<body> Public Ad Campaign: Public Opinion by Walter Lipman
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Public Opinion by Walter Lipman

I'm reading Walter Lippman's Public Opinion and came across some interesting quotes. The chapter they come from is called The Buying Public and talks about the tenuous relationship between advertisers, newspapers, and the buying public.

"It would be regarded as an outrage to have to pay openly the price of a good ice cream soda for all the news of the world, though the public will pay that and more when it buys the advertised commodities. The public pays for the press, but only when the payment is concealed [by advertising]."

Unlike those comoddities we are willing to pay for, the news is expected to be open, fair, truthful and above all free, in many ways a right in democratic society. It is in the end how we shape our understanding of the world we live in and then function as informed citizens.

"The real problem is that the readers of a newspaper, unaccustomed to paying the cost of news-gathering, can be capitalized only by turning them into circulation that can be sold to manufacturers and merchants."

Our inability to accept the cost of running what we want to be a democratic and transparent endeavor, the news, results in the sale of this institution to advertising and inevitably corporate interests.

The public environment we live in is not so dissimilar. In an effort to create a space true to the publics interest we must be willing to accept the cost and not rely on corporate sponsors to fund our public spaces, be they advertising, Business improvement Districts, Park Conservancies, or any other type of public institution funded by private monies.

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