Monday, December 20, 2010

Study shows bad TV news makes us stupid

A polling outfit affiliated with the University of Maryland asked 616 people whether they believed factually false assertions, such as "my taxes have gone up under Obama" (in reality, taxes have gone down). The pollsters found out that the chances of a polled person believing falsehoods increased in proportion to that person's time spent viewing Fox News (a right-wing news channel in the United States) , in contrast to watching other 'liberal/more objective' news channels, like CNN.

Some observations:
1. Which is true? Does bad TV news makes people stupid or Do stupid people watch bad news TV?
It is very tempting to arrive at judgments. All I can think of at the moment is that when people watch bad news TV or bad TV in general, it is because they do not know what real good TV/news TV looks like. Perhaps they have been living a frog's life in a muddy well.

2. What are the other side effect of bad news TV?
Besides the ability to make or break politicians and businessmen, bad news TV (or TV in general) is helping seed the 'Celeb-Universe' - Everyone on TV is a star; every star is a superstar; every superstar is a megastar; every news item is a breaking news item, and so on. Are we losing the ability to judge what it is to be 'really good'?



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