Saturday morning musings while wondering if the Big Ten Conference kept its receipt from the consultants who came up with the Legends and Leaders division idea:
• A study conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a project that is managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, shows that television news programming has created a lot of misinformed voters. All networks receive low marks on some issues, including MSNBC (at left, pun intended), but heading the list is Fox News Channel viewers, which the study concludes are significantly more likely to believe untruths about the Democratic health care overhaul, climate change and other subjects.
“Almost daily” viewers of Fox News, the authors said, were 31 points more likely to mistakenly believe that “most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit;” were 30 points more likely to believe that “most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring;” and were 14 points more likely to believe that “the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts.”
They were also 13 points more likely to mistakenly believe “the auto bailout only occurred under Obama;” 12 points more likely to believe that “when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it;” and 31 points more likely to believe that “it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States.”
The study’s authors continued, “These effects increased incrementally with increasing levels of exposure and all were statistically significant. The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it — though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican.”
The study suggests voters who supplement their television viewing habits by reading about issues are more likely to make informed decisions. The study apparently didn’t poll viewers who prefer ESPN.
• In terms of playing the role of “Comeback Kid,” conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer writes that Obama has left Bill Clinton in his dust.
If Barack Obama wins re-election in 2012, as is now more likely than not, historians will mark his comeback as beginning on Dec. 6, the day of the Great Tax Cut Deal of 2010. Obama had a bad November. … Now, with his stunning tax deal, Obama is back. Holding no high cards, he nonetheless managed to resurface suddenly not just as a player but as orchestrator, deal maker and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama.
• The top two candidates to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention reportedly are St. Louis and Charlotte, N.C. St. Louis has hosted five national conventions, but none since Democrats renominated President Woodrow Wilson for his successful re-election bid in 1916. Missouri has a Democratic governor and Sen. Claire McCaskill will be up for re-election in 2012, but the biggest boosters may be Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.