A few years ago a study was conducted by the Program on International Policy (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and Knowledge Networks to gauge Americans’ perceptions on the Iraq war and determine their degree of support for it. An amazing coincidence was found. It seems that those who relied on Fox News for their information were more likely to suffer from misperceptions than those who watched other networks! The polling revealed that 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda had been proven, 22% that weapons of mass destruction were discovered in Iraq, and 25% swore on stacks of Bibles that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq. In all, 60% of Fox viewers held fast to at least one of these three misperceptions.
As you can imagine, support for the war rose dramatically and proportionally according to the degree of misperception. And while I will fight to the death to preserve others’ rights to be willfully–and even dangerously–ignorant, too much Fox News might be a bad thing. Here are some warning signs that it could be time to get your news elsewhere:
You firmly believe that Saddam Hussein personally flew one of the planes into the World Trade Center and parachuted out at the last second.
You believe that all the WMD were secretly shipped to Venezuela.
You believe that any country that begins with I-R-A must be bombed into a pre-Stone Age, radioactive pile of rubble, just to be on the safe side.
You believe this will cause the surviving inhabitants to love us.
You believe that Jesus, like democracy, can be delivered from 30,000 feet or in short, fully-automatic bursts.
Your find nothing unusual in a young, athletic woman suddenly dying alone in Joe Scarborough’s office, after his premature resignation from Congress amid rumors of infidelity following his divorce. Happens all the time.
You would let Joe Scarborough date your sister.
You know more about missing white women than any of your friends.
You think Brit Hume is handsome.
You consider Fox to be living up to their motto, “Fair and Balanced” by allowing Alan Colmes to audit Hannity’s lectures.
You think Alan Colmes is a liberal.
You have named your three children O’Reilly, Hannity and Cavuto. All three are girls.
You believe that war in Iraq has been a smashing success. You can’t wait to watch other people fight the next one.
You believe George W. Bush is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ.
You think that Jesus could learn a thing or two from George.
You would go hunting with Dick Cheney.
You would go hunting and drinking with Dick Cheney.
You believe Helen Thomas is bin Laden’s mother.
You cannot understand why “Orwellian” is considered a negative term.
You believe Ann Coulter is a voice of Christian compassion and reason and have a poster of her on your bedroom wall, wearing a leather bustier, thigh-high black boots and holding a whip while kicking a kitten.
You wish everyone would quit bullying O’Reilly, especially that Jew Al Franken.
You have removed the words “loofa” and “falafel” from your vocabulary. Okay, they were never really in your vocabulary, but if they were you would remove them.
You find the female Fox reporters extremely sexy. Something about whores with gravitas.
You believe that the Palestinians should go back to their own country.
You didn’t notice that Tony Snow got a new job.
You believe Fox News is actually a branch of the United States government. You are right for once.
KONA LOWELL is the author of The Solid Green Birthday and Other Fables and runs the Dolphin. He lives in Hawai’i and can be reached through his website: konalowell.com