Public Interest (Media Studies)

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  • What benefits the public as a whole. This is a vague, immeasurable, and variously defined concept with a long history, often used interchangeably with the term public good.

    In the utilitarian tradition of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, public interest is “the greatest good for the greatest number.” The media critic Walter Lippmann (1955) defined it as “what men would choose if they saw clearly, thought rationally, acted disinterestedly and benevolently.”

    The provision of public goods is said to be in the public interest. Public goods are available to everyone in a community regardless of whether or not they want to make use of them. Public health programs, public schools, pollution control programs, and parks are all considered public goods. Such public goods are generally financed ...

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