Things Fox News viewers “know” that just ain’t so

I thought you might like to see this set of survey responses from a survey done on December 9th, cross-referenced against what TV station the viewers happened to watch. The most interesting set of responses were from Fox News viewers. All of these beliefs are totally and completely demonstrably false. They are as follows:

* 91% believe that the stimulus legislation lost jobs.
* 72% believe that the health reform law will increase the deficit.
* 72% believe that the economy is getting worse.
* 60% believe that climate change is not occurring.
* 49% believe that income taxes have gone up.
* 63% believe that the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts.
* 56% believe that Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout.
* 38% believe that most Republicans opposed TARP.
* 63% believe that Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear).

These are not a matter of politics. They are a matter of facts and reality. Fox News viewers got these by and large wrong. All these numbers were higher than the corresponding views of people who generally did not watch the network. Fox News is in the habit of misinforming its viewing public, and every one of the pieces of misinformation benefits a specific party — dun dun dunnn, the Republicans. That the Repubs have to have their image burnished by outright lies is pretty damning, wouldn’t you say?

But what’s even more damning is the number of MSNBC/CNN folks that are completely unaware that they believe outright lies about important issues, such as the health care reform bill that recently passed. From a different poll:

On Health Care Reform, Those Who Believe That It Will… MSNBC/CNN Viewers Fox News Viewers
Give Coverage To Illegal Immigrants: 41% 72%
Lead To A Government Takeover: 39% 79%
Pay For Abortions: 40% 69%
Stop Care To The Elderly: 30% 75%

This is beyond sad. None of these things are true. They are empirically false. They are lies. Falsehoods. Wrong. Not just wrong, fractally wrong. So wrong that when you zoom in on any one aspect of the falsehood, it’s exactly as wrong as the whole thing. These falsehoods depend on swallowing lies compounded with lies.

I reiterate — they aren’t matters of perspective or opinion. They are matters of fact, and the facts do not correspond with any of these assertions. Each of these lies have an eroding effect on the freedoms you value most. When the major determining factor for who wins elections is how many people believe outright lies, you don’t have a democracy any more. Democracy depends on an informed electorate. You are evidently lacking in that dependency, given the number of people watching the “liberal channels” and still believing the total fabrications spouted by the vested interests in the right wing.

I weep for democracy.

Wikirebels, an SVT documentary

This documentary, produced by SVT (the Swedish BBC), explains the entire Wikileaks story up til December 11th, when it was released. It includes coverage of the Assange rape allegations, though its focus is on the inception, growth and struggles of Wikileaks itself. It is surprisingly sympathetic to the concept of Wikileaks as a stateless journalistic entity, though appears to keep itself at arms length from the organization as a whole.

Fair warning, parts 2 and 3 contain clips from the “collateral murder” video, wherein an American attack helicopter shot a number of innocents, including Reuters employees and the innocent first responders who attempted to rescue the wounded. It is very disturbing, if you haven’t already seen it. Disturbing, and damning.

The first part, of four:

The rest is available at Youtube: Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Better off neither inflated nor diminished.

This is pretty much spot on. QualiaSoup and TheraminTrees both completely devastate the entire fields of philosophy and theology every time they make one of these videos, so I’m more than happy to point you to them rather than rehashing myself. I mean, seriously, how can two individuals create such consistently high-quality content? I’m pretty… yeah, jealous is the word.

Repeal of DADT sends right-wingers into apoplexy

I am amazed that it took as long as it has to bring a bit of sanity back to America’s policies with regard to sexuality of serving members, but they finally repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. Yesterday the US Senate voted 63-33 to end cloture, then voted 65-31 (including eight Republicans) to repeal the strange law.

It’s one thing to forbid people from investigating, or discriminating against, gay soldiers. It’s another thing entirely to forbid people from serving while out. There’s a scene in the movie Across the Universe, set during the Vietnam War, wherein someone is expressly NOT refused entry into the army for claiming to be gay. “As long as you don’t have flat feet,” the recruiter says. Reality under DADT, however, expressly forbade any knowledge of a person’s sexual orientation, such that anyone openly gay could not serve, and anyone serving could not come out.

I can kind of understand, in the political climate of the 90s when being gay was only just becoming slightly less taboo — a bit of progress that was slowed with the misinformation around the spread of AIDS. The creation of the law in that climate was obviously intended to allow gays to join, to serve their country alongside straight soldiers — because if someone wants to risk their life fighting for what may or may not be a good cause, it damn well shouldn’t matter what gender or orientation they happen to be.

Except, naturally, to the esteemed and totally sane members of the Party of Family Values.

The new Marine motto: “The Few, the Proud, the Sexually Twisted.” Good luck selling that to strong young males who would otherwise love to defend their country. What virile young man wants to serve in a military like that?

If the president and the Democrats wanted to purposely weaken and eventually destroy the United States of America, they could not have picked a more efficient strategy to make it happen.
Bryan Fischer, American Family Association

“Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda. This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military’s ability to fulfill its mission.
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

If the lame-duck Congress succeeds in ‘gaying down’ our military this weekend, it will take a disastrous leap toward “mainstreaming” deviant, sinful homosexual conduct – not just in the military but in larger society — thus further propelling America’s moral downward spiral.
Peter LaBarbera, president of “Americans For Truth About Homosexuality”, a virulently anti-gay organization

Ain’t that just precious. What is it about the right wing that makes them so xenophobic and self-defeating that they’d deign decree who’s allowed to give their lives for their country? They can’t honestly think that being gay makes you less capable of killing people, can they?

Thunderf00t buys into the “hype” hype

In toto, the video he made is correct on the facts, except it glosses over one key fact — the press conference was basically exactly what people are demanding of scientists day-in and day-out with regard to scientific outreach. It is imperative that we “dumb down” science to an extent, to communicate its importance to people that otherwise couldn’t care less and would demand the programs be cut for being useless. The paper itself may have underwhelmed him, but he has no leg to stand on when he attacks the press conference as far as I’m concerned.

By my understanding, the press conference did actually explain exactly how they figured out that arsenic is used in the bacteria where phosphorus would be normally. So we have that “direct structural evidence”. Maybe not for DNA specifically, but if there’s a significant lack of phosphorus in the sample, that’s pretty good evidence all by itself that the arsenic in the sample is being used in its stead. At that, there are already very good bits of direct structural evidence of arsenic-based structures in existing, so-called conventional life. So, where’s the beef of his complaint exactly?

The original “hype” for the press conference was that the discovery impacts the search for extraterrestrial life. If this is wrong in any way, I’ve yet to hear it from anyone claiming this is just hype for NASA.