Fox News is, in many ways, run like a political campaign. They openly advocate for specific candidates, they churn out copious amounts of opposition research, and they have a hair-trigger communications operation that is ready to fire off a snarky response to any criticism, no matter how mild.
So it makes sense that they would respond to the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes survey showing that Fox News viewers are "significantly more likely" to be misinformed about issues of national significance. What doesn't make sense, however, is their response:
Asked for comment on the study, Fox News seemingly dismissed the findings. In a statement, Michael Clemente, who is the senior vice president of news editorial for the network, said: "The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having 'Students Who Study The Least' and being the 'Best Party School' -- given these fine academic distinctions, we'll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was 'researched' with.'"
Mr. Clemente oversees every hour of objective news programming on Fox News, which is by far the nation's most popular cable news channel.
I see ... they're so unconcerned about this study that they took the time to comb through the Princeton Review's college ranking lists and cherry-pick a couple of negative rankings to smear the entire UMD student body as a collection of uneducated clods (for what it's worth, the Princeton Review also found that UMD had one of the best libraries, one of the best newspapers, and was one of the best Northeastern colleges).
And, of course, the merit of a survey conducted by academics and graduate students can clearly be divined from the study habits of UMD undergrads.
Also, if Clemente has such a dim view of UMD students, then he should have a discussion with Rebecca Diamond, Fox News' business correspondent, who graduated from the University of Maryland's College of Journalism. She might be interested to know of her superior's low regard for her "fine academic distinctions."
But let's take a step back and appreciate that Fox News and Clemente clearly took the time to research and craft this reaction. And after this careful consideration, they decided that their best response to an academic study on their misinformative news habits was to call college students stupid.
You stay classy, Fox News.