Moral Low Ground


Study Finds Fox News Viewers are the Most Ignorant

December 17, 2010 by Brett Wilkins in American Idiots, Mass Media with 0 Comments

Here’s a story you won’t be seeing on Fox News anytime soon: a University of Maryland study has determined that Fox News viewers are the most misinformed on important issues brought up during the 2010 midterm election campaign.

The study, titled “Misinformation and the 2010 Election,” found that “in the great majority of cases, those with higher levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation.”

With one big exception: those who watched Fox News “almost daily” were far more ignorant when it came to some very important issues. Due to deliberate misinformation by the popular right-wing cable “news” channel, Fox viewers were much more likely than those who never watched the network to believe certain lies. Fox viewers were:

-12 points more likely to believe that most economists estimate the economic stimulus caused job losses.

-31 points more likely to believe that most economists have estimated Obamacare will worsen the defecit.

-26 points more likely to believe that the economy is getting worse.

-14 points more likely to believe that the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts.

-12 points more likely to believe that most  Republicans opposed the TARP bailout.

-13 points more likely to believe the auto bailout occurred only under Obama.

-31 points more likely to believe that it is not clear whether or not President Obama was born in the United States. 63% of regular Fox viewers doubt Obama was born in the US.

-30 points more likely to believe that most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring.

That last item about climate change is particularly interesting since it was revealed Wednesday that Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon issued a directive to the network’s journalists ordering them to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” This, despite an overwhelming consensus among scientists from all over the world that global warming is real, is happening and is caused by human activity.

Fox’s deliberate misinformation obviously worked. And interestingly, not only on Republicans. People who voted Democrat and watched Fox News also fell for the network’s deceptive “journalism.”

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