What do you mean Americans are uninformed?
According to a Pew Research Center survey, Americans know slightly less about
world events than we did 18 years ago despite 24-hour cable news and the
explosive growth of the Internet.
In 1989, 74 percent of Americans knew that Dan Quayle was vice president.
Today, only 69 percent know who our vice president is.
Americans aren't able to identify other world leaders, either. When asked to
name the president of Russia, only 36 percent named Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin? Isn't he one of the Keebler elves?
Celebrity is a factor. Ninety-three percent of Americans know Arnold
Schwarzenegger is the governor of California. The same percentage knows who Hillary
is. But only 49 percent know that Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House.
Speaker of the House! I thought she was a lobbyist from Syria!
What's worse, only 15 percent of Americans are aware that Harry Reid who
is playing a daring game of chicken with the president during a time of war
is the Senate majority leader.
I thought he was an extra on "The West Wing."
In a few areas, however, Americans are slightly better informed. For
instance, 76 percent of Americans are aware that the Democrats are in control of
Congress, compared with 68 percent in 1989.
Democrats are in control of Congress? I thought America's left fringe is in
control of Congress!
Overall, Americans are no better informed now than they were 18 years ago.
The least informed are between 18 and 29. And Americans with a high-school
degree are likelier to be less informed than those who are college educated.
You'd be uninformed, too, if you had to work three jobs to make ends meet.
On the flip side, the most informed Americans get their news through
traditional means newspapers, magazines and television. Americans over 65 are
among the best informed.
I'd be among the best informed, too, if I could devote my days to keeping up
with the news.
One surprise is that the highest scorers were people who watch fake news
shows, such as "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report." To
enjoy such shows, one has to have awareness of world events.
Those are FAKE news shows?
But what is most troubling about the Pew survey is this: Many Americans have
no desire to keep informed. They prefer entertainment and celebrity news
things that just don't matter.
Sanjaya's mom got busted for growing pot and that doesn't matter to you!
Thus, Americans are vulnerable to being misled by charlatans. They're
vulnerable to being manipulated by misinformation and lies.
What kind of lies?
Take Social Security. We all know the program is unsustainable a ticking
time bomb. To resolve the problem, President Bush offered innovative ideas to
privatize the program.
I thought he wanted to destroy the program.
That's because Democrats who opposed his ideas chose not to debate them. They
simply spread lies and misinformation.
But I thought courageous Democrats saved the program.
Partisan Democrats manipulated uninformed Americans to achieve their desired
result. They clouded and confused the debate to scare people. Because many
Americans were unable to discern lies from truth, the Social Security debate
was swiftly brought to an end.
So long as I keep getting my check, who cares?
When you consider the daunting challenges America is facing, you realize how
essential it is that Americans be informed. It is essential that voters be
knowledgeable so that we elect people who will carry out the most sensible
polices. Otherwise, the incredible blessings America enjoys could be lost.
Lost? What do you mean lost?
I mean that what happens on "American Idol" could become the least of your