Another Pew poll demonstrates managed ignorance

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Take the News IQ test. Last time I mentioned this demonstration of managed ignorance, 5% of the people got them all right. This time we are down to 1%.

And managed ignorance is again apparent. It people had no idea of any of the right answers and just answered randomly, we would expect that 1.5% would get all 12 questions wrong. Even random chance would get at least 1 right. One question only had 2 possibilities.

Yet 4% of the respondents got all 12 wrong! That is almost 3 times higher than what we would expect to get by random chance.

People were not answering randomly. A large group ‘knew’ the wrong answer. When forced to make a choice, they would pick the wrong one, at a much higher rate than expected if they chose randomly.

Looking at the data in greater detail, there are some eyeopeners that help us see why so many did not get all the questions right.. People just do not understand TARP at all. Only 16% of the people got that one right – more than half of it. The same amount thought that none of it had been repaid and a whopping 36% thought less than half. Only 28% said they did not know what the answer was. 56% was sure they knew the answer and they were wrong. This is even a higher percentage wrong than seen in the last Pwe poll.

More people thought the inflation rate was closer to 10% than knew the right answer – 1%. But almost 50% did not have any idea at all what the inflation rate was. Similarly with the Prime Minister question. 60% simply said they did not know.

But with TARP, many were so sure of the wrong answer. SOmething is going on when so many people are not just ignorant of an area – ignorant simply meaning they do not know. This is the sort of managed ignorance I’ve mentioned before.

I hope we can more away from this sort of managed ignorance where people ‘know’ the wrong thing to a day when they simply can say they do not know. A day of simple ignorance.

2 thoughts on “Another Pew poll demonstrates managed ignorance

  1. I must say that some of the questions are poorly phrased, to say the least. Unemployment rate in which area or state, for example. TARP money paid back depends on which pol you listen to. And so on and so forth. It is almost impossible for the average person to keep track of most of these things except people who spend their life online. The rest of us have better things to do. For the record, I answered 9 out of 12 properly and have no college education and am old, old, old!

    1. Well, any pol who says that less than half of TARP has been paid back is wrong. That is partly what I mean by managed ignorance. There is no penalty for stating incorrect facts and nonsense anywhere on the media – few media guys call out their pundits on misstatements – so many people are fed the wrong facts. That is how they can ‘know’ something that is not true.

      Like any test, some are easy and some are hard. Some things people know and some things they do not. What I find interesting is that the numbers indicate that a large number of Americans know the wrong facts. In the telephone poll, people were allowed to say they don’t know. SO, if it was a hard question, they could just say that. That did just that on the British Prime Minister question – 60% said ‘I don’t know”.

      Yet on another hard one – the TARP question – only 28% said they did not know. Fully 56% got the wrong answer with more people saying “Less than half” than said they did not know. These people were not just ignorant; they were confused.

      Probably by some pol or pundit who spoke incorrect facts without being corrected by the news media.

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