13 September 2010


when I say jump

A couple tidbits jump right out of that.

1) Look at the split between high school graduates (or less) and college graduates for news consumption online. And again with the elderly/retirees. My experience has been that these groups of the population are the most likely to be engaged in ideologically silliness, sorting themselves off into camps and ignoring or disparaging what is said on the opposite side. In effect it is the types of people who don't consume online news sources who are likely responsible for a large portion of the polarized political world. I suppose it is possible that college graduates have sorted themselves online into reading only WND or FireDogLake, but here again, the sorts of graduates who would do so are already going to do so regardless of the internet's supposed fractured and broken data cloud sourcing of information. I look at that poll split and see evidence that the problem is people and always has been, regardless of the methods of media or press. When you probe further, again, the elderly camp is looking at largely polarized internet sources as it is (in fact, one assumes based on that study that may be about all the elderly are doing online other than emailing photos of grandchildren to each other), but even still, the percentage of actual people engaged in such activities is startlingly low (under 15%, and roughly a quarter of all internet users). Again, when you look at college graduates, they are likely to encounter news online, suggesting that they're consuming information related to politics at least. The one interesting twist on this theory was that it was the high school or less people who declared the highest skepticism of news sources generally. I'm not sure what the explanation for that might be other than a perception that news in general is worthless (ie, a rational justification that if I don't pay attention to it, it must not be important in the first place), and this division falls away when you see that the same cohort prefers "non-biased" coverage much less than others. (Also not surprising, conservative Republicans most wanted coverage which conformed to their views more than any other group, by a landslide, which is then confirmed by the landslide of "conservatives" consuming Faux News and Rush Limbaugh).

2) I like how low Drudge and HuffPo are on the list of "news" (both are useless in my opinion). But I'm not sure that many people perceive them as "news" as much of their content is typical tabloid quality fare or editorials. I'm not quite sure why RSS feeds are so low on the list. Putting 30-40 of those with a handful of actual press organs (BBC for example, I feel it almost necessary to use the British media to follow the events going on in America anymore) should be plenty good enough to follow events without needing to look for a news site proper. Whatever the buzz is is probably news and it will likely link back to some popular column or story from the NYT or Economist and so on.

3) University of Google attendees are still likely actual university attendees. To be sure, I've encountered plenty of morons who managed to make it onto a college campus in my day. But it's pretty unlikely that we're getting home researchers piecing together these conspiracies like birtherism and the various Islamic "cult" beliefs and distributing them mostly through this mechanism. The point here being that I'm not sure that most of the people who lack a basic exposure to having to write a college research essay are likely to have much skill putting together google based research either.

4) I'm not surprised Facebook and Twitter are not generally used as media outlets for actual media/press/events. They are personal broadcast websites and few people wish to broadcast to others their political affiliations or beliefs as opposed to their ability to entertain and amuse.

5) Not surprised there's an enthusiasm gap for younger people and (progressive) Democrats for consuming news.

6) As with the debate I had with others over free speech recently, there are not many conservatives watching Jon Stewart or Colbert, etc. Which means that these are not views which are being engaged against others but instead are idiot boxes shouting into the already willing mob (albeit, very funny idiots). Somewhat disturbing is the NYT split vs the WSJ split. This results in a not very surprising split over job approval as people sort themselves into teams. I'm somewhat alarmed not so much at the 11% of Beck viewers but the 80% of Maddow viewers actually. I think both numbers should be closer to the center to indicate less bias. The most clearly biased sources (opinion "journalism") end up as the sources only trusted by people who want bias (but will ignore it from their side). Somewhat amusing: The people perceived as some of the least biased were evening network news (and morning shows). Which have the advantage of being the least informative sources of news apparently.

7) Tea Party is NOT libertarian. Thanks for playing but when Rush and Hannity are among your top players, you're not part of the team. You're part of the next team listed on there (Christian Conservatives). I'm kind of surprised that "Progressive" is the top consumer for Colbert. I'd also like to know what the definition of "environmentalist" was. "Libertarian" itself, based on the litany of woe listed, with no dominating view at the top, is pretty graphically split into camps of some sort, with apparently a Beckian version and a Colbert? version (hard to say that Colbert has espoused many libertarian views either with sympathy and accuracy, "pro-business" is more roundly mocked than free markets for example).
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