All illusions are potential ways of ordering reality. The goal of criticism should therefore be not to destroy illusions but to make us more sensitive to their workings and their complexity.
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.
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."
I encountered "Public Opinion" in Professor Don Ranly's "Philosophy of Journalism" class at the University of Missouri School of Journalism during my master's program. Though the examples were out of date, this 1922 book seemed as relevant in a modern context as it must have nearly a century ago. His framing of "the world outside and the pictures in our heads" so clearly conveys the socially constructed nature of news media and presents the challenges to democracy posed by an imperfect information environment. Lippmann is probably not often thought of as someone linked to media literacy, but his thinking has been foundational in journalism and media studies, which has informed my understanding of media literacy. In my view, teaching about the limitations of the mediated environment (as well as its strengths) is key to improving the conditions of democratic citizenship and self-governance.