Hollywood-comedy-writer-turned-news-satirist Andy Borowitz takes aim today at the alternative reality created at Fox News. “Afraid to Watch the News, Millions Turn to Fox… Channel Offers Welcome Break from Reality, Psychologists Say.” Borowitz’s jab comes with extra sting in light of Public Policy Polling’s recent survey of Republican voters. According to the March 15 poll, 25 percent of Republicans — i.e., 80 percent of Fox watchers— believe that the no-longer-existing low-income housing and voter registration group ACORN will steal the 2012 presidential election for Barack Obama.
“In November of 2009 we found 52 percent of Republicans thought ACORN had stolen the election for Barack Obama in 2008,” reports PPP. “Now only 25 percent think the organization will steal the election for him again next year… and 32 percent aren’t sure yet.”
Is it fair to extrapolate and say that 57 percent of Republican voters don’t know that ACORN is dissolved, including those who fear the organization was/is a threat to the democratic functioning of their country?
As Slate’s Dave Weigel reported last week when the PPP survey results were released:
On March 21, 2010 — one year ago — ACORN’s board decided to shut down. On November 2, they filed for Chapter 7. The organization has not existed in months. But this number is actually 2 points higher than the number who, last fall, thought the collapsing ACORN would steal some midterm elections for Democrats.
To be fair, although Fox News may confuse on purpose, it clearly doesn’t take much to confuse American voters. Last year PPP also found that 20 percent of Democrats, right before the coming historic GOP midterm victories, said they too thought ACORN would play a role in the election.
PPP’s Tom Jensen had no idea what to make of this finding and his ruminations are entertaining, or sad, or funny-sad, just like a Borowitz piece.
That 23% of Republicans who think ACORN will be influential this time is actually barely higher than the 20% of Democrats who say they think it will keep their party in charge. Perhaps Democratic voters have come to the conclusion that ACORN is their last best hope. Or more likely they gave a silly answer to a silly question. And we’re not going to apologize for asking the occasional silly question.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about all this is that only 40% of voters definitively say they think ACORN will not steal the election with another 40% saying they’re not sure. I guess a lot of folks are just waiting to see if ACORN’s really gone away or if it’s just hiding in the bushes waiting for people to get complacent before it makes its move.
Your theories would be much appreciated.
Here’s the meat from Borowitz satirical news piece, which mocks Fox but also the Fox favorite fact-challenged wing-nut Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann:
Tracy Klugian, 37, a systems analyst from Lansing, Michigan, said that he was flipping the channels to find “anything but news” and found himself watching Fox for the first time.
“They had this guy on – something Beck I think his name was – and he was just going on and on, making stuff up,” he said. “I was like, this is the kind of mindless junk I need right now.”
Mr. Klugian… said that watching Fox had also introduced him to “my favorite new comedian – this hysterical woman named Michele Bachmann.”
“She was doing this bit about how the American Revolution started in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts, and then she started mixing up where Lexington and Concord were,” he said. “Okay, I know it sounds really stupid, but I almost peed myself.”