Lippmann, Walter (1889–1974)

Walter Lippmann was one of the first political observers to identify and analyze the role of the media in shaping the opinions of the public. During his long career, he worked as a journalist, served in the national government, helped found the New Republic magazine, and wrote a syndicated national column. He is best known for his book, Public Opinion, published in 1922. When Lippmann contended in this famous book that news media provide the “pictures in our heads” that are more important than the reality of the “world outside,” he primarily applied his discussions to the print media. Many scholars and political professionals have found Lippmann's observations to be just as relevant to television and electronic media.

In Public Opinion, Lippmann built his case ...

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