We’ve mentioned here on SEB before that studies have shown that watching FOX News will make you stupid. So it probably shouldn’t be a big surprise that there is yet another study that pretty much says the same thing.
OK, to be fair, what it says is that not watching any news at all will leave you better informed than if you watch FOX News. The poll asked folks questions on major news stories such as “were Egyptian protesters successful in their bid to overthrow longtime president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year?” Stuff that, if you’re paying any attention at all, you should know the answer to. The results were that people who weren’t paying attention scored better than people who watched FOX News:
After controlling for factors like partisanship, education, and other demographic factors, the pollsters found that Fox New viewers were 18 points less likely to know that the revolt was successful than their non-active news consuming counterparts. Fox News viewers were also 6 points less likely to know that the Syrian uprising has yet to succeed.
“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,” said Dan Cassino, a Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor who took part in the analysis of the PublicMind data. “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.”
You don’t think it could be that FOX News is little more than a propaganda loudspeaker for the Republican party that writes its “news” stories to fulfill Conservative talking points regardless of what the reality actually is, do you? How could that be? They’re Fair and Balanced! You know this because they tell you that all the time! Surely they couldn’t say it if it wasn’t true!
In comparison, watching almost anything else resulted in people being better informed:
[P]eople who report reading a national newspaper like The New York Times or USA Today are 12-points more likely to know that Egyptians have overthrown their government than those who have not looked at any news source. And those who listen to the non-profit NPR radio network are 11-points more likely to know the outcome of the revolt against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. However, the best informed respondents are those that watched Sunday morning news programs: leading to a 16- point increase in the likelihood of knowing what happened in Egypt and an 8-point increase in the likelihood of knowing what happened in Syria.
No wonder the Republicans want to kill off NPR. It’s actually informative and a threat to their political agendas as a result.
However, the main point here is simply stunning: If you get your information from FOX News then you are actually increasing your ignorance of the issues and events shaping the world around you. You’re willfully making yourself stupider with every passing minute. You may as well be hitting yourself in the head with a ball-peen hammer as the impact on your IQ would be about the same and it’d probably be less painful to boot.
You’d, quite literally, be better informed by not paying attention at all.