Survey: People Who Watch No News Know More Than Fox Viewers

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

When pollsters and academics single out Fox News viewers and try to determine what they know, or don't know, as compared to other media consumers, the results tend to be embarrassing. (See here, here, here, here, and here.) Then again, that's what happens when a national cable news channel with vast resources devotes itself to misinformation.....it misinforms people.

A new report from Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll continues the awkward Fox News trend, and adds a new twist -- Fox News viewers are less informed than people who don't watch any television news.

From PublicMind Poll, which surveyed adults in New Jersey:

Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events, while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who they don't watch any news at all.

Here's an example of how consumers who don't turn to TV news at all are more informed than consumers who regularly tune into Fox [emphasis added]:

But the real finding is that the results depend on what media sources people turn to for their news. For example, people who watch Fox News, the most popular of the 24-hour cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all (after controlling for other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors).

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Dan Cassino stresses that because of the survey controls that were implemented, it's not true that Republicans in general were uninformed about current events. But rather it was specifically Fox viewers who scored poorly. "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," he said.

The good news for Roger Ailes? Fox's misinformation is definitely working. The bad news? With survey results like this, Fox becomes the butt of more jokes.

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