This is not true for all Americans; I am generalizing, of course. But I am convinced that (the overwhelming majority of) Americans really are unable to process information presented to them from which they have to draw their own conclusions. They need CNN, Fox and NBC to spoon feed the news story to them so that they can understand it, know about it and decide which point of view they agree with.
Take for example two major revelation in the past two weeks: the Washington Post’s Top Secret America series which chronicles the exponential ballooning of America’s national security operations and costs and WikiLeaks’ Afghanitsan War Logs, which chronicle the Afghanistan war through first hand government reports from the field.
Now, for all intents and purposes, these are blockbuster reports which need to be looked at carefully and analyzed closely because both can provide insight that up till now has been the domain of intelligence analysts. The first was largely ignored by the media also, because god forbid someone actually looks at data and extrapolates their own opinions, despite the fact that the Washington Post released the information in a fantastic format. The second, the collection of 92,000 documents leaked by WikiLeaks, has been debated about but only as far as the question of its use, and the chances that the people who leaked it are going to be prosecuted– it hasn’t been an analysis so much, rather a sidestepping. Most importantly, now that these otherwise secret records are in the public domain, Americans are only focusing on what is being pointed out to them by the media rather than doing their own research. In fact, the overall reaction has been apathy, which is a bit disgusting because every other day, almost everyone has an opinion of security matters, the massive budgetary problems in America and on how the Afghanistan war is going.
Then again, I didn’t expect much more from a population in which 26% of people don’t know which country America declared independence from.
Keep pasting bumper stickers on to your cars folks, you’re doing a heck of a job.