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We live in a sound bite world and those who control the media, control the minds of many
Most Voters are Misinformed by the Media
A new poll, by WorldPublicOpinion.org, finds strong evidence that many voters were misinformed on key issues in the 2010 Election. There was also a widespread perception by voters that misinformation in the election campaign was higher than previous elections. The 2010 election was the first since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on election advertising. The poll showed that 9 out of 10 voters said they saw “false or misleading information during the campaign”.
Worse yet the poll found that most voters “display beliefs at odds with the conclusions of government agencies generally regarded as non-partisan, consisting of professional economists and scientists”. The most misinformed tended to vote Republican and listen to Fox news. That is not to say that Democratic voters were not misinformed. They were just less so. The least misinformed got there news from PBX and NPR.
The following is taken directly from the poll.
“For example, those who watched Fox News almost daily are significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe:
Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely);
Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points);
The economy is getting worse (26 points);
Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points);
Stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points);
My income taxes have gone up (14 points);
Auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points);
When TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points;
It is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points).”
Researchers go on to say that it didn’t seem to matter if the voters were Democrats or Republican. If they watched FOX News they were more likely to hold the misconceptions listed above.
Researchers also found that voters who watched MSNBC, NPR, PBS, and network news held the following misinformation.
“Daily consumers of MSNBC and public broadcasting (NPR and PBS) were higher (34 points and 25 points respectively) in believing that it was proven that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending money raised from foreign sources to support Republican candidates;
Daily watchers of network TV news broadcasts were 12 points higher in believing that TARP was signed into law by President Obama, and 11 points higher in believing that most Republicans opposed TARP.”
I’ll admit that I believed that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending foreign money to support Republican candidates. I didn’t change my vote because of it but I don’t like being manipulated.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on election advertising and does not require the advertiser to identify themselves, we are all going to have to double check the information we are given in the next elections.
I would love to have a news station to watch without all the opinions. It looks like NPR and PBX comes closest and FOX is really stretching it.
I wonder how the election would have gone if we all had the facts? We live in a sound bite world and those who control the media, control the minds of many.