Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: See it to believe it

Thursday, March 05, 2009

See it to believe it


Public Opinion/The Phantom Public - Walter Lippmann


In Walter Lippmann's piece, Public Opinion, he was able to explain the "secrets" of propaganda. Lippmann explains that society interpret things as a result of a series of events. "A report is the joint product of the knower and known, in which the role of the observer is always selective and usually creative. The facts we see depend on where we are placed, and the habits of our eyes...", (Lippmann, 183). Here Lippmann explains that the way we view a story or report all depends on what we are accustomed to seeing.


In a sense, Lippmann explains that the people believe the reports, whether factual or not, because they show them what the are expecting to see. "Photographs have the kind of authority over imagination today, which the printed word had yesterday, and the spoken word before that." (Lippmann 184). Mass media has a way of influencing ones' thoughts. Thus leaving the reader or viewer very gullible to believe anything they see/hear. Lippmann explains that the main reason is because propaganda only shows the reader what the want to see.

2 Comments:

Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good discussion of the material.

Lippmann is not discussing propaganda directly in this piece. He is discussing the psychology of human perception and the role that stereotypes, images and symbols play is structuring our "reality." Clearly these ideas would be useful to anyone interested in the nature of public opinion and perception, including propagandists.

3/11/2009 11:14 PM  
Blogger Patrice Klitz said...

Lippmann leaps in the right direction when discussing expectation and its impact on public opinion. He should have researched further to recognize that publicity is proven to be useful even when the message is not appealing.

12/28/2014 2:37 AM  

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