TV News: The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Semi-Truths

News flash -- in some viewers' minds, Republicans are Occupy Wall Streeters, and the Syrians have toppled their government.

Is there a problem here? There are plenty of half-truths, no truths, or confusing truths from cable news networks -- that much is accurate. A better question plaguing media industry experts: “Is this an escalating or declining trend?”

A poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University about TV news networks and their efect on New Jersey viewers came up with some interesting conclusions, including that "people who watch Fox News...are 18 points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than [those who] watch no news at all."

Fox News isn't alone. The poll found that New Jersey MSNBC viewers were “associated with a 10 point increase in the likelihood [of] mis-identifying the [OWS] protestors" and “most likely to believe the protestors...are Republican."

Hmmm.. I just thought they needed jobs, long baths...or to pay more taxes! Ah... I was misinformed!

Before you blame those who are only watching "Two and a Half Men," "Gossip Girl," "Maury" or "Keeping up with the Kardashians," think of the big picture.

The speed of TV news delivery can be a problem for viewers. Worse still, consumption of this news -- like wolfing down a big dinner on the run -- can cause massive information digestion problems.

Increased use of this kind TV news content -- both good and bad -- should be played out.  That's because the more viewers and networks play loose with facts, the more people will need to slow down and read something -- a newspaper, a magazine, a book -- to hopefully get something a little more concrete into their blogs, emails, conversations and office mumblings.

One conclusion from the poll showed that not all TV shows are bad -- for example, Sunday morning shows, devoting themselves typically to one topic, serve up fewer problems with the facts.

 

Tags: tv
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