In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2007 / 12 Iyar, 5767

Uninformed and liking it

By Tom Purcell

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 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.

How so?

In 1989, 74 percent of Americans knew that Dan Quayle was vice president. Today, only 69 percent know who our vice president is.

Hubert Humphrey?

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 worries.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR Contributor Tom Purcell's column, by clicking here. To visit his web site, click here.


© 2007, Tom Purcell