Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 – December 14, 1974) was an American writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War, coining the term “stereotype” in the modern psychological meaning, and critiquing media and democracy in his newspaper column and several books, most notably his 1922 book Public Opinion.
- Lippmann was also a notable author for the Council on Foreign Relations, until he had an affair with the editor Hamilton Fish Armstrong’s wife, which led to a falling out between the two men.
- Lippmann also played a notable role in Woodrow Wilson’s post World War I board of inquiry, as its research director.
- His views regarding the role of journalism in a democracy were contrasted with the contemporaneous writings of John Dewey in what has been retrospectively named the Lippmann-Dewey debate.
- Lippmann won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his syndicated newspaper column “Today and Tomorrow” and one for his 1961 interview of Nikita Khrushchev.
He has also been highly praised with titles ranging anywhere from “most influential” journalist of the 20th century, to Father of Modern Journalism. Michael Schudson writes that James W. Carey considered Walter Lippmann’s book Public Opinion as “the founding book of modern journalism” and also “the founding book in American media studies.”
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Words of Wisdom
Between ourselves and our real natures we interpose that wax figure of idealization and selections which we call our character.