Harold Burson

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Harold Burson founded, and was was chairman and President of the public relations firm of Burson-Marsteller (BM).

Burson Marsteller has had a long working relationship with Philip Morris, and helped them establish and operate the smokers rights front group, the National Smokers Alliance.

On a visit to Australia in 1998 Burson told Paul McIntyre of The Australian, "I'm totally opposed to front organisations that do not disclose where their funding comes from and to my knowledge - we're a big company - we have never started or organised a group where the funding sponsorship was unknown." [1]

In 2006 a Der Spiegel journalist interviewed Burson and asked him about the role of Edward Bernays in shaping the course of modern PR. "Bernays thought that he could control public opinion. His methodology, of course, was fundamental. Most of the things we do today were identified by Bernays 80 years ago. He had brilliant ideas. I met him a few times, but didn’t like him. He was one of the most egocentric people I have ever met," Burson said. [2]

Asked about B-M's work for the Argentinian Department of Trade promoting foreign investment at the time of the military dictatorship he said "Had I known that I would still be defending our work in Argentina after 30 years, I wouldn't have accepted the military government as a client." [3]


Contact Details

Blog: http://hb.burson-marsteller.com/

Other SourceWatch Resources


  1. Paul McIntyre, "First doctor of spin", The Australian, March 25 1999.
  2. "Master of deception", Der Spiegel, July 31, 2006.
  3. "Master of deception", Der Spiegel, July 31, 2006.

External links

Book Extracts by Burson

During 2003 Burson wrote a series of articles on his work in founding and overseeing the growth of Burson-Marsteller.

Articles Mentioning Burson

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