Survey Shows NPR Listeners Most Informed, Fox Viewers Worst Informed

There have been multiple studies which, not surprisingly, show that those who watch Fox are the most misinformed.  A survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University found that those who listen to NPR could answer the most questions about current events. Those who watch Fox did the worst–even worse than those who do not watch any media. Daily Show viewers also did well.

People who watch no news at all can answer more questions about international current events than people who watch cable news, a survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMindfinds.

NPR and Sunday morning political talk shows are the most informative news outlets, while exposure to partisan sources, such as Fox News and MSNBC, has a negative impact on people’s current events knowledge.

People who watch MSNBC and CNN exclusively can answer more questions about domestic events than people who watch no news at all. People who only watch Fox did much worse. NPR listeners answered more questions correctly than people in any other category…

The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. On the other hand, if they listened only to NPR, they would be expected to answer 1.51 questions correctly; viewers of Sunday morning talk shows fare similarly well. And people watching only The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could answer about 1.42 questions correctly…

News organizations’ tone and allocation of resources also apparently affected respondents’ abilities to answer questions. NPR has as many domestic bureaus as foreign ones; its listeners did best on questions about international events. “Daily Show” viewers were next. On domestic questions, people who watched Sunday news shows did nearly as well as NPR listeners.

Related Stories:

Fox Viewers Are Not Dumb As A Rock–But Come Close

Once Again, The More You Watch Fox The Dumber You Are

Yet Another Study Shows That The More You Watch Fox, The Dumber You Are

Posted in News Media. Tags: , . 11 Comments »

Standing Up For Principle May Pay Off

Democrats far too often move to the center and avoid matters of principle, possibly out of fear of losing votes. I’ve often thought that their compromising has been counterproductive. With the failure of Democrats to stand up for liberal principles, Republicans are allowed to promote their views without challenge. Democrats might increase their support if they made a stronger case for what they believe.  It appears that Obama’s statement of support for gay marriage has changed some opinions according to a Washington0Post-ABC News poll:

Public opinion continues to shift in favor of same-sex marriage, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, which also finds initial signs that President Obama’s support for the idea may have changed a few minds.

Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, hitting a high mark in support while showing a dramatic turnaround from just six years ago, when just 36 percent thought it should be legal. Thirty-nine percent, a new low, say gay marriage should be illegal…

The poll comes two weeks after Obama unexpectedly endorsed same-sex marriage after a year and a half of “evolving” on the subject. Gay rights groups predicted the president’s announcement would have a far-reaching impact on public opinion, in part because Obama described how he came to his own decision, referring to his gay friends and the influence of his young daughters, Sasha and Malia.

I am also happy to see White House Press Secretary Jay Carney trying to debunk the false right wing claims that Obama has greatly increased government spending:  “Do not buy into the B.S. that you hear about spending and fiscal constraint with regard to this administration. I think doing so is a sign of sloth and laziness.”

While greater public support for same-sex marriage is good news, there is also potentially bad news on social issues in today’s polls. Gallup found that the number of Americans who call themselves pro-choice is at a record low at 41 percent, with 50 percent calling themselves pro-life. Looking at the full poll, the meaning of this is questionable. It might partially be a matter of labels. A majority still believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances and only 20 percent agree with the Republican line that it should never be legal. I also question how much support there would be for laws which subject either women seeking an abortion or doctors providing abortions to criminal charges.


Reagan OMB Director Questions Romney’s Ability To Create Jobs, And Romney Interview Isn’t Reassuring

One story which will be interesting to watch between now and November is the degree to which Romney’s years at Bain Capital become a meaningful issue in the presidential race. I see this period as one of testing issues and arguments by each side to prepare for the fall  when people are paying more attention. It doesn’t help Romney that the Bain issue was raised by his Republican opponents for the nomination. Nor does it help that former Reagan OMB Director David Stockton provided a rare moment of truth on Fox: “I don’t think that Mitt Romney can legitimately say that he learned anything about how to create jobs in the LBO business. The LBO business is about how to strip cash out of old, long-in-the-tooth companies and how to make short-term profits…” (Video above)

Obama has also had difficulties with comments from some Democrats on this topic. Unfortunately, money and the need for contributions plays a huge role in what politicians feel safe to admit about the system.

