Part of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) plan to boost economic growth, he says, is a tax cut that comes in the form of repealing certain taxes on investments for the middle class. As ThinkProgress has noted, however, those cuts won’t actually benefit most middle-class individuals. Romney may now be aware of that fact, as he told one local resident in Des Moines, Iowa today that he isn’t “trying to put money in people’s pockets. That’s the other party.”
Despite what he says, Romney is indeed trying “to reduce the tax burden…that’s paid by the top one percent.” His tax plan, in fact, gives a $6.6 billion tax cut to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
What’s stunning is how many different areas of the news and public policy Fox viewers are misinformed about.
The release this week of yet another survey indicating the more you watch Fox News the less they know, has once again shone a spotlight on one of the unique features that defines Rupert Murdoch’s cable news outlet – it is very, very good at misinforming people. And it’s very bad at reporting the news. In other words: Propaganda? Yes. News? Not so much.
It’s true that the most recent survey, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, only polled adults in New Jersey and doesn’t represent national indictment against Fox. Nonetheless, the findings created amedia stir because they reinforce what pollsters and academics previously discovered; that one of the country’s all-news channels consistently leaves viewers less informed.
What’s stunning is how many different areas of the news and public policy Fox viewers are misinformed about. For instance, the Fairleigh Dickinson survey asked viewers about recent grassroots uprisings in Arab nations [emphasis added]:
For example, people who watch Fox News, the most popular of the 24-hour cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all….. Fox News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news.
That just means we can add the Arab Spring to the laundry list of issues Fox fans are less knowledgeable about. Here are some previously documented examples.
–2003, the Iraq War. the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) study found widespread public misperceptions about the Iraq war, but some media consumers were more misinformed than others:
Those who primarily watch Fox News are significantly more likely than average to have misperceptions.
Occupiers could direct their energy not only at Wall Street, but also at its enablers, in Congress, and ultimately, at the high court.
Perhaps there were truly free markets before the industrial revolution, where townspeople and farmers gathered in a square to exchange livestock, produce and handmade tools. In our modern world, such a market does not exist. Governments set up the rules of the game, and those rules have an enormous impact on our economic outcomes.
In 2007, the year of the crash, the top 1 percent of American households took in almost two-and-a-half times the share of our nation’s pre-tax income that they had grabbed in the 40 years folliwing World War Two. This was no accident – the rules of the market underwent profound changes that led to the upward redistribution of trillions in income over the past 30 years. The rules are set by Congress – under a mountain of lobbying dollars – but they are adjudicated by the courts.
The Supreme Court, with a right-wing majority under Chief Justice John Roberts, has become a body that leans too far toward the “1 percent” to be considered a neutral arbiter. So whether they know all the ins and outs of the court’s profound rightward shift or not, those protesting across the country as part of the Occupy movement are motivated by its corruption as well.
While conservatives constantly rail against judges “legislating from the bench,” it is far more common for right-leaning jurists to engage in “judicial activism” than those of a liberal bent. That’s what a 2005 study by Yale University legal scholar Paul Gewirtz and Chad Golder found. According to the scholars, those justices most frequently labeled “conservative” were among the most likely to strike down statutes passed by Congress, while those most frequently labeled “liberal” were the least likely to do so.
A 2007 study by University of Chicago law professor Thomas J. Miles and Cass R. Sunstein looked at the tendency of judges to strike down decisions by federal regulatory agencies, and found a similar trend. The Supreme Court’s “conservative” justices were again the most likely to engage in this form of “activism,” while the “liberal” justices were most likely to exercise judicial restraint.