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Globally Speaking Americans Not Nearly As Smart As We Think We are — Dave’s Diary

You often hear us criticize the mainstream media on KIT.  Why? Why do we do it?  Well here is as good an answer as any.  Americans are uniformed. Americans are ignorant.  Newsweek proved it though we see signs of it everywhere everyday. When Newsweek set 1,000 Americans the challenge of completing their country’s citizenship test, 29 percent could not name the current vice president (Joe Biden), and almost three quarters could not correctly say why America fought the Cold War.

Six percent could not remember the date of Independence Day.

A blind telephone survey of over 1,000 Americans, carried out by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum (a museum dedicated to the First Amendment), found that more Americans could identify more members of the Simpsons cartoon family than First Amendment rights.

With public education failing to make an impression we should be able to count on our mass media, often called the fourth estate or fourth branch of government, to provide us with the accurate and unbiased information we failed to grasp in school.  But they don’t and we are the worse for it as a country.  We can’t even name the freedoms and rights we are at risk of losing!

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, free speech, free press, association, and the ability to petition government.

But only one in a thousand correctly identified all of these. Just one in four Americans could name more than one of their rights, while the same number could name all five members of the Simpson family.

Americans fared even worse on international issues.

A National Geographic poll of over 500 young Americans, aged 18 to 24, showed that six percent failed to locate their own country on a map of the world.

Among those with a high school education or less, the figure was one in ten. Only one in three could find Great Britain on a map.

In the same group, two thirds of the respondents estimated the population of the US at between 750 million and two billion (actual figure: 298 million).

Three quarters said English was the most commonly spoken native language in the world. It is actually third, behind Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

There is an old joke that war was invented to teach Americans geography, but that no longer seems to be true.

In the same National Geographic poll, conducted three years after the Iraq War began, only 37 percent of young Americans could find Iraq on a map of the Middle East. The same percentage could point out Saudi Arabia. Only one in four could locate Israel or Iran.    Thanks to the UK Telegraph for the disheartening information.

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

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