Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Facts, Truth, And Other Things Not On Fox

In the face of the Middle East meltdown, and the diplomatic mess between Israel and the U.S., and more than a few conspiracy nuts on 9/11, one of the key elements we console ourselves daily with is our consistent effort to always work from a factual basis. Like many political wonks, we tend to love facts and statistics, especially in the form of charts and graphs.

They're often like cartoons, but less funny.

There are moments though, when paranoid conspiracy nuts and crazy commenters get us to wonder: How badly can Fox "News", talk radio, and the rest of the right-wing propaganda machine really brainwash their devoted followers?

According to the latest chart from the Pew Research Center, enough to affect the economy we all live in together.

The Pew study was done to find out what kind of economic news most Americans were hearing, and to see if it matched the factual data, that is, that our economy continues to slowly improve. Looking at the general public, nearly 60% of Americans said they're hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy. That statistic didn't surprise us, since most Americans, regardless of political affiliation, tend to take in news and information from multiple media sources, with different biases.

What was surprising was that 60% of Republicans said the news they hear about the economy is mostly bad.

We know from multiple different media studies that a majority of Republicans watch  Fox "News" almost exclusively for what they consider as information these days - though calling Fox anything but a propaganda network is intellectually dishonest. Fox's most recent massive visual lie came on Tuesday when they attempted to equate the U-3 measure of employment with the U-6 measure of employment, on a poorly made chart.

As Steve Benen, Zachary Pleat, and others pointed out, the factually honest statics weren't hard to find.

That wasn't the only place Fox failed on Tuesday.

When talking about the teachers strike in Chicago, multiple Fox commentators made claims to the effect that most Chicagoans support the city, instead of the teachers. In a news article published midday Tuesday by the Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper cites a legitimate poll taken Monday that confirms 47% of Chicagoans support the teachers, while only 39% oppose them.

Should part of the goal of a society that has multiple 24/7 media outlets be to have the most well-educated and well-informed populace in history? If so, considering Fox a legitimate media outlet for news is completely at odds with that goal.

If we're lucky, maybe right-wing talkers like Limbaugh and Ingraham will be right for once, as they claimed on their shows this week that if Mitt Romney loses in November, the Republican party and the right wing will have to shut down.

They could be right.

After all, as President Clinton said recently, the right wingers can't always be wrong. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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