nazi propaganda in this country was a mistake and ought not to be undertaken. Our people regard it as meddling with American affairs, and it was bad business.” Surely to the critical mind this looks like advice to change your words not deeds.

Sugar Coat It

In his work for IG Farben-America, Ivy Lee specifically claimed that he did not spread propaganda. Instead, he told the Nazi’s that if they want success in America and with American companies, they need to be careful about their bragging about what they do to Jews. Not everyone in this country is sentimental to those views. In other words, “I don’t care what you do as long as I am paid, but don’t tell everyone because you will make less money.”


For such false apostles as these are deceitful workers disguising themselves as apostles of Messiah. And no wonder: for Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Therefore it is not great if his servants also are disguised as servants/ministers of righteousness: whose end will be according to their works. ~2 Cor. 11:13-15 (One New Man Bible)

To be Continued

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