How in the hell do I fix this... ?
You read the help:
I know it hurts, but in so many words: You are doing it all wrong. Never use Export, use the Render Queue and its multitude of options and formats! For fluid desktop playback and upload to YouTube H.264 or Quicktime H.264 are everyone's favorite these days...
Well, it's definiately a start. Something to try for next time. Thank you very much!
Keep in mind, AE is not like a non-linear editor or compression software; it reads each frame at a time so can't do multipass encoding. Dave LaRonde puts it better:
Don't use AE to compress files for final delivery. The various compressors are there only to make quick 'n dirty files
showing a project's progress to producers, clients, the kids, etc. AE is incapable of doing multipass encoding, a crucial
feature that greatly improves the image quality of H.264 and MPEG-type files in particular.
Render a high-quality file from AE, and use a different application to do the compression. Popular ones are Adobe Media
Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Apple's Compressor, which comes bundled with Final Cut Suite. Even compressing in Quicktime
Pro is better than compressing in AE.
Making good-looking compressed files is almost as much an art as it is a science. It is NOT straightforward at all.