January 19, 2011

When Idiocy is Contagious

Fox NewsIt is very easy to say that we have little reason to care what others believe as long as they leave us alone, stay out of politics, and obey the laws pertaining to separation of church and state. The problem is that this list of requirements can get quite long. For example, some might want to add "as long as they don't raise their children to be morons," and others might wish to include "as long as they don't attempt to infect others with their nonsense." When idiocy is contagious, we have cause for concern.

Take everyone's favorite example of contagious idiocy, Fox "News," for a moment. It would be very easy to say that Fox should be a non-issue and that anyone who doesn't like it should simply not watch it. And yet, there is evidence that those who do watch it end up being misinformed relative to those who get their news elsewhere. And this was merely the latest study to show the same results.

Why should we care that others are misinformed? For starters, they vote. And they are not being randomly misinformed but strategically misinformed to serve a particular agenda. The idea of propaganda being used on our fellow Americans to shape opinion and behavior once outraged us.

But the impact of this sort of misinformation goes well beyond politics. The ranks of the misinformed contribute to our culture in countless ways. What do you suppose viewers are learning about atheists from Fox "News" and other outlets pushing their particular worldview? We could not go through our lives avoiding them even if we wanted to, and so we need to pay attention to they messages they receive.

H/T to Failed Empire

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