Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Walter Lippmann by Shugfta Rani

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Walter Lippmann by Shugfta Rani

Walter Lippmann was a prominent American journalist who wrote during the first half of the twentieth century. In this article, Public Opinion/ The Phantom Public, he stated this reality that American people never played a role in the government decision-making. He described that citizens confused that they did not know about the true meanings, messages or plans under the policies that government and elites conveyed and issuing for the ordinary persons. public just knew that this decision was made for their betterment but beneath that order, there was a propaganda spread for a certain reason and benefit. He also mentioned that mostly, opinions come forward in the time of disaster and then lost the importance very soon.
Lippmann also observed the public psychology and stated about the facts, " for the most part we do not first see and then define, we define first and then see. In a 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."

Lippman indicated that public should enter in the phase of judgement and essential qualified decisions. He explained by an example, that public, just stayed long enough to know, who was a hero and who was a villain but should wait until the last curtain, then understand the situation.
In 1980, Ronald Steel wrote in his book Walter Lippmann and the American Century that, in the Phantom Public " Lippmann seemed to be arguing that decisions, however arrived at, have no moral value. They are bad, not because they may be unjust, but only if they cause social conflict. The main criterion is not justice but tranquility.


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