Breaking? Fox News Viewers Are Misinformed

Another study suggests that Fox News viewers know less than people who watch no news at all.
With "fair and balanced" reporting like this, how could viewers be misinformed? (Photo: Fox News)
Nov 23, 2011· 1 MIN READ
Originally from Baltimore, Oliver lives and writes on a quiet, tree-lined street in Brooklyn.

If you're a regular viewer of Fox News, it might be time to reconsider.

A poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University on Monday found that people who get their news from Fox News know significantly less about what's going on in the world than people who watch no news at all.

That's right. Even if you turn your TV off, you'll know more than diehard fans of Hannity, Kelly, and O'Reilly.

The study, which surveyed 612 New Jersey natives, found that fans of the supposedly "fair and balanced" news network fared worse than others on questions about the popular uprisings in Egypt and Syria.

Asked whether Egyptians had successfully toppled Hosni Mubarak's regime, just 49 percent of Fox viewers answered in the affirmative. In comparison, 68 percent of NPR listeners answered correctly, the highest on the scale.

The study also found that Fox News viewers were less likely than MSNBC viewers to be able to identify Mitt Romney as the GOP's leading presidential candidate (although to be fair this might be the fault of this year's underwhelming Republican talent pool).

"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 political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson, in a statement.

"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."

We've seen studies like this before, so whether it will actually guide the population away from the misinformation superhighway remains to be seen. In the meantime, it's best to stick to the sources that are most reliable: according to the study, the well-informed get their news from the Sunday-morning news shows as well as outlets like The New York Times, USA Today and NPR.

Or you could just watch the The Daily Show. Fans of the Jon Stewart-hosted news satire came in second only to NPR listeners when it came to their knowledge of the world. Which makes sense, since its audience is about three times more likely to have graduated from college than their Fox News counterparts. Guess you have to know the truth to get the joke.