The Misinformed: More Than Just Your Regular TV News Viewer?

In this past election cycle, Fox News Channel viewers were the most misinformed, according to a recent study. But other cable news networks viewers weren't that far behind.

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.

6 comments about "The Misinformed: More Than Just Your Regular TV News Viewer? ".
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  1. Ricardo Samitier from Brand Bingo Internacional S.A., December 20, 2010 at 12:37 p.m.

    I will like to know if Mr Friedman consider himself a MISINFORMED person... when I read that any person REPEAT THE SAME SOCIALIST / COMMUNIST concept used for more than 100 years that; "The really smart people know they don't have all the answers" but they without any remorse, use statistics and studies that MADE BY PEOPLE THAT much of the time make their living out of our taxes.. and instead of just SAID THIS IS MY HUMBLE OPINION ... they back their opinion with such studies... Mr. Friedman... just write the true... "I AM A SOCIALIST... and I am again everyone who do not agree with me...

  2. Jeff Einstein from The Brothers Einstein, December 20, 2010 at 2:02 p.m.

    Ascribing different IQs to the audiences of the different news networks is not only foolish, but disingenuous. The only difference between red states and blue states (an artificial designation designed exclusively to sell more media) is that while both red and blue states are populated by media addicts who now spend almost 12 hours each and every day consuming media, the blue states are also where a good portion of the population devotes even more time producing, selling and analyzing most of the commercial media we consume. But as any recovering addict will tell you, even the smartest rats are still chasing the same cheese in the same maze...

    The University of Maryland Study is on point: the more media we consume, the less we actually know. Not to worry, however, because the more we actually know, the more miserable we become, a point codified with resounding clarity a few thousand years ago by one King Solomon.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 20, 2010 at 2:11 p.m.

    Wayne, you've proved your point.

  4. Tony Nino from PADV Pasadena Advertising, December 20, 2010 at 2:17 p.m.

    Could someone please translate that last comment into English?
    I think I can guess the first Teabonics phrase: "SOCIALIST / COMMUNIST concept" = "intelligentsia."
    Amiright? Amiright? Ooo Ooo. Am I?

    OBTW: The Intelligentsia were persecuted in Russia in the 1870's (which is somewhat more than 100 years ago) and continued to be persecuted by um ... the Communist Party. Does it make a difference when you use ALL CAPS??


  5. Chuck Lantz from, network, December 20, 2010 at 3:40 p.m.

    A few things about that study are troubling. Parts of it are very poorly worded and confusing as a result. Some of their methodology is also odd, such as their implication that anyone who self-identifies as an MSNBC viewer would automatically also self-identify as belonging to one side of the political spectrum, when the fact is that a viewer of morning programming on MSNBC would be watching right-leaning programming, and afternoon and prime time, left-leaning programming. Big difference.

  6. Chris Koch from Q1Media, December 22, 2010 at 3:26 p.m.

    More news, more problems.

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