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People who don’t watch TV news are better informed than Fox News viewers

Hat tip to HuffPo for this story that doesn’t surprise anyone from the Left.  According to a survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University, people who don’t watch TV news at all are better informed about political issues than those people who regularly tune in to Fox News.

From the story: “The poll surveyed New Jersey residents about the uprisings in Egypt and the Middle East, and where they get their news sources. The study, which controlled for demographic factors like education and partisanship, found that “people who watch Fox News are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government” and “6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government” compared to those who watch no news.

Overall, 53% of all respondents knew that Egyptians successfully overthrew Hosni Mubarak and 48% knew that Syrians have yet to overthrow their government.

Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson, explained in a statement, “Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News. Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all.”

And HuffPo reminds us it’s not the first such study that indicates Fox News viewers are a taco short a combo plate; the University of Maryland had a study in 2010 that indicated Fox News viewers were more likely to believe false information broadcast by the network as fact.

“The study, conducted by the University of Maryland, judged how likely consumers of various news outlets and publications were to believe misinformation about a wide range of political issues. Overall, 90% of respondents said they felt they had heard false information being given to them during the 2010 election campaign. However, while consumers of just about every news outlet believed some information that was false, the study found that Fox News viewers, regardless of political information, were “significantly more likely” to believe that:

–Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)–Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)

–The economy is getting worse (26 points)

–Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)

–The stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)

–Their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)

–The auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points)

–When TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)

–And that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)

In addition, the study said, increased viewership of Fox News led to increased belief in these false stories.


  1. Jeff Gallagher Jeff Gallagher November 22, 2011

    I would hope that people do not put too much creedence in any one news source for reliable information. It is sad bit true that every news irganization, including the Huffington Post, is going to be biased in their political and world views. With all of the information out there nowadays, there is no excuse for following both sides of an issue and forming your own opinion.

  2. junior junior November 22, 2011

    From the FDU website:

    “.. you can have someone who watches MSNBC be so used to hearing about protests coming from the right that they automatically believe that Occupy (Wall Street) is mostly a Republican protest.”

  3. Marcus Wilson Marcus Wilson November 27, 2011

    An excellent article and a good time to remind people that you should never believe everything that you see and hear–regardless of the source.

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