Earlier this week, Meredith Shiner at Yahoo News, a political reporter with roughly six years of experience and a jourmalism degree from Duke, demonstrated breathtaking ignorance about Ted Cruz's reference to God-given rights. She tweeted the following in reaction: "Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?"
In a post on Shiner's tweet on Monday, I wondered how widespread such breathtaking ignorance might be. In his Fox News "Watters' World" segment on Bill O'Reilly's show on Monday, Jesse Watters found some individual answers, many of them far from encouraging.
Highlights/Lowlights (bolds are mine):
... BILL O'REILLY: There is great debate over younger Americans, and how much emotion they have invested in their country. We live in an age of distraction where hand-held machines now dominate many lives. So we sent Watters out to the party district of New York City to sample opinion on the obligation you have to America.
... JESSE WATTERS: Do you think this country is the greatest country on earth?
Respondent 1: Yes, I would definitely agree with that.
Respondent 2: I travel a lot, so I actually can tell you it is.
Respondent 3: It's enabled me to never work a day in my life. What's better than that, huh?
... WATTERS: You don't think America's a great nation?
Respondent 4: No, I think it's awful.
Respondent 5: Americans are super boastful and bleeeeh, America!
WATTERS: Are you proud to be an American?
Respondent 6: No, I wouldn't say so.
WATTERS: Why don't you leave then?
WATTERS: What makes America exceptional?
Respondent 1: Just the values that our Founding Fathers instilled in this country.
WATTERS: You're not a fan of the Founding Fathers, I gather.
Respondent 4: No, not at all.
WATTERS: Do you believe in the Constitution?
Respondent 4: No, I think it's bull****.
... WATTERS: If you could change something about this country, what would you change?
Respondent 4: The biggest thing is I don't think cops should be walking around with arms.
WATTERS: How would they protect you if you got mugged?
Respondent 4: I don't think — well, okay ...
... WATTERS: Do you guys think you owe America anything?
Respondent 7: I don't think so. They have given us a lot, but they've also taken a lot.
WATTERS: What has America taken from you?
Respondent 7: Sometimes I want to say our freedom.
... Respondent 4: Why would I owe America anything?
WATTERS: Well, y'know, America's done a lot for you.
Respondent 4: I don't think I need to give anything to this F****** country. I want to move to Europe.
... WATTERS: Do you think you owe this country anything?
Respondent 6: Um, no, not at this point in my life.
WATTERS: If it wasn't for the Greatest Generation, you'd be speaking German.
Respondent 6: Um.
... WATTERS: Are you guys productive members of society?
Respondent 8: I would like to believe that, yeah.
WATTERS: What do you do?
Respondent 8: I do a lot of artwork.
WATTERS: Finger painting?
Respondent 8: Um ... (laughs)
... WATTERS: Do you make money?
Respondent 6: Just started school.
WATTERS: Getting any loans from the government?
Respondent 6: Yeah.
WATTERS: See, there you go. America helped you out there didn't it?
Responent 6: Yeah.
WATTERS: You're welcome.
Respondent 3: What do I do for a living? It's semi-undisclosed.
WATTERS: Do you get Food Stamps?
Respondent 7: Yeah.
WATTERS: How much does that camera cost?
Respondent 7: It costs about $1,000 and some change and all that.
WATTERS: And you're on Food Stamps with a $1,000 camera?
Respondent 7: Nothing in this world comes easy. You have to work for it, you know?
WATTERS: No such thing as a free lunch — except food stamps.
... WATTERS: What else should we give people for free?
Respondent 9: What about their freedom?
WATTERS: We're born that way.
Respondent 9: No, Lada Gaga, we're not.
WATTERS: Born Free. Ever listen to Bruce Springsteen?
Respondent 9: No. I'm gay.
While I realize that Watters attempts to be humorous as he surveys New York City's ignorance, he got quite a helping of clearly disturbing answers and comments in the process.
Meredith Shiner's cluelessness is not an isolated phenomenon. Clearly, Respondents 4 and 9 don't buy into the idea of God-given rights. The jury's out on Respondents 6, 7 and 8.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.