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June 19, 2011 12:00 PM The ‘most consistently misinformed media viewers’

By Steve Benen

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also flag this gem from Jon Stewart’s appearance on “Fox News Sunday” this morning. He was explaining that he, as a comedian, doesn’t deserve credibility in political media, and it’s ultimately the result of “the disappointment the public has in what the news media does.”

Chris Wallace rejected the premise, arguing that Fox News viewers “aren’t the least bit disappointed” with what their preferred network does. Stewart’s response was an important one.

“In polls,” Stewart said, in a surprisingly angry tone, “who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.”

Wallace then changed the subject.

I suppose I can’t blame the host for that, because what Stewart said happens to be true. Fox News’ minions “aren’t the least bit disappointed” with what the Republican news network provides, but they’re not actually learning anything about current events or the world around them.

The quantifiable evidence is overwhelming. Eight years ago, just six months into the war in Iraq, the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland found that those who relied on the Republican network were “three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions — about WMD in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11, and foreign support for the U.S. position on the war in Iraq.”

As Ben Armbruster noted a while back, “An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out [in 2009] found that Fox News viewers were overwhelmingly misinformed about health care reform proposals. A 2008 Pew study ranked Fox News last in the number of ‘high knowledge’ viewers and a 2007 Pew poll ranked Fox viewers as the least knowledgeable about national and international affairs.”

The problem is actually getting worse.

In December, PIPA published a report, this time on “Misinformation and the 2010 Election” (pdf). The point was to measure Americans’ understanding of a variety of key developments that news consumers would likely be familiar with. As was the case eight years ago, Fox News viewers were “significantly more likely” to be confused about reality.

Researchers found that Americans who paid more attention to the news were more likely to know about current events. But Americans who relied on Fox News were “significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe”:

* most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)

* most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)

* the economy is getting worse (26 points)

* most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)

* the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)

* their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)

* the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points)

* when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)

* and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)

This point, in particular, seems especially noteworthy: in some cases, regular Fox News viewers would have done better, statistically speaking, if they had received no news at all and simply guessed whether the claims about current events were accurate.

What’s more, this isn’t necessarily about party affiliations — Democrats who watch Fox News were worse off than Democrats who relied on legitimate news organizations (though Dems who watch Fox News were still less confused than Republicans who watch Fox News).

It would take an unlikely twist of self-reflection, but at a certain point, Fox News and its audience might take a moment to ponder why these viewers are so wrong, so often, about so much. That almost certainly won’t happen, of course, in part because the network and its viewers aren’t quite informed enough to realize they’re misinformed.

That said, Wallace is certainly correct in his observation: the network’s viewers “aren’t the least bit disappointed” with what Fox News airs.

Why would they be? Ignorance is bliss.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • Alli on June 19, 2011 12:13 PM:

    And a Fox viewer would tell you that only Fox is telling them the truth and that's why the other stations never report the same things.

  • dalloway on June 19, 2011 12:17 PM:

    I had to laugh when I read this. Maybe you were just being coy, but you neglected to make the obvious connection. Fox News viewers are misinformed because... they watch Fox News! In other words, the network wants them misinformed, thus it delivers wrong "information." But the worst misinformation of all is that Fox News has something to do with journalism. It's all propaganda all the time and should be referred to it as what it is: the Pravda of the Republican Central Committee, er, Party.

  • HL on June 19, 2011 12:18 PM:

    Chris Wallace showed a clip of Diane Sawyer dated April, 2010 talking about AZ police having the ability to ask people for citizen paperwork without cause. The original bill actually allowed that but it was later changed. Does anyone know when it was changed because she might have been accurate at that time.

  • June on June 19, 2011 12:25 PM:

    And there's not a damn thing that can be done about Fox News. They apparently will remain completely free to create countless generations of political rumdums.

  • Lifelong Dem on June 19, 2011 12:29 PM:

    Am I the only one noticing how pathetic it is that FoxNews attacks the "liberal bias" of a network called Comedy Central? This is a network that is filled with, well, humorous shows. It's a network that highlights the work of standup comics. The fact that most comics make fun of Republicans doesn't indicate bias as much as it indicates what buffoons Republicans are.

