Mike the Mad Biologist

Recently, I argued that the widespread ignorance of the most basic elements of U.S. politics should be viewed as an educational failure–an adult educational failure–committed by the political press corps. Basically, the political news media, with some exceptions, are either failing to provide relevant information or actively promoting ‘misinformation’ (also known as propaganda). To give you a visual image of what I mean, I created a word cloud of the transcripts of the February 20th editions of ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, and CBS’s Face the Nation. The size of the word indicates its relative occurrence in each show. While you’re looking at these, think about not only what’s there, but what is missing.

ABC’s This Week:

THIS WEEKFEB20_2011

NBC’s Meet the Press:

MEETHEPRESSFEB20

CBS’s Face the Nation:

facethenationfeb20_2011

You’ll notice that the words “budget” and “cuts” are quite large. But did you see jobs, employment, or unemployment? Except for CBS, where it’s a tiny lil’ word, no.

In a nation where unemployment and underemployment combined affect one out of six people, it is staggering that unemployment isn’t mentioned. Meanwhile, our outdated obsession with deficits and budget cuts rolls on. This is a tragic failure of our political press corps.

Related: This is the first mention I’ve send in the mainstream media about how poorly they do their jobs–and not by a media critic:

The misinformed: You can only shake your head at these numbers: A Kaiser Family Foundation poll “found extensive public confusion about the health care law, with 22% of Americans incorrectly believing it has been repealed and another 26% unsure or unwilling to say.” Folks, the law HAS NOT been repealed. As we said when yet another poll showed a sizable portion of the American public thinking that — incorrectly — President Obama is a Muslim, everyone deserves blame here. The politicians. The citizenry. And especially the news media. We aren’t doing our jobs when the populace is this misinformed. As a collective, look at how the court decisions striking down the health law get covered vs. the decisions to uphold it. And then look at the conservative media outlets and their coverage of this issue.

Erm, it’s not just the propagandists at Fox ‘News’ who are the problem….