Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Deja Vu all over again

Pew Survey Finds Most Knowledgeable Americans Watch 'Daily Show' and 'Colbert'-- and Visit Newspaper Sites

A new survey of 1,502 adults released Sunday by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press 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. For example, only 69% know that Dick Cheney is vice president, while 74% could identify Dan Quayle in that post in 1989.

Other details are equally eye-opening. 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 -- with 54% of them getting 2 out of 3 questions correct. Watchers of the Lehrer News Hour on PBS followed just behind.

Virtually bringing up the rear were regular watchers of Fox News. Only 1 in 3 could answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly. Fox topped only network morning show viewers.

OK, everyone who is surprised, raise your hands.

This study actually expands a bit on one I wrote about almost a year ago. You might think that shows that cover current events and feature interviews with important authors and politicos and shows actual video clips of national figures making asses of themselves would be seen as contributing to political awareness. But for the chattering class, acknowledging the positive influence of Stewart & Colbert is tantamount to admitting that "serious" media is the real joke. So don't hold your breath, truth be damned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An 85-year-old friend says her eyes bother her when she reads for more than an hour, and despite all the so-called all-news channels, there's nothing worth watching on TV.

So, of course, I've recommended the Colbert Report. I can't wait to hear what she thinks!

3:25 PM  
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5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. I'm taking bets. How much overlap do you think there is between the 31% who don't know who Dick Cheney is and the 30% of the adult population that is functionally illiterate. Funny thing is, I don't think that these two groups overlap by more than 50% and probably a lot less. Bets anyone (please explain your position)?


7:24 PM  

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