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Archive for December 18th, 2010

Univ of Maryland survey on Fox News makes us ponder who is more dishonest, leftist academics or elite media journalists – UPDATED

Posted by Chuck Norton on December 18, 2010

First the news, then the analysis… [and see the update below!]

UPDATE IV Breaking! – Famed Economist Dr. John Lott dissects fraudulent University of Maryland “study” on Fox News

Via The Blaze

The University of Maryland released a study claiming that regular viewers of Fox News are the “most misinformed” when it comes to knowledge of American politics.

The UMD-commissioned study — “Misinformation and the 2010 Election: A Study of the US Electorate” — looked to judge how likely viewers of various news outlets were to believe false information (note: the study did not actually measure any sort of actual misinformation presented by some media outlets). According to the study, Fox viewers were “significantly more likely” to believe the following “misinformation”:

–Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)

–Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)

–The economy is getting worse (26 points)

–Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)

–The stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)

–Their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)

–The auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points)

–When TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)

–And that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)

FNC has since fired back at the report, defending the content of its broadcasts and judgment of its viewers while simultaneously dismissing the study and its conclusions.  Via the New York Times:

In a statement, Michael Clemente, who is the senior vice president of news editorial for the network, said: “The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having ‘Students Who Study The Least’ and being the ‘Best Party School’ – given these fine academic distinctions, we’ll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was ‘researched’ with.”

Mr. Clemente oversees every hour of objective news programming on Fox News, which is by far the nation’s most popular cable news channel.

For the record, the Princeton Review says the University of Maryland ranks among the “Best Northeastern Colleges.” It was No. 19 on the Review’s list of “Best Party Schools.”

I am going to show you the depths of planning that these academics had to go through to get these results. Before we do that let us examine what a REAL polling and survey research organization like the Pew Research Center  (2) has to say.

According to Pew the most informed newspaper readers are those who read the Wall Street Journal. The most informed radio listeners are those who listen to Rush Limbaugh. And this year the most informed television viewers were the audience of Sean Hannity.

Asked a series of four questions to test their knowledge about politics and current events, just 14% of the public got all four correct – as many got all four wrong (15%). Two-in-ten got three correct, 26% two and 25% one. Regular readers, viewers or listeners of most media sources outscored the general public.

People were asked which party currently controls the House of Representatives  (Democrats), to identify the post held by Eric Holder (U.S. attorney general), which company is run by Steve Jobs (Apple) and which country has an active volcano that disrupted international air travel earlier this year (Iceland).

Overall, seven-in-ten Americans know that Democrats have a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. No media audience did poorly on this question, and 90% or more of the Hannity, Limbaugh and O’Reilly audiences got this right.

Far fewer know that Eric Holder is the attorney general. Just 22% got this question right. Wall Street Journal readers and Hannity viewers performed best on this question, with 56% of each audience answering it correctly.

About four-in-ten (41%) know that Steve Jobs is the head of Apple. Wall Street Journal (85%) and New York Times (80%) readers are especially likely to know this. Six-in-ten know that the volcanic eruption that recently disrupted international air travel is in Iceland. Journal (82% correct) and Times (81%) readers also did especially well on this question.

Examining the bogus Univ of Maryland survey –

Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)

OK lets tackle this one. We know that the stimulus according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve created almost exclusively temporary jobs and some government jobs at an average cost of 400,000 per job. It was promised that unemployment would not rise above 8% if the stimulus was passed and yet it went to 10%, and over 17% if you use normal methods and not the government formula. The stimulus which failed resulted in added uncertainty in the economy which undoubtedly cost jobs. If that money had been used as tax cuts it would have helped create jobs. But the question here is “most economists”.

Most people know what an issue is and might not know what a specific group thinks about it. For example: “Most economists” did not see the mortgage collapse coming. “Most economists” thought that the stimulus package would help much more than it did, “most economists” were surprised by month after month of unexpected, unexpected, unexpected, unexpected bad economic news. “Most economists” have a very poor record of predictions as any examination of government projections shows that most of them are not just wrong, but not even close, because they almost exclusively use static Keynesian models.

This  also depends on what group of economists you ask and if most of that group were to agree on the question.Fox News does not bring on much Keynesian economic ‘talent’. Most economists and financial analysts that appear on Fox are either Austrian School, or followers of Hayek, Friedman, or a mix like Mankiw. These are people whose predictions come true far more than the ones that the AP or Reuters use.

Fox News analysts mostly said that the stimulus wouldn’t work, “most economists” that appeared in the elite media said the opposite, look who ended up being right. The same can be said about the opening affects of ObamaCare, the flat-lining of the economy due to uncertainty etc etc.

It would be fair to say that most of the economists that the viewers have been exposed to might feel the way the respondents answered and if that is the case the answers makes perfect sense and by no means makes them ignorant people.

