Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.
So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that FOX News is the most-watched 24 hour news channel and a lot of its viewers take everything they see on the channel as gospel. I often get in trouble with extended family members because I usually chuckle whenever I hear one of them say “I saw on FOX News…” and they ask me why I think that’s funny.
I don’t think it’s funny. I think it’s a problem. There’s ample evidence that people who rely on FOX News are seriously misinformed about the important topics of the day. And it’s not that the channel is just getting the facts wrong, it’s actively disseminating lies and false information to promote the Republican party’s agenda. No other news channel, including the supposedly Liberal MSNBC, does that.
In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:
- 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
- 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
- 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
- 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
- 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
- 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
- 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
- 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
- 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)
The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.
The article goes on to say that the other news channels aren’t exactly beyond reproach either, but FOX is the worst of the bunch.
The best way to avoid being misinformed? Get your news from a variety of sources and you’ll have a better chance of separating fact from fiction. The more sources people use the better informed they tend to be.