Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rasmussen: 67% Americans Better Informed Than 10 Years Ago

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Rie Rasmussen (no relation)

Rasmussen is reporting poll results where "two-out-of-three Americans (67%) feel they are more informed today than they were 10 years ago." At first blush, this seems to indicate a triumph of the New Media over the old. And to a certain extent, this is true.

Adults ages 30 to 49 believe that more strongly than those in any other age group
That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. If you asked me if I was better informed at 29 than I was at 19, although the answer is "yes" it is largely irrelevant. What I knew at 19 was largely academic. What I knew at 29 had some real world experience to back it up.

Then, there's the phenomenon about lying to pollsters. "Are you better informed?" This question might be one that people might be inclined to fudge a bit on, even to an impersonal pollster. People are sometimes embarrassed to admit ignorance, even to strangers. Like asking adolescent boys how much sex they've had.

And finally, there's the reliability of the Internet.
Forty-four percent (44%) of all adults say the Internet is the best way to get news and information.

I agree. But, I have also seen too many people search the Internet merely for examples to bolster their ignorance and misconceptions. Truly informed individuals have learned how to sift through much of the dreck and misinformation on the web. After all, may have a better creative writing staff than say a, but in the end, you have to be able to compare more than one source to test the veracity of their claims. A closed mind will only look for or accept evidence that reinforces its own world view.

With those caveats, I am mildly encouraged. The demise of the stranglehold of the Old Media was unleashed by virtually unlimited access to information, via the Internet. Sans traditional filters, the consumer must be more discerning about what they receive, but then there is an abundance of material with which to fact check.

Persons today who are uninformed, choose to be.

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