Friday, December 17, 2010

Conclusion of Study: Fox News Makes You Dumb

The following is an article about a media study conducted by the University of Maryland. This study confirms what most non-FOX News watchers already know: The more FOX one watches, the more ignorant one becomes. Hell, we knew back in 2003, during the lead-up to the Iraq war, when Fox and Cheney/Bush morphed Bin Laden into Saddam (successfully in FOX country), that the average Foxalien was more than a bit Coco for Coco Puffs. Read on.

By Mark Howard Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid

A new survey of American voters shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources.

Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day.

In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:

•91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
•72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
•72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
•60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
•49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
•63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
•56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
•38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
•63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.

By the way, the rest of the media was not blameless. CNN and the broadcast network news operations fared only slightly better in many cases. Even MSNBC, which had the best record of accurately informing viewers, has a ways to go before it can brag about it.

The conclusions in this study need to be disseminated as broadly as possible. Fox’s competitors need to report these results and produce ad campaigns featuring them. Newspapers and magazines need to publish the study across the country. This is big news and it is critical that the nation be advised that a major news enterprise is poisoning their minds.

This is not an isolated review of Fox’s performance. It has been corroborated time and time again. The fact that Fox News is so blatantly dishonest, and the effects of that dishonesty have become ingrained in an electorate that has been been purposefully deceived, needs to be made known to every American. Our democracy cannot function if voters are making choices based on lies. We have the evidence that Fox is tilting the scales and we must now make certain its corporate owners do not get away with it.

Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of News Corpse.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Male Manifest Destiny Woes

I read the following column, written by Adrian Walker, this morning in the Boston Globe. I believe it epitomizes the fragile and deeply entrenched white male supremacy ego we see manifested in the alternative universe called FOX News World. A world that, outside of the sport's field, white males feel a certain inherent entitlement to be the top dog. And, anytime they are not the top dog it's because of Affirmative Action or some other nefarious action. In this universe, non-white male leadership or achievement has to be de-legitimized at all cost because it represents an antithesis to the manifest destiny (click manifest destiny link for full definition) narrative. Read on:

Frank G. Cousins Jr. freely admits that he has a hard time talking about the entrenched problems involving race and gender in his department.

That isn’t an easy admission for any sheriff. But then again, Cousins might be the only law enforcement boss to file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination against a group of his own subordinates. For creating a workplace that was hostile — toward him.

The Essex County sheriff won an important measure of vindication a few days ago, when a Superior Court judge ruled in his favor against two employees Cousins had fired for their role in running an often racist and sexist union website. The ruling, by Judge David A. Lowy, overturned an arbitrators’ ruling that would have reinstated them.

Cousins, a former state representative from Newburyport, was appointed sheriff by Governor William F. Weld in 1996. Some employees quickly showed their displeasure with having a black boss. Problems escalated in 1998, when the Essex County Corrections Officers Association was formed.

A union website became home to often anonymous attacks and slurs against minorities and women in the department, including, frequently, Cousins.

“You hear a lot about the culture of law enforcement,’’ Cousins said yesterday. “The culture here has been very difficult.’’

Black male employees were called pimps; females were accused of winning promotions by sleeping with superiors. One person posted a list of ways to commit suicide, and suggested it would be a good idea for “sell-outs — and Frank.’’

The poster was later identified as Lieutenant Scott Thompson, who was successfully prosecuted for making threats against the sheriff. Thompson left the department. The operative posting: In a passage critical of Cousins’s management, one employee asked if there was anyone who could help the situation. “Yeah, there was someone who can help, but James Earl Ray is dead!’’ Thompson responded, alluding to the man convicted of killing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

That was when Cousins finally became concerned for his own safety. He filed a complaint against the union with the MCAD, which has issued a preliminary finding in his favor. He got a driver. He began watching his back.

“I’ve been around a long time and I have a tough skin, but that was a bad chapter,’’ Cousins said. “What was hard was that you had people who knew who was doing these things and they never came forward.’’

The latest ruling involves Lieutenant Jerry Enos and Sergeant K. Ricky Thompson, who were fired in 2007 over their roles as webmasters for the site. But an arbitrator bought their arguments they were not fired in a timely fashion and were not aware that their actions could cost them their jobs. But the judge roundly rejected that thinking.

“Enos and Thompson’s conduct disrupted the operation of the department, violated multiple rules and regulations of the department, and endangered the safety of their co-workers and those in the custody of the department,’’ Lowy wrote. “Although arbitrator’s decisions are given great deference, they are not sacrosanct.’’

Cousins believes that this ruling, though likely to be appealed, will be a turning point for the department. He said a new union president has brought a more mature and inclusive attitude. He thinks that finally, after 14 years on the job, employees have finally gotten accustomed to the presence of a black boss.

“I’m not na├»ve,’’ Cousins said. “Change is very difficult. I felt when I went there that we would have to work through some of these issues, but I didn’t expect it to rise to the level that it did.’’

Cousins has just easily won another six-year term, and said he is excited about the prospect of working on issues like recidivism and prisoner reentry without the distraction of racial and gender strife.

“There are a lot of good people here,’’ he said. “At this point, everyone just wants to move forward.’’

Adrian Walker is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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