Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid

[Thanks to AlterNet for reprinting this article]

Idiot FoxYet another study has been released that proves that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day.

In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:

  • 91% believe that the stimulus legislation lost jobs.
  • 72% believe that the health reform law will increase the deficit.
  • 72% believe that the economy is getting worse.
  • 60% believe that climate change is not occurring.
  • 49% believe that income taxes have gone up.
  • 63% believe that the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts.
  • 56% believe that Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout.
  • 38% believe that most Republicans opposed TARP.
  • 63% believe that Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear).

The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming their viewers and they are doing it for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. They benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.

By the way, the rest of the media was not blameless. CNN and the broadcast network news operations fared only slightly better in many cases. Even MSNBC, which had the best record of accurately informing viewers, has a ways to go before they can brag about it.

The conclusions in this study need to be disseminated as broadly as possible. Fox’s competitors need to report these results and produce ad campaigns featuring them. Newspapers and magazines need to publish the study across the country. This is big news and it is critical that the nation be advised that a major news enterprise is poisoning their minds.

This is not an isolated review of Fox’s performance. It has been corroborated time and time again. The fact that Fox News is so blatantly dishonest, and the effects of that dishonesty have become ingrained in an electorate that has been purposefully deceived, needs to be made known to every American. Our democracy cannot function if voters are making choices based on lies. We have the evidence that Fox is tilting the scales and we must now make certain that they do not get away with it.

[Addendum:] The folks at OurFuture had previously addressed some of the issues above and provided documentation that effectively debunks the myths.

[Update:] Michael Clemente, Fox News senior vice president of news editorial, dismissed the study’s findings in a statement to the New York Times:

“The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having ‘Students Who Study The Least’ and being the ‘Best Party School’ – given these fine academic distinctions, we’ll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was ‘researched’ with.”

Clemente obviously prefers the snarky retort to the substantive rebuttal, and clearly has no affinity for the truth. Rather than addressing the data in the study’s results, Clemente chose to viciously smear the UM student body who had nothing to do with it. And when the Times fact-checked his response they discovered that the Princeton Review actually ranks the University of Maryland among the “Best Northeastern Colleges,” and it only made it to 19th on the list of “Best Party Schools.” So even in their response Fox affirmed the conclusions in the study by continuing to misinform. At least they’re consistent.


54 thoughts on “Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid

  1. Yet another internet thread that proves left-wing websites are so stupid they are like train wrecks. Sometimes it is so hard to not gawk.

    • Yet another comment that proves right-wingers are incapable of addressing issues on substance, much less form a coherent argument.

      • You will find that the right wingers, as you call us, have a brain that we use to do our own research. We don’t believe every comment made by the news media as those of you who think that MSNBC and CNN are the truth gods of the universe.

        • And yet this study polled people who watch Fox News, and the results contradict your belief that you “have a brain” pretty solidly. If you wish to disassociate yourself from the cesspool of stupidity that the Republican Party has become, then you are going to need to disassociate yourself from Republicans entirely.

          Until then you are buying into the same lies every other teabagger lives by, the ones Fox News lives to feed you.

    • Thanks for confirming the truth of this post.

    • Try. Perhaps if you had a life or something….

  2. Exactly! Only problem is, climate change is not caused by man. Man’s influence is too minuscule to have any influence. My oh my, we are an egotistical species.

    • Well, that settles it. Another Fox-schooled climatologist, who disputes the findings of hundreds of actual scientists. Foxies have an unlimited capacity for faith-based science. It starts with believing that Jesus rode a dinosaur and ends with believing that man has no effect on the environment. Never mind the reams of evidence to the contrary.

      • Go back into your memory. Dig deep. Try to remember when it went from “global warming” (more specifically, anthropogenic global warming) to “climate change.” This is not your run-of-the-mill political correctness, it is a calculated change in vernacular due to the planet’s refusal to cooperate with the “warming” part of the issue. It also provides much more pliability to the discussion because, as we can all observe, the climate changes all the time. So the onus to prove global warming scientifically is removed and the new, uber-expensive “green” industry can continue to plow its way into the pockets of the free world. When all traces of carbon emissions are removed and the climate still changes, please feel free to shoot yourself for helping propagate the lie.

        • Another fact-free analysis that contradicts real science. Seriously, who cares what they call it? Climate Change just happens to be a more precise description. The fact remains that hundreds of peer-reviewed studies affirm the phenomenon and your trivial distraction does nothing to refute that.

