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Walter Lippmann's "Public Opinion"

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This is a great book on the weakness of democracy in modern society where voters can be so misled.


It was written a century ago, at the birth of this modern corruption of democracy.


The country strongly opposed entering World War I, which the president had pledged not to enter, and then changed his mind. What to do?


For the first time in American history, the president set out on a massive project to change public opinion. He literally hired thousands of people to tour the country giving speeches arguing for his policy. He got his war.

Lippmann was involved in this and witnessed the change in the public, and wrote this book to discuss how limited voters are in staying well informed in the face of propaganda fed to them.


He made suggestions that were largely adopted for 'good government' after - the creation of independent, neutral 'experts' to advise the government on policy - the de-politicization of input.


Of course, Republicans today are the opposite of his recommendations - they appoint the enemies of agencies to head them.


Telecomm exec against the public on net neutrality to head the FCC, lifetime enemy of the environmental protections to head the EPA, 'abolish the Department of Energy' Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy, on and on - Bush appointed 150 industry executives and lobbyists to oversee the regulatory agencies they had opposed.


And this is what we see today - the Republican voters fed a false set of facts leading them to the wrong positions on policies, in a bubble.

This is a great book to better understand the problem and how our democracy has been overcome.

Why the requirement of democracy for an informed citizenry is so vulnerable in the face of a massive machine to mislead the voters.

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