There are also two different issues–whether Romney’s actions were improper and,  as David Stockton raised, whether his success at Bain provided him any experience with regards to creating jobs or handling the economy. Steven Rattner, a former treasury official under Obama, had reservations when the story was first raised but now agrees that Obama is handling the issue appropriately:

On Monday, Mr. Obama struck the right balance, emphasizing that he wasn’t attacking private equity but was questioning Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital credentials to be the job creator in chief.

That’s fair, particularly because Mr. Romney himself has been foolishly reweaving history to claim, as recently as last week, that he helped create 100,000 jobs during his time at Bain.

In fact, Bain Capital — like other private equity firms — was founded and managed for profit: ideally, huge amounts of gain earned legally and legitimately. Any job creation was a welcome but secondary byproduct.

The language in one prospectus seeking Bain Capital investors was clear: “The objective of the Fund is to achieve an annual rate of return on invested capital in excess of the returns generated” by other investments. Any job creation was accidental…

Under Mr. Romney’s leadership, Bain Capital engaged in the less attractive practice of putting more debt on seemingly successful investments in order to take dividends out. In at least four instances of Bain Capital investments during Romney’s tenure, these “recapped” companies, of which two were featured in the Obama ads, subsequently went bankrupt, costing thousands their jobs.

To be sure, some of Bain’s large leveraged buyouts — notably, Domino’s Pizza — added jobs. But Mr. Romney left Bain Capital two months after the Domino’s investment (7,900 new jobs claimed) was finalized.

Aware of private equity’s reputation, Mr. Romney still trots around the country erroneously calling himself a “venture capitalist.”

And in a further effort to deflect attention from the Bain Capital debate, Mr. Romney last week argued that President Obama was responsible for the loss of 100,000 jobs in the auto industry over the past three years.

That’s both ridiculously false (auto industry and dealership jobs have increased by about 50,000 since January 2009) and a remarkable comment from a man who said that the companies should have been allowed to go bankrupt and that the industry would have been better off without President Obama’s involvement.

Adding jobs was never Mitt Romney’s private sector agenda, and it’s appropriate to question his ability to do so.

Mitt Romney’s experience in the private sector is totally different from what is done in government. Challenging Romney’s ability to create jobs based upon his experience at Bain raises a legitimate point, especially when Romney has made this his main qualification to replace Obama. In contrast, Barack Obama has a very good record at turning around an economy heading into depression and creating jobs.

Romney uses his experience at Bain to claim non-existent expertise in handling the economy. Romney failed to provide any sign that he has any ideas as to improving the economy in an interview with Mark Halperin. Steve Benen also pointed out how Mitt’s promises are becoming more modest and less meaningful:

“Over a period of 4 years, by virtue of the policies that we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower,” the Republican said.

There are, of course, two glaring problems with this. The first is that Romney told voters any unemployment rate above 4 percent is a problem. He didn’t say this years ago; he set this standard earlier this month.

The second is that Romney doesn’t realize what we’re on track to reach that standard anyway. The self-described “numbers guy” told Halperin that his “policies” will “get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent,” but as Travis Waldron noted, “The Congressional Budget Office predicts that unemployment will average 6.3 percent in 2016; the Office of Management and Budget, meanwhile, projects unemployment will hit 6.1 percent and ultimately fall below 6 percent the same year.”

In other words, Romney is promising to deliver results we’re likely to get anyway. The myth of this guy’s competence has been greatly exaggerated.

Perhaps we should be satisfied with six percent, and happy that the availability of jobs doesn’t drop as it did the last time a Republican was in the White House.

Posted in Economy, Mitt Romney. 3 Comments »