  • berttheclock on June 19, 2011 12:36 PM:

    Sad that at many workout facilities, whether private clubs or the "Y", when one works out on the treadmills or Lifecycles, the only "news" showing will be FAUX.

  • walt on June 19, 2011 12:40 PM:

    Most Americans are not capable of sustaining a democratic republic through thoughtful consideration of issues or through self-denial for the greater good. That's why journalism has had to fill in the gaps where the ignorance of the ordinary citizen is concerned, alerting to them to problems with the propaganda of certain interest groups and to the policy overreach they often exhibit. There are various buffers in the media and civic institutions that are as crucial to democracy as the franchise itself. And when that system breaks down, the hell of an unbanked democracy is suddenly exposed. Fox News may not deserve all the blame here but they are far and away the most flagrant example of a democracy deliberately destroying itself because the levees of self-government were allowed to fail.

  • kd bart on June 19, 2011 1:19 PM:

    It's easier to screw the rubes over if you keep them misinformed and ignorant.

  • yellowdog on June 19, 2011 1:20 PM:

    Very important post, Steve. Stewart knows this territory well.

    One thing I would add: None of this misinformation is accidental or by happenstance. It is strategic. Whatever else it may be, Fox is a very well-managed operation. Its skill would be admirable if its ends were nobler.

    GOP candidates rarely now appear before critical (or even potentially critical) audiences. They may trail the media along behind the campaign bus, tossing beads like a Mardi Gras float, but they will not sit down for interviews or be forced to answer unwelcome questions. If GOP candidates and Fox try to discredit the 'elite' liberal media, it is to put off the kind of questions they might ask. All too often, the 'liberals' in the media play dead and exchange very limited candidate access for soft coverage. But even this much is too risky for some extremist candidates. When your personal history is full of Mark Sanford and Larry Craig and Newt Gingrich moments, you don't want to answer a lot of personal questions. When your policy ideas come from the GOP House jokebook, you don't want to hear a lot of policy questions either.

    It turned out in 2010 that a lot of right-wing candidates could get to office this way. The broad public was mostly kept out of the loop; GOP campaigns bought media time commercially or controlled it via safe conservative outlets. Ultimately, a lot of voters were very surprised about the policy plans Kasich, Walker, Scott, and others had in store for them. They concealed their true intentions. GOP ideas are not popular by and large, though some catch phrases have appeal with voters. GOP candidates cannot run on the policies they really desire, or come clean (outside Tea Party circles) about what they truly intend to do. They cannot face real scrutiny; their promises melt like a water-struck Oz witch. They get in trouble when they can't control their environments--including by tossing out irksome questioners like Scott and Deal have done. They won't face either the 'liberal' media or skeptical voters. The trouble for Democrats now is that their foes can raise untold sums of money and simply buy the media placements they need. They can also squash voter participation among groups of voters least likely to confuse sh%% and Shinola.

    All the more important to keep going to Stewart, to the Onion, to radio-DJ tricks, and to candidate tracking via web. George Allen would never have had to explain what macaca meant if somebody had not been shadowing him into safe GOP territory, to learn what he said when he thought he was among friends. Commonwealth voters would never have gotten this insight from stage-managed, media-friendly, canned Allen campaign events. Somebody had to work really hard day and night to get that eye-opening video. If he had not done it, George Allen would be cruising into a second term in the U.S. Senate, and only dog-whistlers, the Koch Brothers, and Allen's big funders would know the kind of Senator Virginia really had.

  • kevo on June 19, 2011 1:21 PM:

    Glib rhetoric and shiny regalia - two deadly forces any Aussie knows will bring in the unassuming to be preyed upon!

    Just hire ex-beauty queens and surround them with weak to average Joes - talk incessantly about drivelish things with a sprinkling of emotionally-reinforcing-one-sided-information - and presto, a multi-billion dollar enterprise sucking up the healthy brain-cells of all who dare watch!

