Thursday, April 19, 2007

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

A new survey ... by Pew Research Center ... found that despite the mass appeal of the Internet and cable news since a previous poll in 1989, Americans' knowledge of national affairs has slipped a little ...

... Pew judged the levels of knowledgeability (correct answers) among those surveyed and found that those who scored the highest were regular watchers of Comedy Central's The Daily Show and Colbert Report. They tied with regular readers of major newspapers in the top spot ...

Virtually bringing up the rear were regular watchers of Fox News. Only 1 in 3 could answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly.

Big shocker ... not.

But look into the stats a little closer and there are some surprises. From Mother Jones:

Daily Show/Colbert Report 54%
Major Newspapers' Websites 54%
NewsHour w/ Jim Lehrer 53%
Bill O'Reilly 51%
NPR 51%
Rush Limbaugh 50%

O'Reilly's and Limbaugh's audiences score surprisingly (to me, at least) high. I'm not completely sure why this might be but I suspect their shows attract the more serious idealistic true conservatives who, while making the wrong conclusions about how to change the world, at least are informed about what is going on in that world.

Newsmagazines 48%
Local Newspaper 43%
CNN 41%

The obviously painful one in this group is CNN. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. What used to be a fairly serious news channel has become the Anna Nicole channel. Their CNN Headline News Channel is manned by trained monkeys. There is no better indication of how big a joke they are when they have Glenn Beck and Nancy Grace plastered all over it. Glenn Beck is a straight-up Right Wing racist masked under an aw-shucks-"I'm just telling the truth"-common man veneer. Nancy Grace milks manufactured indignation and fake concern for ratings.

Network Evening News 38%
Blogs 37%
Fox News 35%
Local TV News 35%
Network Morning Shows 34%

No big shocks here. The scary part is that there is a huge majority of the country that get their news from one (and only one) of these sources. Fortunately, that is an aging part of the population.

It's not very complimentary to see blogs listed but if one exclusively got your news from blogs, you'd be hurting ... especially if that blog was, say, ... The Drudge Report.

"Your intelligence is measured by those around you; if you spend your days with idiots you seal your own fate." -- Mary M. Illigassch


Laura said...

I blame it on info-tainment. News isn't just news anymore - it generates ratings and ad dollars. There's also a culture of "I don't care" out there too. What do you think about XYZ? "I don't care"... People who are unaware can be made aware, but if there's zero desire to know, that's frightening.

CyberKitten said...

Very true Laura. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant - no one can know everything. But being *wilfully* ignorant is a terrible 'sin'.

shrimplate said...

Amazing. A chimp could as easily just randomly score as well as a Limbaugh ditto-head.

Maybe "chimp" was a poor choice on my part...

Sadie Lou said...

Oh you're so right. I couldn't believe how much focus CNN gave to Anna Nichole and the surrounding hoopla.
Guess what?
My hubby and I are taking a stand against being force-fed commercials.
We got rid of our cable service and we upped our Netflix. We'll be getting three dvds at a time now. I'll be renting TV shows for the kids that they enjoy (my parents take the kids to their house to watch Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel) and Dan and I rent a movie and a TV series that we enjoy. We just can't take the commercials anymore and much of what we pay for on cable is for TV stations we don't even watch. Like MTV, ESPN and SPIKE TV
Ya know?
Just thought this would be a good time to share. I'm reading a lot more...

dbackdad said...

Reading is always good.

We have a DVR and rarely watch anything live. So, commercials have really become a thing of the past for us.