News Media Share Blame for Voters' Ignorance

A couple of interesting items on today show how hopelessly ill-informed the electorate is.

One is a Gallup Poll that says 37 percent of Americans believe Congress
has accomplished less this year than in previous years, while 23 percent
believe it has accomplished more. The poll notes that, in fact, "the
current Democratically controlled Congress has passed a series of
high-profile legislative bills, including the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,
and others."

The second is a Bloomberg national poll that finds by 2-1, likely voters
Tuesday believe "taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the
billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program
won't be recovered. "

The truth,
notes. "The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans,
has overseen an economy that has grown for the past four quarters and
expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to
rescue Wall Street banks."

In the Bloomberg article, its pollster blames the electorate's ignorance on Democrats.

"The public view of the economy is at odds with the facts, and the blame
has to go to the Democrats," said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer
& Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the nationwide
survey. "It does not matter much if you make change, if you do not
communicate change."

I beg to differ. I believe much of the blame lies with traditional news
outlets, which have consistently split the difference between party
perspectives as the Republican propaganda machine pummeled any and all
Democratic accomplishments. In my mind this is neither balanced
journalism nor good journalism. The media's job is to place the news --
including political attacks -- in context. Overall, I don't believe the
media has done much to point out the sustained attack politics of
Republicans or the way in which they skew the verifiable facts contained
as provisions of some of these laws. Nor are other news outlets
willing to take on Fox News, which, at a national political level, is
little more than a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party.

Yes, Democrats deserve part of the blame. They need to communicate
better. But if the president devoted all his time to traveling around
the country, a lot less would get done. As for the news media, they
should spend a whole lot less time predicting the outcome of elections
and a whole lot more looking at the substance of what's behind the

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