    Someone should script a FOXNEWS Zombie shooter game for all three platforms! -Kevo

  • mellowjohn on June 19, 2011 1:22 PM:

    faux news: "we distort, you comply."

    John siblecon?

  • Mustang Bobby on June 19, 2011 1:26 PM:

    It's also very telling that when Jon Stewart called out Chris Wallace's network for consistently misinforming its viewers, the best Mr. Wallace could come back with was "Well, look at your network." Yes; it's called Comedy Central. It's a network devoted to humor. It's not called News Central.

    If that was his attempt at finding equivalency between the two, Epic FAIL.

  • c u n d gulag on June 19, 2011 1:40 PM:

    "Why would they be? Ignorance is bliss."

    Ignorance is victory.

    Especially when propaganda is perceived to be truth.


    CAPTCHA SUCKS EVEN MORE THAN REPUBLICANS, CONSERVATIVES, AND CHRISTIANIST FREAKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lee Vinson on June 19, 2011 1:42 PM:

    No, LifelongDem, you're not the only one who noticed.

    I was appalled at the ignorance of Wallace trying to draw a comparison between the COMEDY Central network and the Fox NEWS network. That's like comparing ESPN to NickJr. And the clip of Lisa Lampanelli lampooning Pamela Anderson at a Comedey Central Roast made no sense at all. Would you expect something like that from a NEWS network???

  • FRP on June 19, 2011 1:43 PM:

    berttheclock on June 19, 2011 12:36 PM:

    ...at many workout facilities, whether private clubs or the "Y", when one works out on the treadmills or Lifecycles, the only "news" showing will be FAUX.

    It is an adrenaline support system . Intentionally irritating for the complacent fitness devotee . We misinform you pedal yourself .

  • SecularAnimist on June 19, 2011 1:49 PM:

    Not only are the victims of Fox News the most "consistently misinformed", they are also:

    -- consistently convinced that ONLY Fox News is telling "the truth", that all other media sources are lying, and that the handful of giant corporations that own virtually all of the so-called "mainstream" mass media in the USA are "leftist", and

    -- consistently willing to believe crackpot conspiracy theories on the basis of no evidence whatsoever (e.g. those who unquestioningly believe that thousands of scientists from all over the world have perpetrated the century-long "hoax" of anthropogenic global warming for the purpose of destroying capitalism, and who call themselves "skeptics" for believing this), and

    -- consistently arrogant, belligerent, hostile and abusive in defense of their ignorance and in attacking those who are better informed and who challenge their bizarre, baseless beliefs.

    These are, of course, among the classic characteristics of a cult.

  • stevio on June 19, 2011 1:51 PM:

    I really don't know how you do it Steve. Day in and out having to cover lies, hate, a cornucopia of deceit. God love ya. You must have the patience of Job.

  • stevio on June 19, 2011 1:56 PM:

    One more thought. Mike wallace must have trouble keeping his lunch down after watching his son spew hate and lies on his FOX Propoganda Show each day...

    Especially on father's Day. I'll light a candle for Mike...

  • Shadow on June 19, 2011 2:17 PM:

    I believe that there is also complicity amongst a majority of Fox News viewer. They are not innocents who are haplessly misinformed. They WANT to be misinformed. Their ignorance is willful. And Fox News feeds and reinforces their ideological worldview.

  • Axel Grealy on June 19, 2011 2:43 PM:

    Fascinating - it doesn't indicate how they're misinformed and actually asks misleading questions.
    It's interesting how many of the media outlets, held up as alleged champions of truth in reporting, also have such high numbers of misinformed subscribers.

    Not a very scientific report from which to draw conclusions, but just the type of hyperbolic misinformation that certain parts of the media like to throw around in support of their own bias.

  • Sarafina on June 19, 2011 2:46 PM:

    Regarding the prevalence of public area TVs turned to Fox - the programming is offered free, so hospitals, airports, etc., grab it.

    This piece reminded me of when John Stewart spanked Tucker Carlson for similar false equivalency attempts.

