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Study: Fox Viewers Suffer Separation From Reality

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Posted on Nov 23, 2011
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Pollsters asked New Jersey residents questions about the uprisings in the Arab world and found that watchers of Fox News were the most consistently uninformed. By the researchers’ measures, Fox viewers were 18 points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watched no news at all.

“Some media sources have a positive effect on political knowledge,” researchers from Farleigh Dickinson University wrote, with an irony that attaches to the sort of straightforward writing that routinely appears in scientific studies. Readers of The New York Times and USA Today were more likely to know that Egyptians ousted their rulers earlier this year. Perhaps somewhat worryingly, viewers of Sunday morning news programs were the best informed of the news consumers surveyed.

“Sunday morning news shows tend to spend a lot more time on a single issue than other news broadcasts, and they are less likely to degenerate into people shouting at each other,” a political science professor from the polling university explained.

As far as understanding the Occupy Wall Street protests taking place across the state border goes, only 47 percent of New Jerseyans were able to correctly identify the protesters as predominantly Democratic, the study said. Viewers of “The Daily Show” were more likely to correctly guess the political leanings of the Occupiers.

“The amount of time spent on an issue, and the depth to which it’s discussed, makes a difference,” said one of the researchers.

—Alexander Reed Kelly


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By LetsUseLogic, January 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to frequently counter my brother and sister-in-law, as they are Fox watchers.  Often their opinions are based on highly inaccurate information based upon some ‘taking head’ opinion piece, rather than actual fact. I actually enjoy bring up such discussions with them, though I don’t tell them that.  *I don’t do it to prove them wrong*. I try to do it to inform them. I give them the key points, then ask them to research the facts themselves independently and come to their own conclusion.  While we don’t always agree, I have seen a notable shift in their political leaning from far right to a conservative moderate position.

I think there are three core political positions in the US today: DemoRat, RepuGlican, and Reality.

For some background: Historically I have been a registered Democrat. But within the past decade+ I have disassociated with all parties, because US Democracy is a myth. What we have a Plutocratic Kleptocracy entirely driven by corporations and cash. What is best for ‘the people’, is no longer a priority. Unfortunately the fix is to gut the entire government, completely end the concept of the career politician, and elect people who are for the people, by the people. Not for the corporations, by the corporations.

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By redteddy, November 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

Who did this study?  I think its bad reporting to say a poll says without saying
who did the study and how many were polled, nor does it make any
comparisons to other tv news agencies such as MSNBC etc, they simply say that
those who read the NYTimes and USA Today are more informed were better

But let’s say that the study is correct what are the implications, a Pew Study
released in 2004 rated Fox News Channel was second only to CNN as a news
source.  In 2010 The Guardian reported that Fox News was the most “trusted
news channel in the US” claiming that almost HALF of ALL Americans surveyed
(in a poll of 1,151 registered voters) trusted Fox more than the 39% who said
they trusted CNN.  Loyal viewers?  I guess so. Nielsen Media Research reported
that during Haiti’s earthquake 3.2 million people turned to Fox.  Fact is there is
3.2 million represent a small fraction of the entire US population. What the poll
doesn’t tell us is how many people don’t pay attention to any specific news
source and remain uninformed.

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By Anarcissie, November 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

Miko—A week or two after Occupy Wall Street started, someone took a poll and discovered that about 2/3 of the people present were not anarchists or communists but what are generally identified as ‘liberals’ or ‘progressives’.  (The poll-taker then lied about the poll, but that needn’t concern us, since the raw data was made available.)  It is true that the people who started the protests were probably radicals, but they were quickly joined by less radical people who think (with good reason) that they have been abandoned by the Democratic Party.

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By Arabian Sinbad, November 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

Interesting indeed! Because there is a ready market that’s why “Fox Brainwashing” was created in the first place. Blame falls on the market forces!

However, in the name of freedom of choice and self-determination, those viewers have the right to brainwashing, misinformation, indoctrination and ignorance. Hasn’t it been said that sometimes ignorance is a bliss?!

It must be understood, however, that those who choose Fox for their indoctrination should be aware of the consequences of their choices, and not to arrogantly claim that they are the possessors of enlightenment and truth. When they act like that, I also have the right, freedom and moral obligation to call them on their stupidity, ignorance, backwardness and irrelevance in the progression of human civilization and enlightenment!

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By Miko, November 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“only 47 percent of New Jerseyans were able to
correctly identify the protesters as predominantly
Democratic, the study said”

If the study is based on the assumption that Occupy is
predominantly Democratic, I have to doubt everything
they say.  While there may be a few Democrats around,
Occupy is (from my experience) predominantly a mix of
third-partiers and anarchists.

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By Maani, November 24, 2011 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

This is news?  That Fox News viewers are semi-literate, narrow-minded lemmings who worship every snippet of propaganda that comes from the mouths of their hyper-conservative right-wing profits…I mean, prophets?

We can only hope that their numbers are small enough that their influence on elections will be minimal…

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By SarcastiCanuck, November 24, 2011 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How about a survey on how many FOX news viewers have high school degrees.

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By ohiolibgal, November 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

It just amazes me that people accept what Fox and Rush say as truth, that they buy into that “some say” nonsense. Solid proof of the dumbing down of our nation, or at least too much of it.

Fox (and their lazy non sharp tool viewers) is maybe the biggest reason a semi literate dry drunk made it close enough in 2000 for the Supreme Court coup.

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