For many years now, the annual science and technology survey (2008 available here) has reported that the majority of Americans get their science knowledge from television (with the internet becoming a growing source). It has also revealed that, on average, Americans only get about 8 questions out of 15 regarding various topics correct.
Could this poor science aptitude have something to do with their source?
This looks like it may be the case. This new journalism survey for 2008 reveals just how little time the media spends on science. Out of 15 categories the study looked at, science got the absolute least coverage ranking in at less than 1% of the air time on cable. Evening news was slightly higher getting as much as 2% of the airtime.
Surprisingly, among top stations CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, MSNBC actually had the least amount of science coverage (most likely as a result of the extensive 2008 election coverage in which MSNBC strongly outranked other stations). Perhaps the low priority on science for MSNBC explains this stupidity.
Regardless, it's no wonder science literacy is so pathetic in this country (and I'm not just talking about evolution) when the primary source for information on the topic is far more concerned with celebrity gossip.