[It only makes sense that if you poll a group about a subset of people that they are least exposed to that they would get more incorrect answers about that particular subset.- Editor]

Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)

Again according to “most economists” that like static Keynesian models that do not take into account game theory or what is known as the “adverse selection spiral”, then I could see the Univ of Maryland’s point. But the problem is that even Obama’s own Medicare Actuary agrees with conservative economists and have said that it will raise costs. So far the analysts at Fox have been more accurate on the opening effects of ObamaCare [We have been cataloging the statements of people on both sides of this debate if anyone doubts it I will be happy to start producing the quotes, but most of them are already published on this web site so be sure to see our “Health Law” category – Editor]. Remember what we told you above, most economists of what group of economists surveyed? If I surveyed Austrian School economists how would most of them have answered?

– The economy is getting worse (26 points)

I found this one to be pretty amusing. Some indicators go up in a month and some go down. This question greatly depends on who you ask and/or what indicator you wish to look at. The Keynesian economic growth formula can be artificially inflated with government deficit spending. Since government spending in the Keynesian formula is treated the same as consumer spending and investment spending all the government has to do is take out a loan or print up cash and whaaalla – instant short term economic growth.

Even with an artificially inflated growth rate of 1-1.5% the truth is that we need REAL private sector economic growth of over 1.5% just to break even with people coming of age and entering the workforce. They may call the inflated 1.5% government economic growth number an improving economy, but in economic reality we are still taking on water. Fox viewers know this. Elite media viewers have been told every month for almost two years (up until August/September) that things were getting better and “summer of recovery” etc.

– Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)

This one really got me to laugh. All scientists agree that climate change is occurring. Climate is always changing, the question is what is changing, how, and does man have much to do with it. In that regard there are growing numbers of scientists and people that reject AGW alarmism.

–The stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)

The keyword here is ANY. Every Democrat package has targeted tax cuts. Tax cuts that are so targeted it means you don’t get them. A tax cut if you outfit your home in solar panels and other green tax breaks etc. They did pass a payroll schedule reduction, but that was just a reduction in the deduction tables, the tax rate you pay was the same so come April 15th you had to pay more or get a smaller refund.

–Their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)

This depends on how it is measured. Remember those changes in the deduction tables we mentioned. Well those who have started doing their taxes are writing bigger checks or getting smaller refunds as a result, so they think that their taxes are going up.

–When TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)

Where Univ of Maryland…. in the House or in the Senate? Most Republicans in the House did oppose it. Here is the final vote in the House on TARP I – with 91 Republicans for and 108 against. Here is Tarp II – with 19 voting for and 156 voting against. It would seem that Univ of Maryland only looked at the Senate vote.

–And that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)

Again this depends on how it was asked. Do I believe that Obama was born in the United States? Yes I do because I saw the newspaper announcement and that seems like pretty good evidence. Is it CLEAR that he was? That depends, some of his own relatives say he was born in Kenya so why isn’t it clear to them? Some may believe that he was born here but are not completely CLEAR because he has not released his long form birth certificate. The question in this regard is so vague that it is useless for scientific purposes. Clearness implies transparency and Obama has not delivered on that. As far as I know no host or anchor at Fox has pushed a story and claimed that Obama is not a citizen. The study doesn’t show us that this every happened on Fox.

It is because of the vagueness and the nature of the questions that this survey could never withstand the peer review process and was just released as it was. The ideas of being asked about what a subset of a group of people think (like the “most economists” question) would be laughed at. It is better and more scientific to ask direct questions about issues, not what they think some subset might think of them.

This is exactly why far left journalists aren’t trusted by people because of spin that becomes dishonest, just like this “survey”. If you think this scholarship is shoddy, wait till you see the status of climate science.

UPDATE I – Flashback 2007 – Rasmussen Poll:

Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure. Republicans reject that view and, by a 7-to-1 margin, say the President did not know in advance about the attacks. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 18% believe the President knew and 57% take the opposite view.

If I worked for the University of Maryland I would present it this way:

Democrats are twice as likely to be misinformed conspiracy theorists (35%) than the populace at large (18%) with 26% of Democrats not sure how misinformed they are. Republicans, most of whom watch Fox News, reject such uninformed views 7-1. On knowledge of great historical events Fox News viewers are far more informed than Democrats who watch CNN or MSNBC.

UPDATE II Big Journalism reports that money for the study came from the Tides Foudation and George Soros. Of course to the informed that is no surprise whatsoever.

It is a big problem with medical academics being paid to conduct studies and writings with a predetermined conclusion. Sometimes the writings are pre-written and the academic just puts his name to it for a check. Then we found out about the millions that eco-groups, Marxist groups, George Soros/Tides, alternative energy companies, governments, and investment banks like Goldman Sachs (they want to trade the carbon and get a fee for each trade) have been pumping billions into alarmist scholarship propaganda. Now this.

UPDATE III – “How the World Works” tests claims from the “study” and the University of Maryland Study assumes that SOME government claims about the stimulus etc are gospel. They did not actually go out and survey economists. But when you look at the actual government report that the Maryland Study cites (a CBO report) the report admits that economists it used were in conflict about the multiplier/job effect:

Posted in 2012, Academic Misconduct, Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Dirty Tricks, Journalism Is Dead, Leftist Hate in Action | 1 Comment »