If ignorance is truly bliss, then many American news media outlets are helping to ensure we have one big, happy country.
The long-running joke has been how Fox News is a dumbed-down source of information, yet many other outlets have been consistently following suit.
The Fox joke, by the way, has a basis in reality. A PublicMind Poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University found that folks who watch Fox are more ignorant than those who don’t watch any news at all.
That’s pretty scary. What’s also scary is that Fox is the most-watched 24-hour cable news network.
If you really want to be terrified, however, you can just take a gander at the results of all this dumbing-down. A Gallup Poll noted nearly 20 percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the Earth. A Zogby Poll said 75 percent of Americans can name the Three Stooges while only 40 percent can name the three branches of government.
Just like reality TV is not fully to blame for turning American intelligence into an oxymoron, we cannot put the full onus on the shoulders of the media. But it can take a major chunk.
With newspapers as a dying breed, the internet and TV have become the main sources of information. A total of 61 percent of Americans said they use the internet for a source of news and 78 percent tune in to the idiot box, according to a Pew Internet and American Life survey.
Typical headlines from online sources on any given day may include things like “Things to Buy after the Holidays,” “See What’s in Store for Capricorns this Month,” and “What You Missed on Dancing with the Stars.”
Links to mindless videos are also hot, with standard fare including 5-year-olds rapping, an elephant crapping and cats playing Mozart on piano.