Harold Lasswell

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(Redirected from Harold D. Lasswell)

Harold Dwight Lasswell (February 13, 1902December 18, 1978) was a leading political scientist and communications theorist. Along with other influential liberals of the period, such as Walter Lippmann, he argued that democracies needed propaganda to keep the uninformed citizenry in agreement with what the specialized class had determined was in their best interests. As he wrote in his entry on propaganda for the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, we must put aside "democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests" since "men are often poor judges of their own interests, flitting from one alternative to the next without solid reason". [1] (http://zpedia.org/Propaganda_%28Encyclopaedia_of_the_Social_Sciences%29)

He is well known for his comment on communications:

Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect

Lasswell's model of communications is significantly different from those of engineers, including Claude Shannon, and his notion of channel is also different, since it includes different types of media. For example, newspapers, magazines, journals and books are all text media, but are assumed to have different distribution and readership, and hence different effects.

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