Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Walter Lippman's Modern Dinamics of Public Opinion

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Walter Lippman's Modern Dinamics of Public Opinion

"For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define
first and then see. In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer
world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend
to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by
our culture...( p2)".
Walter Lippman, was a great thinker and important commentator of the 1920s-1970s. He was also a theorizer on the dynamics of public opinion. He, along with Arthur Bullard, convinced president Woodrow Wilson that propaganda was very necessary for America to be successful during WWI. He published two books, Public Opinion (1922), and The Phantom Public (1925). In these books he expresses how the public's perceptions are shaped. He says that we imagine most things before we experience them, therefore we form preconceptions that unless our education is able to make us aware, we might perceive thigs in a different way, which might not be the intended message. He also believes that images, symbols, and the image of a leader are very important to capture an audience.



Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post on a complex point.

Lippmann is arguing that humans do not percieve an objective reality, that we only see the world through a filter of the stereotypes and preconceptions of our culture and socialization.

What are the implications for the propagandist?

2/23/2008 12:08 PM  

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