Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is U.S. media system failing U.S. democracy?

A 2008 academic study compared the level of public knowledge about current events in Denmark, Finland, England and the U.S. It found that the countries with TV/radio dominated by public broadcasting -- Denmark and Finland -- were the best informed. Our country, dominated by corporate commercial media, was the least informed. The study's authors suggest that differing media systems play a role in those results.

A 2003 study of U.S. public knowledge of facts related to the Iraq War found that misperceptions were greatest among those whose primary info source was Fox News -- and least among those whose primary info source was public broadcasting. (A Pew poll taken in Aug. 2010 found that almost 1 in 5 Americans believed President Obama to be a Muslim; only 34% knew he is a Christian. 43% chose "don't know.")

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