Matters of Scale - Connection and Disconnection

Average number of people who tuned in to watch George W. Bush and Al Gore speak about their candidacies for U.S. president on the Fox TV network between 8 and 9 p.m. on October 27
2.9 million
Number who tuned in to watch Martin Sheen pretend to be the U.S. president on the show "The West Wing" for a comparable hour on October 25
17.0 million
In a survey of U.S. major media news reports that used think tanks as sources of information in 1998?1999, the number of those reports in which the think tanks that were cited (but usually not named in the stories) were categorized by a nonpartisan watchdog group (FAIR) as conservative or right-leaning
Number of those reports in which the think tanks cited were categorized as liberal or left-leaning
Donations (at record level) to George W. Bush's presidential primary campaign in 1999
over $100 million
Unpublicized donations to the top three conservative think tanks, which shaped U.S. public opinion by serving as primary sources in more than 8,000 major media stories analyzing such issues as climate change, environmental regulation, economic growth, and military spending, during the year preceding the Bush campaign
over $129 million
In a survey of 8,000 Florida high school students in 1978?79 (the teens of the '70s who were to become the voters of 2000), the number who were able to name their member of Congress
The number who could not
Asians who had Internet access in 2000
under 1 percent
American children between 2 and 18 years old who had Internet access in their bedrooms in 2000
7 percent
Sources: Number of people who tuned in: Nielsen ratings reported in the Washington Post; Think tanks as sources: Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR); Presidential campaign donations: Washington Post; Donations to think tanks: FAIR; Florida high school students: Sam Harris, Reclaiming Democracy: Healing the Break Between People and Government (Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1994); Asians with Internet: Payal Sampat, “Internet Use Accelerates,” Vital Signs 2000 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000); American kids with Internet: Kaiser Family Foundation. Flag art reprinted with permission from Adbusters.