To be perfectly honest, I do not watch the news any more. I do not even go to news sites terribly often, nor do I listen to the radio, nor do I read the newspaper. And, yes, this blackout is pretty much self-imposed – I get frustrated and depressed enough with what little information I do consent to expose myself to that any more would just be gratuitously pointless. This is not to say I am ignorant of current affairs, only that I refuse to keep a constant finger on its pulse, lest I gaze too deeply into one of many abysses.
But even that "education by osmosis" seems to be sufficient to keep me abreast of the relative essentials, otherwise I probably would have never been able to score a perfect on this Pew Research Center News IQ Quiz.
Now, before we go any farther, go and take that quiz yourself, and keep your results handy.
Now click on "How did you do, question by question?" and you will be confronted with this:
For clarification, the far-right column is how many adults got that question correct. Now, take a good long look at that table, and consider some of the implications.
In no particular order, over a quarter of those who took the quiz did not know that the elephant was the effective logo of the Republican Party. No big deal, right? Y’know, except for this being an election year, and that symbology being plastered pretty much anywhere Republican candidates can pay to have it posted.
Almost half of Americans have no idea where Israel is. Again, no big deal, right? It is not like they are a next-door neighbor… they are only one of the most heavily-financially-supported nominal allies we have, and that region of the world is only the site and source of some of the most grievous terrorist attacks in modern history.
Somewhere around four out of ten Americans are apparently oblivious that one of the oldest cultures in the world is currently, literally being burned to the ground at the moment. I am starting to run out of appropriate levels of snark with which to address this glaring ignorance.
And to flip those numbers, nearly six out of ten Americans are clueless as to which political party controls which part of the Legislative Branch of our Federal Government. Yeah. I am all out of sarcasm.
Do you want to know why I persist in saying that the average American is the reason America is in the condition we find her in today? THIS is why I keep saying that. Yes, I know this cute little quiz is nothing more than an online poll and thus subject to all manner of confirmational biases, scripting, and Lord knows what else, but the arguably legitimate polling the quiz was based off of shows markedly similar numbers for the country as a whole… or, at least, for whatever fraction they polled. And, really, when over half the country has no idea who is in control of what part of the government, how can you expect them to provide any meaningful input into that government, aside from voting for whomever promises to give them the most money…
But, hey, at least a scant majority of Americans "know" what the unemployment rate is… even though that number is a blatant lie designed to convince people things are better off than they actually are.
(Special thanks to Old NFO for thoroughly ruining my day.)