Topic: "Media Reporting" (6)
Dr. Frodo, King of the Behavioral Scientists, quotes tonight from a recent study by the University of Georgia. Surprisingly, the study does not involve sports, alcohol, or groping, but that is not the reason that Frodo took note of its content. The report found that media reporting during the the recent presidential campaign did little to clarify the public perception of President Obama's faith.
2400 people were surveyed at three different points during the campaign to see if exposure to news media helped to correct misperceptions. The survey asked the same people the same questions in October, September, and November of 2008. The study found that about 20 percent of Americans believed that then-Senator Obama was a Muslim despite news stories and fact-checking Web sites that attempted to debunk the rumor. The percentages stayed pretty much the same throughout the study, except, strangely enough, for the fact that there was movement within the people surveyed. Some people, it seems, who initially perceived Obama as Christian early in the study changed their minds, as did some others who initially perceived him as Muslim.
The study was able to conclude that respondents who were younger, less educated, less politically interested, politically conservative, or believed in a literal translation of the Bible were more likely to be among those who shifted their perception from Christian to Muslim. These people, the study summarized, are generally distrustful of the mainstream media and therefore more likely to believe just the opposite of what journalists have to say. Georgia Professor Barry Hollander is quoted as saying "With most forms of political knowledge, media should theoretically make you more accurate. In this case, media exposure had no effect. Ultimately the message here is that people believe what they want to believe."
At the University of Georgia, concludes Frodo, it is to hurry on down to the sports bar and get a look at the hooters.
We're Number One.