Draft and Mastery Part I: Lippmann and Muckraking

lippmann-wI’m working on a Lippmann reading list, so in the next month or more it is likely some of the ideas I encounter while reading his books will appear on this blog.  My focus on his thought is related to a study I will be doing this spring that is still taking shape but will be related to religious currents at the turn of the century until pre-WWII that influenced journalism practice and social thought.  I also hope to relate these currents to specific events, such as the Scopes Trial, to illustrate the tensions between the new spirit of American Pragmatism and fundamentalist religion.  Lippmann’s commentary on these “countervailing” tendencies is crucial for this study. [Read More…]


Book Review: “Liberty and the News” by Walter Lippmann

liberty and the newsWhat role does the press play in a democracy?  Many would agree that it serves a critical “watchdog” function as a “fourth estate” that keeps an eye on the three branches of government to ensure responsibility and accountability.  It also provides vital information about local, national, and international events to enable citizens to be informed participants in governing themselves.  But what if this standard was unattainable, and not only because of the press but because of the impossibility of digesting the massive amount of information coming from the media?  In this book, one of the most prominent public figures of the 20th century tackles these questions, critiques the state of journalism, and poses fundamental questions about the role of the press in the democratic process. [Read More…]