Here's something from the NYT that I had meant to previously mention, but couldn't find - it is the results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center of 1502 American adults.
"Americans may have more news outlets today than two decades ago, but they still don’t know much more about current events than they did then, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
But here’s one big difference: the survey respondents who seemed to know the most about what’s going on — who were able to identify major public figures, for example — were likely to be viewers of fake news programs like Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”; those who knew the least watched network morning news programs, Fox News or local television news.
Only 69 percent of people in the latest survey could come up with Dick Cheney when asked to name the vice president; in 1989, 74 percent could name Dan Quayle . Fewer could name the governor of their state (66 percent now compared with 74 percent in 1989) and fewer could name the president of Russia (36 percent now compared with 47 percent before).
In 1989, fully 81 percent of people knew that the United States had a trade deficit; today, only 68 percent knew.
The survey found that education was the best predictor of who would do well on the questions. “However,” it said, “despite the fact that education levels have risen dramatically over the past 20 years, public knowledge has not increased accordingly.” About 27 percent of Americans are college graduates. "