Monday, July 31, 2006

People who don't watch the news shouldn't complain about it

Pew polled people's use of the media and I found the result in the image here surprising:

Republicans tune out international newsRepublicans, more than Democrats or Independents, are tuning out news from Iraq. Everyone is recoiling a little bit from the Lovecraftian horror we've unleashed there. Most groups have also paid less attention to the goings-on in Washington, with the exception of liberal Democrats, who remain unchanged.

When we or the Bush Administration talk about the "reality-based community," this is what we're talking about. I follow the news because I have a stake in what my nation does and in what happens in my world. And for whatever reason, Democrats and Independents tend to share that desire for accurate knowledge. In contrast, the Republican base is solving the disconnect between empirical evidence and their hopes and expectations by closing their eyes. Catching up on reading fiction (insert Ann Coulter comment here). Maybe doing some more gardening. Anything to avoid confronting the mess that their favorite guy has made of this world since they re-elected him.

This is why I get peeved about the strain of right-wing criticism that claims that the media is responsible for what's wrong in Iraq. Conservatives have preferred to wrap themselves in the happy-happy world of their own spin, and what journalists do is not harm the occupation, but force them to re-evaluate the status of it. People who aren't paying attention to the news from Iraq do not get to complain about how that news is covered.