  • KadeKo on June 19, 2011 4:52 PM:

    ---How pathetic it is that FoxNews attacks the "liberal bias" of a network called Comedy Central?---

    @LifelongDem, Lee Vinson, etc:

    It is pathetic, on the level you suggest and on another, deeper, level: The idea that Comedy Central represents the greatest threat to their self-reinforcing ignorance loop damns everybody else.

    Nobody in the mainstream commercial media is threatening to outdo Stewart and Colbert. They're sufficiently cowed to not want to try separating the politics, the propaganda, and the machine covering and creating it.

  • In what respect, Charlie? on June 19, 2011 6:05 PM:

    Huckaboom - You forgot Hitler. Just a small oversight on your otherwise purely 'fact-based', unequivocally evidence-based post.

  • Michael on June 19, 2011 6:23 PM:

    And , huckaboom, being obviously lacking in brain cellls to compute 'in what respect charlie's' response,you are being mocked sarcastically.

  • topquark on June 19, 2011 6:28 PM:

    You say

    Fox News' minions "aren't the least bit disappointed" with what the Republican news network provides, but they're not actually learning anything about current events or the world around them.

    You say 'but' as if this was a bug, but of course for Fox viewers it's a feature!

  • John B. on June 19, 2011 7:19 PM:

    Stevio wrote (above): "Mike Wallace must have trouble keeping his lunch down after watching his son spew hate and lies... ."

    Actually, no. Mike Wallace doubtless is proud that his acorn, Chris, fell so close to the tree. In the 1950's Mike Wallace was an overt Joe McCarthy admirer. In that same decade while interviewing Eleanor Roosevelt on live new television he pointedly 'asked' her why she was a communist sympathizer. The subsequent public uproar almost led to his firing.

    Almost. But Mike had friends in high places at CBS and after a year or two he returned to the air and, being the careerist he always was, assiduously (and successfully) worked on his image. He succeeded eventually in re-branding himself as a "traditional journalist" only because almost all the real journalists who knew better had died.

    Mike Wallace always was a smarmy right-wing zealot; he just learned to hide it better. His spawn needs no such camouflage.

  • dj spellchecka on June 19, 2011 8:02 PM:

    Huckaboom:I'm sure the data from these "polls" will be unavailable for peer review.

    well, you're sure...... wrong

    Pew 2007
    http://people-press.org/2007/04/15/public-knowledge-of-current-affairs-little-changed-by-news-and-information-revolutions/

    PIPA 2010
    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec10/Misinformation_Dec10_rpt.pdf

  • DelCapslock on June 19, 2011 9:29 PM:

    Huckaboom is certain that there is a class of people out there called liberals who are responsible for all the failures, frustrations, and disappointments in his life. It's to this mindset that Fox News caters.

  • joel hanes on June 19, 2011 9:43 PM:

    at many workout facilities, whether private clubs or the "Y", when one works out on the treadmills or Lifecycles, the only "news" showing will be FAUX.

    In my experience, bars and hotel lobbies are happy to turn the channel to any station that a customer requests. You might try just asking the attendant if the TV can be turned to a different station.

  • Texas Aggie on June 19, 2011 10:15 PM:

    For an up close and personal example of how Fox convinces its listeners of false information, read Huckaboom's two posts.

    He is somehow convinced that the Univ of East Anglia destroyed some data. If he had been acquainted with a real source of information instead of Fox, he would have known that the data had not been destroyed. He would have known that the data had been copied from old notebooks into digital form and then the notebooks had been destroyed because there wasn't room or a reason to store them. But Fox neglected to make that point, I suppose because it didn't fit their agenda.

    He's sure that the numerous polls listed in the article were unavailable for review until dj showed him he was wrong. Then he decided that he was being called names. After all, being shown that you don't know what you're talking about is hard on the ego, just like being called names.

    While he claims that he got most of the questions correct (at least I think that's what he was saying), he still can't explain why so many Fox viewers are completely ignorant. Possibly the reason he can't write a complete thought in a coherent sentence is related to his mental state.

