This Is Why We’re in Trouble

Only 18 percent of Americans were able to correctly answer a 3-question test of basic political knowledge:

The survey, conducted between April 30 and June 1 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, measured the political knowledge of 3,612 U.S. adults. Participants were asked to name the controlling party of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. secretary of state and Great Britain’s prime minister.

Overall, just 18 percent of participants answered all three questions correctly.

More than 50 percent of Americans knew that the Democrats have a majority in the House, while 42 percent could identify the secretary of state (Condoleezza Rice). Less than 30 percent could name the prime minister of Great Britain Gordon Brown).

But that’s not why we’re in trouble. This is:

A perfect score means they got all three questions correct. They then went on to show the breakdown according to news source, and here is how it was published.

* The New Yorker/Atlantic: 71 percent (correctly identified Democrats as the majority in the House), 71 percent (correctly identified Condeleeza Rice), 59 percent (correctly identified Gordon Brown)
* NPR: 73 percent, 72 percent, 57percent
* Hannity & Colmes: 84 percent, 73 percent, 49 percent
* Rush Limbaugh: 83 percent, 71 percent, 41 percent
* Colbert Report: 73 percent, 65 percent, 49 percent
* Daily Show: 65 percent, 48 percent, 36 percent
* NewsHour: 66 percent, 52 percent, 47 percent
* O’Reilly Factor: 70 percent, 60 percent, 41 percent
* C-SPAN: 63 percent, 59 percent, 35 percent
* Letterman/Leno: 51 percent, 42 percent, 31 percent
* CNN: 59 percent, 48 percent, 29 percent
* National Enquirer: 44 percent, 32 percent, 22 percent

Now being the good data analyst that I am I noticed right off something looked funny, so I resorted the results. Here is the order of my results.

* Hannity & Colmes: 84 percent, 73 percent, 49 percent
* Rush Limbaugh: 83 percent, 71 percent, 41 percent
* Colbert Report: 73 percent, 65 percent, 49 percent
* NPR: 73 percent, 72 percent, 57percent
* The New Yorker/Atlantic: 71 percent, 71 percent, 59 percent
* O’Reilly Factor: 70 percent, 60 percent, 41 percent
* Daily Show: 65 percent, 48 percent, 36 percent
* NewsHour: 66 percent, 52 percent, 47 percent
* C-SPAN: 63 percent, 59 percent, 35 percent
* Letterman/Leno: 51 percent, 42 percent, 31 percent
* CNN: 59 percent, 48 percent, 29 percent
* National Enquirer: 44 percent, 32 percent, 22 percent

Why the re[-]sort? Simple really. I feel the question about the prime minister of England to not be as important as the questions about American politics and second when you sort based on questions 1 and 2 a very different picture emerges. 3 of the top 6 best informed happen to be folks who watch or listen to those evil right wing or conservative leaning shows.

Restated: It’s not important for Americans to have a basic level of political knowledge about the world outside the United States, and right-wing media outlets attract Americans who don’t. And for fools like the one who wears jammies, that’s a source of pride.

2 Responses to “This Is Why We’re in Trouble”

  1. Mark says:

    Welcome to the odd place in the world occupied by JammieWearingFool, who is a competitor for world’s most intellectually bankrupt blogger. Sadly, this post of his is probably not even amongst his worst…

    His post on polling for the California anti-marriage amendment pretty much took the cake. In that post, he decried a poll showing a majority of Californians in support of gay marriage, claiming (without any supporting facts) that it was statistically biased and totally unrepresentative of California’s demographics. I responded with a post that had, you know, actual demographic facts about California and showed that the demographics in the poll were not only reflective of California, but may have even been slightly too conservative.
    Upon being informed of the actual facts, did he retract the post? No. Did he acknowledge that a different perspective existed? No. What he did was to: 1. Throw a bunch of ad hominems at me; 2. Suggest that it didn’t matter who was right, since I don’t have as many readers as him; and 3. Delete any additional comments made by myself (and eventually our good friend Kyle) -which simply pointed out the data and challenged him to provide contradictory data – and then permanently ban any further comments.

  2. Kathy says:

    Yeah, he’s a trip, all right. There are definitely distinctions to be made among conservative and even right-wing bloggers; some are fair-minded even though you might disagree with them and some are just total hacks, like JWF. It also seems to be the case that the fair-minded rightie bloggers also are better writers, just on a craft level. JWF is not one of these.

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