The Lies That Fox News Viewers Believe

Six years ago the Program on International Policy Attitudes published a study that showed that Fox viewers are far more likely to believe things that are demonstrably false, than are viewers of other networks. It’s still true.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (pdf) featured on the Rachel Maddow Show (video below) included questions centered on the recent health care debate. What made this poll unique was that four of the questions sought to ascertain whether the respondents believed statements that were known to be untrue. Here are the results broken out by which news sources the respondents favored:

On Health Care Reform, Those Who Believe That It Will… MSNBC/CNN Viewers Fox News Viewers
Give Coverage To Illegal Immigrants: 41% 72%
Lead To A Government Takeover: 39% 79%
Pay For Abortions: 40% 69%
Stop Care To The Elderly: 30% 75%

Let me repeat: These are statements that are known to be untrue, yet Fox News viewers believe them in overwhelming numbers. It’s bad enough that approximately 40% of MSNBC/CNN viewers believe these myths, but clearly Fox is producing an audience of vastly misinformed, cultural illiterates.

The problem with having a national news organization that is polluting the population with lies about critical public issues is that it makes democracy impossible. And that, of course, may be the goal of Fox and its corporate overseers. Democracy is such a messy affair, what with all the people voting and stuff. If your objective is to manipulate government, you can’t get very far if voters are actually familiar with the issues and are capable of making sound judgments. So Fox News found it necessary to invent a platform of fake agendas to create fear and then purposefully indoctrinate their predominantly Republican and southern viewers to believe in them.

They have enjoyed a fair measure of success in the past couple of weeks as raucous town hall meetings and shrill political disputes have dominated news coverage. There have been episodes of chaos and hostility erupting in what used to be neighborly community gatherings. Television pundits are peddling insane conspiracies that link shadowy cabals to absurd plots with tentacles reaching into evil government agencies. And weirdos with weapons are showing up at presidential events to wander around menacing peaceful demonstrators and anxious Secret Service agents.

It is vitally important that sanity and honesty be restored to public discourse. As people become more aware of truthful representations of the issues, the tide could rapidly turn back to permit a rational debate to take place. The results of this poll could go a long way toward persuading people that they have been the victims of a deliberate con job. That can only occur if this poll is distributed broadly enough to be seen by a substantial portion of the electorate, including those who watch Fox News. Of course, Fox itself would never broadcast these results, so it’s up to us to be the distributors of the truth; to pass this information along; and to expose Fox as the perpetrators of hoaxes that they are.

Fox News viewers are being led around like Ritalin-sodden sheep. There is a case to made that they would be outraged at being so brazenly mislead – if they only knew. Data like this makes it difficult to pretend that Fox News respects its audience. This is the sort of evidence that could cause many FoxPods to revolt and free themselves. We need to help them see the light. Let’s just hope that it isn’t too late.

Update: The Pew Research Center confirms the delusional state of Republicans and Fox News viewers. Their survey reports that a plurality of 47% of Republicans believe in “death panels” compared to 20% of Democrats and 28% of Independents. Likewise, 45% of Fox News viewers believe this myth as opposed to 27% of MSNBC viewers and 26% of CNN’s.

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10 thoughts on “The Lies That Fox News Viewers Believe

  1. You can’t lump CNN & MSNBC together like that! CNN outright LIES to their viewers, under the banner of “independence”. They always make sure to offer both sides, even when one side is completely false! This poll needs to be redone with each network polled individually. I’d like to see how many people watching CNN are misinformed because I imagine it’s quite a lot more than MSNBC. CNN is worse than Fox. At least by now most people know that Fox is biased. But CNN? Oh,no! They’re targeting that “independent” niche after all! Disgusting.

  2. “They weren’t asked if the criticisms were true or false, correct or incorrect. They were asked to speculate about what a future healthcare plan might bring. Ms Driscoll and rascals like News Corpse are portraying this like people flunking a current events test, believing things that are “known to be untrue”. But the respondents weren’t asked what’s true or false; they were asked whether they think these things are likely or unlikely–not a question of fact but a matter of opinion. Ironically, one of these so-called “lies” has already been shown to be not a lie at all. The nonpartisan factcheck.org did a thorough analysis and concluded:”
    -
    ‘As for the House bill as it stands now, it’s a matter of fact that it would allow both a “public plan” and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions.’

    Abortion: Which Side Is Fabricating?
    http://factcheck.org/2009/08/abortion-which-side-is-fabricating/
    ***
    Fox Haters Week in Review
    http://homepage.mac.com/mkoldys/blog/wll272762199.html

    • That’s a laughable rebuttal. It’s irrelevant whether they were asked if the statements were true or false. Asking if they believed that these outcomes could occur demonstrates whether they bought into the lies. And obviously these were opinions. That’s pretty much the point of conducting opinion polls, Einstein.

      As for abortion question, FactCheck goes back and forth so many times it’s hard to see how they drew any conclusion at all:

      “The truth is that bills now before Congress don’t require federal money to be used for supporting abortion coverage. So the president is right to that limited extent. But it’s equally true that House and Senate legislation would allow a new ‘public’ insurance plan to cover abortions, despite language added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for them.”

      Huh? So the funds aren’t required, but they are allowed, except for the part that forbids them. That clears that up. FactCheck seems to rest on a single clause that says that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing” the provision of abortion services, but the Hyde Amendment already does that, so it’s moot. The bill appears to treat reproductive services exactly as Medicaid does now.

      Finally, even conceding the abortion issue (which I don’t) the other lies stand and you didn’t even bother to address them. The bottom line is that Fox viewers, as usual, are the most misinformed bunch of pathetic, zombie, losers in the TV universe.

      • “The bottom line is that Fox viewers, as usual, are the most misinformed bunch of pathetic, zombie, losers in the TV universe.”
        O yeh,just take a good look at yourself in the mirror, stupido, that what you think! And you dead wrong-i remember those time when all of you, Progressive was kissing Obama’s ass!
        So, shutup,cretin, you said enough already, just wait and see, what will happen to your taxes very soon!

        • Wow. Good comeback. I’m wrong because I’m stupido and voted for Obama and my taxes were cut.

          You’re just proving my point.

  3. unreal. you “prove” how dumb some people are by asking them to sepculate on something that doesnt even exist yet. and then on 2.5 of them (based on most versions of what doesnt yet exist) they got it right, and you got it wrong. garsh, i guess we DO know who is dumb and who is not now. too funny. if you guys spent more time actually trying to get “smart” rather (working on classical logic would be a good start) trying to prove how dumb everyone else is, it would be good for your kharma. trust me. peace.

    • What I proved is not that anyone is dumb, but that they are deliberately misinformed by Fox News. And it wasn’t me who proved anything, it was the surveys that documented the beliefs of the respondents.

      Thanks for your concern for my Karma, but obviously you don’t know the meaning of that either (it’s not a system of brownie points). Peace.

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