Huffington Post Geography Satire All Too Real

“Poll: 37% of Americans Unable to Locate America on a map of America,” reads the headline of a
recent Huffington
Post article.
Outrage followed on the article’s comment board with
reactions that the statistic was, “simply unbelievable” and, “as big a problem
to our national security as Iraq.”

While the Editor’s Note at the top clearly states that the
article was a satire (proving that reading comprehension is another issue our
schools need to tackle), America’s
lack of geo-education isn’t breaking news!
The Gallup Poll, which was
referenced in the article, actually performed a study of geographic literary in
1988 and found that as many as 16% of
Americans 18 and older were unable to locate the U.S. on a map
.  While this metric had improved to only 6% in
a 2006 Roper Poll
survey, 37% was actually the statistic for the number of American adults who COULD
find Iraq on a map, meaning that a full 63% of adults COULD NOT locate the Middle
Eastern nation–even though troops had been stationed there since 2003.

While The Huffington
generally concentrates on “serious” news coverage and commentary, it has
a history of publishing satirical articles—yet many readers missed the joke
this time.  Upon further reflection, thirty-seven
percent is perhaps not the craziest statistic
of geographically-illiterate Americans when you consider evidence like the Miss Teen South Carolina
, Sarah Palin not
knowing Africa was a continent
, or this JayWalking
clip that demonstrates a general lack of knowledge about Alaska.  For me, the commentary uproar inspired by
this post is on-par with the War
of the Worlds radio scare
in the late 1930’s or Boston’s
“Aqua Teen Hunger Force” terrorism scare
in 2007 – it’s all too
realistic of a joke !

Bethany for My Wonderful World

Note from Sarah Jane: For the fellow bloggers out there, I’d
encourage you to pick up a copy of Arianna Huffington & Co’s new book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to
. I just starting reading it myself; a valuable resource for
rookies and old pros alike!

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