Breaking news: Americans lie to pollsters

At the LA Times’ Top of the Ticket blog, Andrew Malcolm points out some interesting poll results from Rasmussen:

A new poll, just out, reveals that fully 1% of Americans thinks the news media need to focus more attention on celebrities. Too much celebrity news coverage? No, we don't do enough.


In other celebrity-related polling news, the same Rasmussen Reports poll finds that a mere 87% of Americans thinks the media pay too much attention to celebrities, while in an unusual display of self-candor, 84% of Americans admit that Americans themselves (other Americans, mind you) pay too much attention to celebrities.

Another whopping nine percent in the Rasmussen survey say the media's coverage volume of celebrities is just about right. Amen to that if that brings you here.

I don’t buy it. These poll respondents are either not truly representative of the American public at large or they’re flat-out lying.

There’s a reason why, in terms of traffic rankings, the top blogs on the internet aren’t straight-news or political blogs but rather celebrity gossip sites. There’s a reason why the Huffington Post mixes extensive celebrity nipple-slip coverage into its news and political coverage. That’s because celebrity gossip and inadvertently exposed nipples are what the public wants.

At least, judging by the websites that get the most traffic and the news programs that get the most viewers.

We are a nation obsessed with celebrity to the point of distraction. Which is why, at any given moment, there are more people watching the inane antics of the cast of Jersey Shore (or reading about them in some tabloid) than watching our nation’s laws be made on CSPAN.

And, per this poll, we aren’t even honest with ourselves about it.

I get the fascination. Watching someone as talented and beautiful as Lindsey Lohan sink into a pit of substance abuse and narcissism is morbidly fascinating in the same way the car wrecks we slow down to get a look at are. But we need better priorities.  We claim to want better government, but we’re more interested in American Idol than electing better leaders.

I do think there’s hope, though. The internet has created an unprecedented level of access to information about what our government is doing. It has also allowed for an unprecedented level of free speech and participation in how our government is doing what it’s doing. These are positive developments, but we’ve clearly got a long way to go.

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