In this great digital age of theoretically more information, we seemingly have a citizenry who knows so little. "In the great majority of cases, those with higher levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation," says the University of Maryland study, which was also backed by the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies.
The president wasn't born in this country? Hmmm... Everyone knows the answer to that. The recession was caused by the Democrats... Oh. That's an easy one.
Forget those lame issues: What about the body language and tone of an average U.S. citizen? TV gives me lessons here. Like Liz Lemon on "30 Rock," I believe I can "read" whether someone is telling the truth or not -- all because I watch CBS' "The Mentalist." Further information in this vein comes to me from USA's "Psych" and Fox's "Lie To Me."
Credit those who produce these shows. Surely there is some truth here. But in reality it makes me want to investigate further -- especially if I should want to take action against some scurvy-looking neighbor walking up my block.
We all want an easy story line -- whether it comes from real-life news or from our fictional scripted TV shows. Trouble is, there are massive grey areas. Some stories are easy to tell; others are complicated. There is no formula for the real stuff. But TV producers will try -- thus modern-day cable news networks and their strong opinion format.
Some TV takes the drama away from everything. Who wants to be that objective? We then get bored, gaze into space, switch the channel, or cross them off our Golden Globe list. Put anything on the screen, and you can feel a pull to make our own mind up. And then some producers will do a lot off pushing.
The misinformed? We all think we are smarter than the next guy. The really smart people know they don't have all the answers -- in real or in fictional life.