Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Americans are stupid woefully misinformed

From TPM (via Libby):

In a CNN poll of American adults released Friday, the median guess on what percentage of the federal budget goes to public broadcasting was 5%. With a $3.55 trillion budget last year, that would put funding for the CBP at approximately $178 billion.

In reality though, that's not even close.

The CPB received about $420 million last year from the federal government, making it roughly one one-hundredth of one percent, of the overall budget. That means that the median response was about 424 times higher than the actual amount of federal funding that went to public broadcasting last year.

Further, 20% of respondents thought CPB funding made up over 10% of the entire budget, including 5% who said it made up at least half.

This, of course, is how Republicans dominate the narrative over the budget, and how they achieve electoral success generally, namely, by feeding, and feeding off, widespread public ignorance.

With respect to the budget, it's how they try to convince you that they can offset their tax cuts (mostly for the wealthy) with spending cuts -- but not cuts to popular entitlement programs like Social Security, and not cuts to military spending, but cuts to "waste" (which never really amounts to much, despite their claims) and to such perennial right-wing targets as the NEA, NPR, and PBS (which are not nearly as significant in terms of federal funding as they suggest).

It's their vicious circle, you see:

-- People are ignorant.
-- Republicans make more people ignorant and people more ignorant.
-- More people vote Republican.
-- More Republicans make more people even more ignorant.
-- Etc., etc., etc.

The truth shall set you free. Which is precisely why Republicans don't want you to have it.

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