Over at the KC Dog Blog, I've been pretty vocal about the media and it's role in doing little more than Fear Mongering. But last week, a study was released by Pew Research that highlights a secondary affect that the failure of the media, especially local media, to actually educate the public on real issues.
The study asked 23 questions regarding national and state politics. 35% of respondents fell into the "high" knowledge category that could answer 15% of the question correctly. But here's the interesting part, here is the % of the regular viewers/listeners of the following programs/networks that fell into the high category (keep in mind, 35% would be average):
Daily Show/Colbert Report - 54%
Major Newspaper Websites - 54%
NPR - 51%
Daily Newspaper - 43%
CNN - 41%
Fox News - 35%
Local TV News - 35%
So what's it mean? Probably a lot of things. But #1, it means that local TV News does nothing to educate people beyond what the average american knows. It's no secret that the local news is crap, this really dispells their myth that the local news reaches people in the know.
While it could be argued that the Daily Show/Colbert Report (which are comedy programs on Comedy Central, not news programs) only attract viewers who are knowledgable about the issues (the shows really wouldn't be funny to those who are unfamiliar), I think it could also be argued that the two Comedy shows actually contain more news than many news networks like CNN/Fox News that would rather spend entire weeks talking about Anna Nicole Smith or Brittney Spears vs talking about real, world issues.
At least now we know who the local news is catering to...