    His condition is pretty much what you would expect from one of the Fox addicts. For more examples of the "not in this universe" syndrome, read the responses in the Mediaite.com report of the whole interview with Jon. It seems that Huckaboom isn't the only inhabitant of his universe.

    Oh, and Gulag. Don't hold back. It's not good for you. Tell us how you REALLY feel about that blasted captcha idiocy. No monetary support for Washington Monthly til it goes.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on June 19, 2011 11:11 PM:

    Huckaboom, the rest of the posters here are too courteous. I'm not . . . you're absolutely full of shit and your "reasoning" is garbage. Just like Fox News

  • Dr Lemming on June 19, 2011 11:30 PM:

    Huckaboom sounds like a "pro." It's pretty useless trying to engage him in a meaningful debate. He has one and only one goal -- to hijack the thread.

    Don't feed the trolls!

  • Gal Ore on June 19, 2011 11:44 PM:

    According to the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England's Web site, "Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data."

    Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit, said that the vast majority of the station data was not altered at all, and the small amount that was changed was adjusted for consistency.

    The research unit has deleted less than 5 percent of its original station data from its database because the stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends, Jones said.

    "When you're looking at climate data, you don't want stations that are showing urban warming trends," Jones said, "so we've taken them out." Most of the stations for which data was removed are located in areas where there were already dense monitoring networks, he added. "We rarely removed a station in a data-sparse region of the world. We haven't destroyed anything. The data is still there -- you can still get these stations from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center."

    Tom Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., noted that the conclusions of the IPCC reports are based on several data sets in addition to the CRU, including data from NOAA, NASA and the United Kingdom Met Office. Each of those data sets basically show identical multi-decadal trends, Karl said.

    Ben Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said, "Raw data were not secretly destroyed to avoid efforts by other scientists to replicate the CRU and Hadley Centre-based estimates of global-scale changes in near-surface temperature."

  • mr. irony on June 20, 2011 8:23 AM:

    Liberalism is a mental disorder...(blah blah blah).

    as usual...

    for conservatives..

    that explains the gop's undefeated streak...

  • bdop4 on June 20, 2011 9:22 AM:

    Nicely done, Texas Aggie. Saved me from having to post a long response.

  • elom on June 20, 2011 10:23 AM:

    Uhm, the economy is getting worse.

  • Luther Poach on June 20, 2011 10:40 AM:

    If you want to see misinformed, go check out the Breitbart websites some day. It's as if they live in an alternate universe. Truly unbelievable ignorance lives over there.

  • denny Hodges on June 20, 2011 11:50 AM:

    Fox viewers are like cult members. Try to point out the truth to them and they just dig in their heels and say you are lying. My VA hospital bans Fox on the waiting room TVs because it was misinforming and upsetting so many old vets who are susceptible to right wing lies.

  • SecularAnimist on June 20, 2011 12:18 PM:

    Huckaboom wrote: "... the University of East Anglia destroyed climate change data because it showed there is no climate change ..."

    That's a blatant lie.

    Huckaboom wrote: "the East Anglia chaps are on record sending emails telling people to destroy data to avoid a FOIA request"

    That's another blatant lie.

    The only question raised by your comments is:

    Are you a deliberate liar?

    Or are you merely a weak-minded, gullible, ignorant dupe of deliberate liars?

  • Todd Bollack on June 20, 2011 12:46 PM:

    What's worse - Jon Stewart might Photoshop a funny hat and caption on a pic of someone recently outed as Comedy Newsworthy, but in my experience, he doesn't make any effort to spin the topic away from factual reality. THAT is a Fox favorite, and thus - in my book - makes The Daily Show a far more reliable source of news than Fox. Duh.

  • Courtney on June 20, 2011 1:14 PM:

    How on earth can Chris Wallace compare apples to oranges? its a political news show, and he used a Pam Anderson Roast? "Not exactly Masterpiece Theatre"? ummm.. Excuse me, but, Jon Stewart does EXACTLY what his show is there to do.. point out the inconsistencies of Fox News and how they are ALWAYS pulling the "do as i say, not as i do" crap, just like that stupid crap with Common and Ted Nugent.

