The Stimulus Bill That Failed

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New research from the University of Maryland shows that viewers of Fox News were more misinformed about factual questions than any other news audience during the 2010 midterm elections. No surprise there, I guess. But here’s the breakdown on one particular piece of misinformation:

Overall, heavy Fox viewers were the most uninformed about this. But only slightly. With the exception of the MSNBC audience, every other audience was almost equally uninformed. The only exception was daily viewers of Keith and Rachel, and even there an astonishing 64% of viewers basically thought the stimulus was worthless.

I don’t happen to believe that communication and messaging are as critical as the press sometimes makes them out to be, but something sure went cockeyed here. One way or another, the White House and congressional Democrats utterly failed to make a case that the stimulus bill did the economy any good at all. That’s obviously a tough sell in a high-unemployment environment, but still. Complete, utter failure. It’s astonishing.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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