Watching Fox News makes you less informed, more certain, and more adamant. It’s not really a great combination. David Frum writes up a new study:
Last year, researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University produced a survey contending that Fox News viewers were the most systematically misinformed people in America—so much so, that when quizzed on current affairs, people who watched only Fox scored worse than people who watched no news at all.
That survey drew wide criticism, as it won’t surprise you to hear.
So this year, the authors repeated the experiment, using a wider base of respondents. And guess what?
1185 people nationwide were asked about their viewing habits and then asked 4 questions about international affairs and 5 about domestic news.
On average, respondents got correct 1.8 of the international questions and 1.6 of the domestic questions. (I know, I know.)
People who mainly listened to NPR did somewhat better: an average of 1.92 correct on the domestic section.
People who watched no news at all averaged 1.22 domestic questions right.
And people who watched only Fox? 1.04.
Looks like a trend.
Here’s a bit about the memos that go out every day from Fox higher-ups dictating how to spin the day’s news. The network, run by a former GOP executive who sometimes advises the party despite his supposed role as a journalist, promotes ignorance and misperceptions [pdf study on Fox viewers’ false beliefs, ie that Saddam was behind 9/11] that GOP advisors find useful.
Here’s a look at what Fox News puts on their website to get clicks; here’s a couple posts about Roger Ailes’ efforts in building Fox; here’s a glance at how Fox tried to make its viewers dislike the non-Romneys in the GOP primary; here’s a post on the earlier Fairleigh Dickenson study; here’s a post on the pervasiveness of Foxesque news coverage; here’s Fox giving a favorable hearing to an anti-American radical; here’s a post about Fox making up news about voter fraud.