Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Walter Lipmann's Public Opinion

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Walter Lipmann's Public Opinion

"For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see. In great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us...." (Lippmann, 183)
What immediately came to my mind when I read this passage was the topic of dating. As shallow as it is, I know many people; some who are my friends and who won't date a person who is ugly or fat. ...What is the definition of ugly? ... What is the definition of fat? we learned those definitions from our society; but are they correct .... is there even one that is correct?
Overall, I think that Walter Lippmann is telling us the straight facts of how humans think and percieve things. He argues that people don't always seem to really view things through reality or in depth. The reason for that would be society; it gives us all these stereotypes or tells us these social norms. People's opinions can be easily swayed by the enviornment they are in. Certain behaviors and actions are just seen as acceptable or not in different societies. Peoples thoughts are refined by the society they are in.

2 Comments:

Blogger faraz kayani said...

You are right that society gives us or molds our perceptions, but more clearly, it is the media, for example, the television, hollywood - all these institutions are what produce our perceptions, opinions and for many of us, it defines who we are. So that's why your post is very interesting and it reminds us that in today's society, there are very few people who rationally think about life in general, meanwhile majority of the people have allowed the media to mass produce their lifestyle, and have allowed the media to act as their social architects. This is why we are having high rates of psychological disorder - and one study shows that the television gives such a high and unattainable vision of life, that when people go out in the world - they feel unsatisfied.

3/07/2009 5:38 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

A thoughtful post followed by a good comment.

Lippmann raises the idea that people experience the world through a filter of stereotypes and expectations that shape their perception of reality. This is an important realization for persuasion professionals who are seeking to influence the way people see the world.

3/11/2009 11:03 PM  

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