Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 – December 14, 1974) was an influential United States writer, journalist, and political commentator. With a career spanning 60 years he is famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War, coining the term "stereotype" in the modern psychological meaning, as well as critiquing media and democracy in his newspaper column and several books, most notably his 1922 book Public Opinion.
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.
- Ours is a problem in which deception has become organized and strong; where truth is poisoned at its source; one in which the skill of the shrewdest brains is devoted to misleading a bewildered people.
- A Preface to Politics (1913), quoted in The Essential Lippmann, pp. 516-517
- Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
- The Stakes of Diplomacy New York: Henry Holt and Company (1915), p. 51
- Looking back we can see how indirectly we know the environment in which nevertheless we live. We can see that the news of it comes to us now fast, now slowly; but that whatever we believe to be a true picture, we treat as if it were the environment itself.
- Public Opinion (1922)
- It does not matter whether the right to govern is hereditary or obtained with the consent of the governed. A State is absolute in the sense which I have in mind when it claims the right to a monopoly of all the force within the community, to make war, to make peace, to conscript life, to tax, to establish and dis-establish property, to define crime, to punish disobedience, to control education, to supervise the family, to regulate personal habits, and to censor opinions. The modern State claims all of these powers, and, in the matter of theory, there is no real difference in the size of the claim between communists, fascists, and democrats.
- A Preface to Morals, New Brunswick: NJ, Transaction Publishers (1982) p. 80. First published in 1929.
- It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
- A Preface to Morals (1929)
- …the totalitarian states, whether of the fascist or the communist persuasion, are more than superficially alike as dictatorships, in the suppression of dissent, and in operating planned and directed economies. They are profoundly alike.
- Quote in The Good Society by Walter Lippmann, Transaction Publications (2005) p. 89. First published in 1937.
- Whether or not birth control is eugenic, hygienic, and economic, it is the most revolutionary practice in the history of sexual morals.
- If the estimate of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is correct, then Russia has lost the cold war in western Europe.
- The Miami Herald (December 18, 1947), p. 6A.
- The central drama of our age is how the Western nations and the Asian peoples are to find a tolerable basis of co-existence.
- "Asia and the West", New York Herald Tribune (European edition; September 15, 1965), p. 4
- The newspaper is in all its literalness the bible of democracy, the book out of which a people determines its conduct.
- quoted by Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times, Saturday, October 7, 2006
- The principles of the good society call for a concern with an order of being--which cannot be proved existentially to the sense organs--where it matters supremely that the human person is inviolable, that reason shall regulate the will, that truth shall prevail over error.
- With exceptions so rare they are regarded as miracles of nature, successful democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle, or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies. The decisive consideration is not whether the proposition is good but whether it is popular—not whether it will work well and prove itself but whether the active talking constituents like it immediately. Politicians rationalize this servitude by saying that in a democracy public men are the servants of the people.
- A large plural society cannot be governed without recognizing that, transcending its plural interests, there is a rational order with a superior common law.
- A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society. ...Without criticism and reliable and intelligent reporting, the government cannot govern. For there is no adequate way in which it can keep itself informed about what the people of the country are thinking and doing and wanting.
- International Press Institute Association, London, (27 May 1965)