Fox News Viewers Are Less Informed Than Other News Watchers, Non-News Viewers [Study]

James Johnson - Author
By

Jun. 16 2013, Updated 12:43 a.m. ET

If you want to be more informed than your Fox News and to a smaller extend MSNBC news watching friends a recent study by Pollsters at Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey suggest that you should just forgo watching the news all together.

In interviewing 612 New Jersey residents and asking them five questions about Occupy Wall Street, the Republican primary race and events in Egypt the study found that those who avoided Fox News were more informed about widely accepted facts.

When asked if protesters in Egypt had managed to bring down Hosni Mubarak only 49 percent of Fox News viewers answered Yes while 57 percent of MSNBC viewers knew the correct answer. NPR and The Daily Show viewers scored considerably higher with 68 percent answer the question correctly.

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When asked if Occupy Wall Street protesters were primarily Republicans or Democrats 13 percent of Fox News respondents answered incorrectly by stating Republicans, that was compared to 14 percent by MSNBC viewers.

The University’s PublicMind Poll goes on to reveal that Fox News viewers are misinformed more than people who view no news at all and more than MSNBC watchers. According to PublicMind’s Daniel Cassino it was hard to extrapolate who actually watched “no news” at all and he says the poll used complex algorithms to strip out certain variables including education levels and geographical location of participants to ensure misinformation was to blame.

In defense of Fox News, the poll could likely be repeated against other networks who put their own slant on events that occur, on the other hand events in Egypt, specifically regarding Mubarak are easy to push home to viewers. The left-wing watchdog group Media Matters For America points to six other polls that revealed the same type of misinformation on the part of Fox News.

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In the meantime 612 viewers in New Jersey is hardly a comprehensive study regarding the worldly views of a network that garners millions of viewers. While I’m not quick to defend Fox News I also strongly believe that a similar sample could provide the same type of results against other news factions both on the left and right. I do however understand how Jon Stewart fans repeatedly answer world view questions correctly during these types of polls since Stewart tends to focus on major news events and relentlessly repeats events that led up to and involving major milestones in national and international news. Stewart’s Daily Show broadcasts also generate plenty of “water cooler” talk compared to traditional news which in turn helps inform a larger base.

I personally would have liked the poll to ask more hard pressing questions that offer fact based answers that have been “muddled” by left and right wing media’s attempts to push misinformation to their readers.

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