NYU’s Professor Jay Rosen tweeted Friday, urging us to read the entire report by the non-partisan WorldPublicOpinion.org group about campaign messaging and FOX during the recent US elections. It had to be bad. One just could not be prepared for HOW bad.
When respondents were asked their news/television viewing habits, when it came to Obamacare and the Stimulus, 72% of viewers who watch FOX News daily agree the economy is getting worse and Obamacare will add to the deficit. That is 100% false yet only FOX viewers were off the chart saying it must be true. Everybody else averaged about 45%.
Climate change? FOX daily viewers 60% said it was not happening. 63% of daily FOX viewers said the stimuls did not contain any tax cuts and the same number do not believe President Obama was born in the USA.
But the granddaddy whopper of them all? 91% of FOX viewers believe that saved or created a few jobs or caused job losses. How can that be? It’s simple, as oppose to the UK where people actually learned how to read and a visit to your local newsagent will see people standing there reading multiple viewpoint newspapers, the USA gets almost all of its news from electronic media and very few can move beyond laziness to even think about changing the channel!
There was little, if anything, based in fact. Right wing SPINmeisters raised deception to unheard of levels and followed simple, scaremongering optics and phrases better than any chanting Buddhist monk. It was simple, repeat something enough times, FOX viewers believed it and then whipped into a frothing fury, went to the mat for death panels and pulling the plug on Grandma.
o ‘Obamacare’ has been shown time and again by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other economists to reduce the budget deficit? No matter. 53% are convinced it will add to the deficit.
o The CBO and other economists showed the stimulus created 2-5 million jobs? 88% of respondents thought it only created a few or lost jobs.
o The US and indeed the globe started pulling slowly out of the recession in 3Q 2009? The US Bureau of Economic analysis said we were heading in the right direction. 55% of FOX viewers said things were still getting worse.
o Climate change? 45% of people say opinions are ‘equally divided’ (false) or climate change is ‘not occurring.’
o TARP, created in the last days of the Bush Administration? Event that had 40% thinking it was an Obama programme and idea.
o The Bailout of General Motors? Only 28% of the people said correctly it was both Presidents who started this and yet 53% blame President Obama.
o The ‘hands off my healthcare,’ ‘I don’t want any government insurance plan’ crowd noise? It came from those on Medicare, the government’s highly successful healthcare system for seniors.
o The cherry on top? 42% of people surveyed now believe the president was not born in the USA.
All of this is further proof watching FOX commentators will scramble your brain beyond recognition. Forrest Gump was right… “stupid really is as stupid does.” The right wing FOX News, official propaganda arm of the Republican Party, sees to it.
You can read a full copy of the report here: http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec10/Misinformation_Dec10_rpt.pdf
Originally published 22 December 2010
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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