The content on this blog is my personal opinion and does not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the US Navy in any way.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Facts and Opinions

This Pew study on how good Americans are at distinguishing between factual and opinion statements in the news is simultaneously awesome, depressing, and a bit encouraging. I like it a lot, because I think trying to measure this sort of thing is extremely interesting, but the results they came up with are mixed at best.

Of course, if you want to try your hand at telling the difference, you can do that here.

The study does offer some reason for optimism - over half of the people in the survey group were able to get a majority of the questions correct. Each question was also answered correctly by a majority of the people who responded, although in one or two cases it was a very small majority. And I liked noting that people who are very politically aware and who trust the news media tended to do better than those that didn't, because it shows there actually might be some benefit in trying to keep people informed.

On the other hand, there weren't very many people that actually managed to get all of the statements right, and the way in which errors showed up pretty clearly shows that a lot of the public is quite willing to engage in motivated reasoning, whether or not they realize that's what they're doing.

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