A new study found men retain less information when the woman delivering the news wears a sexier outfit. Could shorter skirts and form-fitting blazers be the reason that the 24/7 news cycle is leaving Americans more ill-informed?
Indiana University researchers Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Lelia Samson had 400 subjects watch one of two short newscasts featuring the same 24-year-old journalist. In the first, she "was dressed in a tight-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt that accented her waist-to-hip ratio," bright red lipstick, and a necklace. In the second version, the woman wore "a shapeless and loose-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt," with no lipstick or jewelry.
The result: Men retained less information from the report when it was presented by the more attractive version of the anchor, and "saw the sexualized version of the anchor as less suited for war and political reporting." Women recalled more information from the sexualized anchor, but the effect was far less pronounced than with male subjects. What the anchor was wearing had no impact on whether or not female subject felt she was competent.
On Miller-McCune.com, Tom Jacobs quips, "While the results of that scenario are speculative, this paper offers one more reason why Fox News viewers are so ill-informed on so many issues," and links to racy GQ photos of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Compared to when cable news started in the '80s, there's obviously been a push to feature more attractive anchors, but is it fair to blame their appearance for the fact that a frightening number of Americans can't name a single Supreme Court justice and think President Obama is a foreign-born communist?
Megyn Kelly is an easy target, but Fox News viewers aren't chock full of misinformation because they're tuning her out. As Jon Stewart demonstrated just last night, listening to her with rapt attention wouldn't do much good either because she says idiotic things.