Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Walter Lippmann's "Public Opinion" & "The Phantom Public"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Walter Lippmann's "Public Opinion" & "The Phantom Public"

In 1922 Walter Lippmann wrote "Public Opinion" and in 1925 he wrote "The Phantom Public" talks about how things change when people are in control of describing what is happening. A person's opinion will always be part of a report. If a person is reporting a scene he will use what he knows first before something he doesn't know. He will take something fairly familiar and make it very familiar and something he doesn't understand to something completely alien. This all changes when the art of photography came out. We did not need to rely on someone's descriptions and they can see what really is going on.

To relate this to something today is a car accident. If someone is in a car accident, the person that is hit might say that the accident was terrible and he hit me so hard. On the other hand, the person who hits the other might say that he barely touch him and it's nothing serious. If you take a picture of the car and the people involved you can tell how bad the accident was and make you own opinion rather then rely on the people telling the event.

With pictures becoming ideal way to show points, symbols started to become a way to promote things. Leaders have been using symbols since the poles and flags. Just like our Army uses symbols on there uniforms to show level and the amount of power. We also use symbols to show what they have achieved, goals they have met, actions they have completely, and acts of bravery.

In "The Phantom Public" Lippmann tells us opinions are broken down and shown to the public in one way. When they tells us how it is it takes out different ideas of the public and makes it a uniform idea instead of many different ideas.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

Lippmann is discussing the transition from a culture of the word to a culture of the image. The movies are for him the perfect modern media of persuasion. He is making a statement about human perception about human psychology, about the way we perceive the world around us, through a filter of stereotypes. We do not see the world objectively, with fresh eyes. If you wish to shape public opinion you need to work with the stereotypes through which we perceive reality.

2/20/2006 10:07 PM  

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