Lippman on the Media

Walter Lippmann was an astute political philosopher, journalist, and economist. He (rightly) viewed competent journalists as critical to democracy, while ignorant journalists, and ignorance of journalism, was a threat to democracy.

Men who have lost their grip upon the relevant facts of their environment are the inevitable victims of agitation and propaganda. The quack, the charlatan, the jingo, and the terrorist, can flourish only where the audience is deprived of independent access to information.

Walter Lippmann, Liberty and the News, 1920

The journalist, Lippman believed, was the interpreter between policymakers and the public. While the people had the right to know about national policies, defense policy, he singled out, should not be shaped by public opinion.

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