The Search for a Purveyor of News: The Dewey/Lippmann Debate in an Internet Age Academic Article uri icon


  • The rise of the critical blogosphere has challenged the authority of the mainstream media while sparking discussion concerning the proper relationship between news production and popular democracy in an Internet Age. All too often, however, this discussion is framed as a stark tension between aristocratic defenders of Old Media professionalism and democratic proponents of New Media egalitarianism. Lost in this framing is the tacit agreement, by both sides, that a solution must be found within the constraints of a corporate liberal media structure. This essay argues that if we are to make full use of the opportunities presented to us by new technologies, we must move beyond the discourse of corporate liberalism. Toward this end, I return to the philosophical debate between John Dewey and Walter Lippmann that occurred in the early part of the twentieth century. Based both on their shared principles and their points of departure, I argue that any productive discussion about democratic media reform must begin on the premise that we must supplement the current communication practices of corporate liberalism with noncommercial agencies of cooperative social inquiry and artistic news production. For both Dewey and Lippmann, only through creative investment of public resources can we facilitate intelligent and sympathetic collective judgment in a complex global environment. Their debate concerned only how and where to invest them. 2009 National Communication Association.

published proceedings

  • Critical Studies in Media Communication

author list (cited authors)

  • Crick, N.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Crick, Nathan

publication date

  • December 2009