More Americans can name all the Simpsons than all the five freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution (freedom of speech, religion, peaceful assembly, the press, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances; the first two, we still have; the right to peaceably assemble is now contravened by riot police, when the subject of the peaceful assembly is not to the authorities' liking; the press is partially free, but mostly beholden to powerful, rich corporations; and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, well... I guess we can still petition, but I think the idea was that something should be done about it.)
My favorite bit was that 20% of Americans thought that the right to own a pet was enshrined in the Constitution.
D’oh! More know Simpsons than Constitution
Study: America more familiar with cartoon family than First Amendment
Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment, but more than half can name at least two family members of "The Simpsons" (... Lisa, Marge, Maggie, Homer and Bart).
Fox via AP file
Updated: 1:22 a.m. ET March 1, 2006
CHICAGO - Americans apparently know more about “The Simpsons” than they do about the First Amendment.
Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
But more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family, according to a survey.
The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.
Joe Madeira, director of exhibitions at the museum, said he was surprised by the results.
“Part of the survey really shows there are misconceptions, and part of our mission is to clear up these misconceptions,” said Madeira, whose museum will be dedicated to helping visitors understand the First Amendment when it opens in April. “It means we have our job cut out for us.”
The survey found more people could name the three “American Idol” judges than identify three First Amendment rights. They were also more likely to remember popular advertising slogans.
It also showed that people misidentified First Amendment rights. About one in five people thought the right to own a pet was protected, and 38 percent said they believed the right against self-incrimination contained in the Fifth Amendment was a First Amendment right, the survey found.
The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Jan. 20-22 by the research firm Synovate and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Editor's note: The five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment are freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.