Reading Notes

The following are books read and referenced in the recent past and present.  All sources are paraphrased and page referenced for further reading and referral.

Lippmann, W. (1997). Public opinion. New York:  Free Press Paperbacks

Press Inaccuracy: q.v. biographies of John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and Sam Adams. (p.xi )

Assumptions: There are at least two distinct selves, the public and regal self, the private and human. The biographies of great people fall more or less readily into the histories of these two selves. (p.5)

Fact is not understood as fact but perception of fact. (p. 5)

Hero/Idol worship. (p.7)

Political bodies/Pseudo-Environments. (p.13)

Humans have reason, habits, emotions, prejudices, and process and categorize info accordingly.  We define by stereotypes. These are our safety nets. (q.v. Hume, Treatise of Human Nature). (p. 15)

Perception is everything. (p. 18)

Income/Social Status/Rank/Influence. (Ch 3 and p32)

Interpretation of Language. (Ch 5)

Transliteration. (p. 43)

Manufacturing of consent? (p. 158)

Stereotypes (CH 6): Stereotype precedes use of reason (p. 65), education, criticism, stereotypes. (p. 65)

For when a system of stereotypes is well fixed, our attention is called to those facts which support it and divert it from those which contradict. (p. 78)

The “good” intentions of liberals to “help” those “less fortunate” under classes (using their liberal prejudices of what is good, proper, normal, all middle and upper class prejudices through a filter of “helping” people to mould them in one’s own image). (p. 97)

Pictures convey ideas best. Words are second in calling up pictures in memory. (p. 105)

Good and evil are fixed as true by stereotype acquired from earlier experiences and carried over into later judgments. (p.107)

People are more interested in themselves than anything else. (p. 108)

All propaganda is self-interpreted and self-interested, even in the mind of the propagandist. (p. 109)

Political symbols (q.v. Political Symbols references) and People As Symbols. (CH 13)

Elections. (p. 148)

US Constitution. (p. 175)

Congress. (p. 181)

The dullness of factual and honest whistleblowers vs. the comfort and safety of common and familiar stereotypes (CH 25)

Appeal to reason and analysis of the facts behind the “News” (CH 28). Lippmann ends on an optimistic note that we can overcome the existing apathy, prejudice and official societal conditioning but not easily.


Lippmann, W. (1993).  The phantom public.  New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.A.: Transaction.

q.v. Non-voting: Causes and Methods of Control by Merriam ande Gosnell. (p. 7)

Universal moral code does not exist. (p. 25)

Man does not live who can read all the reports that come across his doorstep or all the dispatches in his newspapers. (p. 33)

Making of a general will out of a multitude consists of the use of symbols, which assemble emotions detached from ideas. –Feelings more poignant and less specific. (p. 37)

ELECTION is based upon majority rule, is a sublimated and denatured civil war without violence, institutionalized, bloodless civil war. (p. 48)

The Public does NOT express opinions but aligns itself for or against proposals that are presented. (p. 51)

Definition of a particular public. (p. 67)

Nature of a problem – cycle of infinite change and nothing remaining static. Absolutes do not exist in this realm. (p. 71)

Criteria of “radical” differences between the “Ins” and the “Outs” and why we never verge on rebellion. (p. 117)

Test of assent and conformity and whether problems exist or not. (Chapter XI)

Principles of Public Opinion (p. 134)

Liberalism (pp. 152, 162)


Bernays, E. (2011). Crystallizing Public Opinion. Brooklyn, NY: Ig Pub.

“Lobby groups”/Trade Associations—various departments (p. 73)

Publicity and Paul Revere (p. 75)

“Logic-Proof Compartments” and adherence to dogma and a priori judgments (pp. 91-92

Newspapers reflect the public they serve (p. 99 and Lippmann, above)

Group and herd mentality, individuals, groups, and collective herd mentality. (p. 117)

Who decides the news.  [Lippmann makes the same observation] (p128)

Primary instincts as referenced by Bernays and discussed by William McDougall, psychologist (p. 156)

Education and propaganda (p. 200)


G.D. Tarde, & Clark, T.N. (2010). On communication and social influence:  Selected papers.  Chicago:  University of Chicago.

Invention, Imitation, Opposition.  Social theory of five elements: actor, goals, conditions, means, norms. (p. 19)

All of the above are elaborated through three central concepts: Invention, Imitation, Opposition. (p. 21)

Internal factors of intellectual development-principle of accumulation and principle of irreversibility (p. 24)

External conditions that influence internal belief [TABLE] (p. 39)

Newspapers, complemented by personal influence, disseminate and reinforce the norms of a social system. (p.105)

Opposition and political parties (pp. 171-172)

Beginning of statistics (pp. 215-217)

Image loses potency when it moves from visual to auditory senses (or motor) (p. 225)

In an overexcited crowd, sensations are not reciprocally aroused but beliefs and desires…. Their whole is more their product than their sum. (pp. 225-226)

Truth and value (or enlightenment and wealth) (pp. 226-228)

Definition of opposition in re. infinite progress until the progression slows, levels out, slowly rises, and is replaced by some new variation with some rare regression whether strong opposition or negative ideas spread against the progression of another. (p. 232)

Impatience of crowds vs. individuals – mutual contagion of sentiments spread from one individual to another. (p. 291)

Opinion consists of opinion proper (a tonality of judgments) and general will (a tonality of desire) (p. 297)

Definition of journalist (p. 304)

Origin of the newspaper – The letter, the personal letter, filled with personal news of family, neighbors, and gossip…. (p. 317)

Mcluhan, M., and Gordon, W.T. (2003). Understanding media:  The extensions of man.  Corte Madera, CA:  Gingko Press. 

…like the voice of the literate man… “Personally I pay no attention to ads.” (p. 31)

Mcluhan vis a vis Ellul and the inevitability of technology/the Medium. (Chapter 1)

Contrast.  “However backward cultures…able to confront and to understand electric technology.”  Which see Ellul, Propaganda and his tenet that the uneducated are better able to withstand the effects of propaganda better than the educated. (pp. 43-44)

The demand for media and the “choice” involved and giving up one’s rights to media “free will”. (p. 99)

q.v. Henri Bergson. (p. 113)

q.v. Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power. (p. 119)

No causality in logic-David Hume- there is just logical sequence that causes the assumption of causality.  (p. 121)

“Psychological conditioning in the ways of uniformity and repeatability (regarding printing and literacy and printing and the uniform exchange of money.).  (p. 187)

“Work” in the electric age yields TO “commitment and dedication” to the tribe (Collective feelings of belonging to something bigger than oneself, to something important, cool).  This leads to clubs, nationalism, sports teams, fraternities, political parties, schools, music cliques, popularity, etc. (p. 188)

The old “blame the media for society’s and society’s children’s problems/issues/ current “violence” Ploy. In Mcluhan, it is comic books but this also applies to cartoons, television shows, music, movies, video games–not necessarily in that order.  Parents and Parent Group Blamers never look at the particular media’s biggest fans: kids and teenagers to young adults. The blamers never actually compare and contrast the so-called violence in society in general, in the very nature of society and the manner in which societies were created in the first place. (pp. 229-230)