  • Lynn on June 20, 2011 4:40 PM:

    That is the whole point. Roger Ailes WANTS viewers to be misinformed. Otherwise, why would they vote for Republicans if they weren't billionaires who also didn't care about their neighbors or angering and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq while Halliburton's investors walked off with countless billions of taxpayer dollars?

  • 5thKolumnisto on June 20, 2011 6:07 PM:

    @HL: "Chris Wallace showed a clip of Diane Sawyer dated April, 2010 talking about AZ police having the ability to ask people for citizen paperwork without cause. The original bill actually allowed that but it was later changed. Does anyone know when it was changed because she might have been accurate at that time."

    See here: http://foxnewsproblems.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/hello-world

    The law was changed a week after the Sawyer clip aired.

  • Al Swearengen on June 20, 2011 8:18 PM:

    Huckaboom, you obviously have no idea how the scientific method works, so arguing with you over your dumb obsession with "East Anglia" is useless. For those with functioning brains and the ability to learn, it doesn't matter if "East Anglia" reported that the temperatures it was tracking averaged 1,000 degrees because there's literally millions of other measurements to rely upon.

    The way it works in science, including climate science, is that many, many scientist independently research a theory, then they publish their findings for review by other scientists. In this way, we get the tightest results approved by the most people. Idiots like Huckaboom don't understand peer review, don't understand the scientific method, and just plain don't understand. Too bad he didn't learn from his momma to STFU when smarter people are talking.

  • labradog on June 21, 2011 8:12 AM:

    Does Fox exist to exploit fools like Huckaboom, or does Fox create them?

  • Dessic on June 21, 2011 11:11 AM:

    'In polls,' Stewart said, in a surprisingly angry tone, 'who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.'

    Politifact rates that assertion False/

  • Kyle on June 21, 2011 12:01 PM:

    I just read through the poll to which the author is referring and it is laughable. There is nothing scientific about polling people about if they know if more economists think one thing or the other. The glaring misconception is that by saying the majority is right, it ASSUMES that is the truth. That thinking is worse than flawed, it is dangerous. "Majority" of economists does not make them right. Understand that the poll is telling the public people don't know the facts if they don't know how many so called experts are on one side or the other. If you have ever watched CNBC, they constantly interview the one person who was the contrarian to an issue, who was dead on right about that issue. Was he the "misinformed one"? Please, use some integrity next time you report on a poll.
    Thank you.

  • Al Swearengen on June 21, 2011 2:11 PM:

    Here's the thing. There's this strident current of anti-intellectualism in the conservative movement (when knowledge doesn't further your ends).

    Economists say that the data shows tax cuts don't do jack? (Which any idiot can tell by looking at the #s after Bush's huge cuts.) All economists are now hacks, compared to smart people like Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell.

    Climate scientists overwhelmingly support global warming? Rightwingers desperately glom onto a tiny, tiny, tiny subset of the data some idiot entered wrong to tarnish millions of hours of peer-reviewed research.

    You rightwingers make the Khmer Rouge look like NASA when it comes to dismissing actual real-world expertise when it doesn't fit your preconceived notions.

  • Retsnom on June 21, 2011 2:11 PM:

    Ugh, really? You people do not see a political bias even in the questions that were asked? Almost all of those questions are still highly debatable. I do mean highly debatable. The easiest one is the economy. If job losses, stores closing, the government printing and borrowing more money, manufacturing at it lowest, huge trade deficits, illegal immigration at it's highest, the economy is NOT getting better. Hell just watch the national debt clock for an hour. http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    You have to be smarter than this. Just because a President says the economy is getting better doesn't mean it is when the possibility of the unemployment rate could be a s high as 20% depending on how you look at the data. If you are only looking at new jobless claims and those are down, doesn't mean unemployment is down as there are many that don't qualify in the first place or ran out of unemployment benefits, as these people are not counted. The government spending more and dumping more money into the economy doesn't make the economy better.

