It has now been well-established by research that people who watch Fox News in the US are more likely to be wrong about things more often than those who don’t.
This is not suggesting that the relationship is causal as it might be a matter of people who are likely to be wrong on things choosing to watch Fox News rather than Fox News promulgating the errors. Or, of course, it could also be a bit of both.
But one wonders whether the problem comes further up the ladder. In the last year or so we have seen statements from the two top News Corporation people, Rupert Murdoch and Chase Carey, which makes one wonder where they get their views from. Last year Chase Carey, commenting on the outlook for the print part of the business, explained away Australian results by saying that Australia had been in recession for the past four years. Well you might think that if you follow The Australian, Telegraph or Herald-Sun but it’s not the reality the economic data shows.
Similarly Rupert Murdoch has accused the Gillard Government of being racist over 457 visas, comparing the situation to the US which welcomes immigration. Now Rupert changed his citizenship to make doing business in the US easier but for most people trying to work in the US it is a difficult process to get work visas or green cards. Indeed, shortages in skilled STEM staff have become a major problem for the US economy. Equally Republican Party policies, supported by News outlets in the US, have been trying to make it harder for less skilled migrants for a fair while too.
The US was built on immigration but in the 1870s and again in the early 1920’s (even before Rupert was a boy) there were tighter restrictions – many of them based on race. The 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act is one example. The problems facing Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and hoping to emigrate to the US another although there were some high profile exceptions.
So the Carey and Murdoch comments yet again raise the causation question. Do they cause the erroneous stuff in News outlets or do they get their erroneous information from the outlets?
A NOTE ON THE EASTER REFLECTION
The blog, as previously mentioned, doesn’t provide for comments simply because the hassle of moderating them, deleting the mad stuff and watching out for defamation is just too hard. However, the blog also sometimes gets taken to task by readers who contact me direct. A good friend commenting on the Easter Reflection says: “In your Easter reflection (you refer to), a ‘relatively tolerant’ pre-Christian Rome? Depends on perspective and timing. While many pagan cultures accepted Rome’s economic strength and some of its gods; the later insistence of adding these gods to some local religions (especially erecting statues of Caligula as a god in Jerusalem’s holy temple) eventually resulted in the Temple, and many Jews, being ploughed into the ground. Of course Christian Rome and subsequent Christianised Europe have not treated Muslims and Jews better.” Another friend pointed out that it could be argued that the Roman Empire destroyed Christianity by co-opting it is an instrument of power which helped maintain order and obedience. Both points taken.