Ever since a University of Maryland study declared Fox News viewers the "most misinformed" segment of America's news watching public, scholars and activists have sought to debunk or confirm the Huffing Glue Is More Informative than Watching Fox & Friends Hypothesis.
Now, for the sake of science and non-biased sampling, researchers at Farleigh Dickinson University have surveyed 612 adults, who as residents of New Jersey have probably experienced comparable exposure to noxious chemicals, to determine whether the choice of media outlet affects one's knowledge of current events…
…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). Fox News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news.
"Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News," said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the PublicMind Poll. "Rather, 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."
You mean to tell me the people who think
pizzapepper-spray is a vegetable, Egypt is adjacent to Iran, the Constitution has at least 28 Articles, and blankets are magical devices that get around the 1st law of thermodynamics, might not be providing viewers with the most accurate of news coverage? But where can Americans turn for objective, informed, accurate coverage of missing telegenic white children and other pressing matters?
And it seems Jon Stewart may be more reliable than cable news anchors. On Occupy Wall Street, the survey found viewers of "The Daily Show" were 12 percentage points more likely to say protesters were predominantly Democratic. MSNBC viewers were the most likely to say the protesters were mainly Republicans.
I'm sure this will put all debate on media objectivity to rest. Afterall, the study's principal investigator is the author of Consuming Politics: Jon Stewart, Branding, and the Youth Vote in America, so no one will dare question his objectivity on the matter.
Tags: Fox, Jon Stewart, New Jersey, Polls, The Daily Show