    I could go on and on about each on3 of those topics mention and easily debate all of them or explain why they are or were hotly contested. IN fact this whole idea of "informed" viewers is an arrogant insult in assuming "it's" version of the truth is correct. This is just another biased attempt to bash a ratings giant, make you feel smarter if you agree, and diminish those that you ideologically disagree with.

    Is Fox news the worst? Hell no, all news media are guilty of what is claimed here by twisting news to fit their agenda. The last thing is that most people cannot differentiate the difference between news and editorial. Fox happens to have more editorial on than actual news. That isn't always a great thing but at least they present both sides of an issue in most cases. That is why just as many democrats watch it too otherwise the ratings wouldn't be so high.

    Just because you may disagree with the spin doesn't make it incorrect. Think people!

  • AztecBill on June 21, 2011 4:14 PM:

    I can easily make a survey to test how much viewers "know" and the more liberal they are the worse they will do.

    1. Did the Arizona law require police to stop people they thought were illegal aliens?

    2. According to satellite data, did sea level rise more over the past 11 years or the 11 years before that?

    3. After Reagan cut taxes in the early 1980s did income to the government fall over the next 8 years.

  • John on June 21, 2011 4:45 PM:

    Just watch The Delaware Agenda on youtube if you need accurate news.

  • DocNavy on June 21, 2011 7:37 PM:

    I had to laugh as well...

    Considering the fact that you are using PIPA as your go-by.

    The PIPA polls have been shown to be horribly flawed. For instance...If you believed that:

    1. "most economists have estimated the health care law (Obamacare) will worsen the deficit."

    or

    2. "the economy is getting worse."

    You are branded "Misinformed".

    Problem here is this, firstly, these statements are being presented in a factual/nonfactual manner yet are really OPINIONS. That said, those who were branded "misinformed" would be in the company of
    a) the Congressional Budget Office on ObamaCare's impact on the deficit, and b) the Bureau of Economic Analysis declaring that the recession officially ended in June 2009... which has since been shown to be false.

    On the other hand, if you go by less politically biased and more scientific studies you find that Fox Viewers tend to be in the TOP of the most informed.
    Like:

    http://people-press.org/2008/08/17/news-interest-and-knowledge/

    Guess YOU need to get you facts straight as well as Stewart.

    Doc

  • Vaf Fancullo on June 24, 2011 5:07 AM:

  • gzuckier on June 25, 2011 11:23 PM:

    "The key to decoding Fox News isn’t Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. It isn’t even News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch. To understand what drives Fox News, and what its true purpose is, you must first understand Chairman Ailes. “He is Fox News,” says Jane Hall, a decade-long Fox commentator who defected over Ailes’ embrace of the fear-mongering Glenn Beck. “It’s his vision. It’s a reflection of him.”
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-roger-ailes-built-the-fox-news-fear-factory-20110525

  • Kellie Sonnier St Clair on July 01, 2011 7:08 AM:

  • Makkabee on August 20, 2011 8:42 PM:

    What's really funny? The site the conservatives keep referring to to debunk Stewart's claim actually DOES say FOX viewers are the most misinformed of any network news viewers. They finish a single point ahead of people who watch morning shows, which are more fluff than hard news by rather a wide margin -- and a 1 point difference is a statistical dead heat in every poll I've ever seen. Viewers of Bill O'Reilly's show scored well, but couldn't bring up FOX News' overall average.

    So even their "defense" of FOX still presents its viewers as losers in the knowledge game.

  • Ryan on September 06, 2011 4:37 PM:

    As a Canadian who takes interest in American politics I am puzzled.

    In Canada we have slander and libel laws which make companies and individuals legally liable for spreading misinformation for the purpose of discrediting other sources, individuals, or parties.

    If a news program such as FOX was to come to Canada, they'd be hit with so many lawsuits theirs heads would spin.

    Sure, I can understand it's freedom of speech. But there are legal and ethical ramifications imposing misinformation as the truth.

  • Ambria on December 13, 2011 5:29 AM:

    Oh, please. All networks have their own agenda to push and Fox News happens to have the most viewers.

    Green is not a good color on you less effective news networks.

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