Media outlets such as Fox News and MSNBC have a negative impact on people’s current events knowledge, while NPR and Sunday morning political talk shows are the most informative sources of news, according to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s newest PublicMind survey.
News programs which are intended to inform viewers about....domestic and world news....actually make viewers less knowledgeable about the news.
Which leads to the unavoidable conclusion that those responsible for preparing and delivering those news programs to viewers are either galactically incompetent...or....are actually trying to mislead their audiences. I have my money on the latter.
But there is another take I want to share on this stuff, based on this statement from the PublicMind survey.....
“Ideological news sources, like Fox and MSNBC, are really just talking to one audience,” said (political scientist and poll analyst, Dan) Cassino. “This is solid evidence that if you’re not in that audience, you’re not going to get anything out of watching them.”
"one audience"....and if you don't belong to that "one audience", if you are not a member of that audience, then you won't "get anything".....you won't "get" what it is the news deliverers are trying to tell you.
What does all that mean? It means that cable news shows have turned into cults. Only the initiated can get anything out of watching.
We normally consider cults to have a religious connotation. The Christian cult, for example. Only the initiated, only the members of the Christian cult can "get anything" out of the Catholic Mass, for example. To non-Christians, non members, the ceremony of the Mass is foreign, unintelligible.
The same is true if applied to Christian sermons on baptism, virgin births and trinitarian gods. Because the preferred religion in America is primarily Christianity, we're not used to hearing it called a cult.....but it is.
And so too now....American teevee news.
I would argue that the cultic nature of teevee news is best witnessed in Fox News. The Reverend household has proudly been a member of the "Zero TV" ten percent for about 3 years. I watch clips of teevee news shows online of course, but I don't consume enough from any one network anymore to be considered a regular viewer.
When I do watch a Fox clip, the cult words, phrases and mythologies are obvious. The words Solyndra, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious have become to Fox viewers what the words, father, son and holy ghost are to Christians. Only those in the group "get" the "mystery" meaning contained in the words.
Faithful Fox viewers (and according to the study, MSNBC viewers) are as impenetrable of other explanations of news stories as Christians are to considering that Jesus was just a man.
Which brings me to the problem of capitalizing the news. See, conservatives argue constantly that what Americans need is more choices. (Except for reproductive age women) The 'more choices' belief now includes news. Hey, if you don't like the news being presented by CBS, or NBC, then, just turn to a news choice you like. Americans are so free....they can even choose for themselves what happens in their country and the world each day.
Now that's some powerful-ass freedom.
But all those news sources, driven by the same profit motive as they are, haven't resulted in a more highly informed electorate, instead, just the opposite. But that doesn't matter because all that's valuable here is having those choices.
That approach leaves us with only news as entertainment. Hannity and Bill-O don't tell audiences the news, they simply entertain their cult members.
So, when you are pondering why it is that Tea Party folks seem so...well....ignorant. When you wonder how in the hell folks like Louie Gohmert, Michelle Bachmann, Trent Franks, Mike Huckabee, et.al. can say some of the most outrageous nonsense that they do.....keep in mind....they are cult members in good standing with the cult news networks. You're not supposed to "get" it, if you don't belong to the cult.
No, we're not like all those other, probably socialistic, countries who might insist on the importance of objective facts and truth in delivering news stories to citizens. No, no....America is exceptional.
We get to choose the news we want to hear.
That may seem, you know, kind of crazy....but people keep telling me that what it really is...is...freedom.