          • “What’s a ‘peer review?'” 😉

            • Are you serious? I’m new here.
              Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is being sarcastic and who watches Faux “news”.

            • Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author’s peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc.

              Publications that don’t use peer review (Time, Cosmo, Salon) just rely on the judgement of the editors whether an article is up to snuff or not. That’s why you can’t count on them for solid, scientific scholarship.

        • Sorry, Robert, but climate =/= weather conditions. While weather conditions change all the time, climate, by definition (“the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.” – Merriam Webster) is a more permanent condition. Climates have changed throughout geological history, but it takes MILLIONS of years. To deny the process has sped up is intellectual dishonesty.

          • So the NASA photographs showing DRAMATIC melting of the polar icecaps, along with photographic evidence of shrinking glaciers in North America are all part of a grand conspiracy.

        • Actually, the term “climate change” was invented by Republican spinmasters quite a few years ago to soften the harshness of the term “global warming.” (Another typical example of reframing our language in order to control the debate was when Republicans long ago invented the term “death tax” to create a less benign term than the original, correct, and more accurate term, “estate tax”. The master of Republican word inventions has long been Frank Luntz, focus group leader, researcher, and master of verbal and psychological manipulation. He concocts the talking points, then Fox News, Republican leadership, and radical right-wing “think” tanks repeat them endlessly in the mainstream media. Presto! As fast as you can say “Republican brainwashing machine”, the term “global warming”, accurately coined by a consortium of the world’s top scientists in the 1970s, became the much milder, less threatening term “climate change.” We can thank superrich oil kings (like the Koch brothers) and megamedia moguls for funding the entire operation. They’re the ones who have bought most of our elected reps in govt. and who, far more than anyone else, now run our country. Thanks, Supreme Court conservatives for removing “one man, one vote” and turning our country completely over to the superrich in the boardrooms of Wall Street who comprise .05 percent of our population, but who earn way more, in one year, than the bottom 90% of American wage-earners’ lifetime net worth COMBINED.

          • Wow jane, you really have insight into the Right-Wing spin machine! Thx!

        • Robert, you need to dig deep into your own memory. The change to the term “Climate Change” was initiated by anti-global warming folks in an attempt to instigate greater uncertainty in the minds of the public.

          As for your other arguments… you really, really need to look into the sources of your arguments. In the mater of the science, you are dead wrong, and your assessment of the expense of developing and implementing alternative technologies is only minimally correct.

          Yeah, the climate always changes, that’s entirely correct. The issue is how much are we influencing the change, and why a certain section of the US population is so against even considering that we may be influencing the global climate.

          Do your research!

      • It actually starts earlier. They think that the craters on the moon were caused by the biblical flood. They do not seem to realise that water moving at the velocities necessary to escape earth orbit wouldve initiated world-wide atomic blasts that would have sterilized this world in instants. They also think that their deity created light *in transit* to trick us. Because that’s a sane reason to structure 100-billion lightyears of stuff. I like when they make their deity seem superficial and petty.

        Rightwingers seem to have this built in capacity to completely distort the point without thinking or logic.

        • WHO thinks that the craters on the moon were caused by the biblical flood? I study the Bible every day, and that is NOT in the Bible. I also am a member of a very conservative church, and I have never, ever, ever heard that the craters on the moon were caused by the flood.

          And I’m in aerospace engineering, so if that were in the Bible, I probably would not be a Christian.

          Sometimes I wonder whether y’all are trolls, or if you actually believe the things you are saying.

    • Hey Mark, get your shovel out and clear some snow & ice. You and
      your Global Warming Religious fanatics, know how well crops grown
      in the frozen tundra, all the scientists agree, right!

      • I hope you’re not one of those idiots who think that the presence of snow somewhere in the world during winter is evidence that global warning is a hoax. Weather ≠ climate.

        However, that would be a perfect demonstration of the premise of this article on how Fox News makes people stupid.

        • Hey erudite,since you know so much, what is the perfect
          climate? Yea, and all this snow and cold weather means
          nothing, tell that to the people in Europe. By the way genius,
          1st day of Winter is 12/21/10. And you call us supid.
          Facts are a bitch aren’t they, Man what a loser!

            • That’s it?? nothing more, with your intellect you’d
              figure, you’d set me straight. Like say “again” that Fox
              News has made me stupid, no need to repeat yourself.
              You must have some retort, you seem like such a nice

            • Center Cut – yes Mark is a nice person so I’ll say it for him. Your comment shows you to be a stupid a$$.

      • Classy, pretend its a religion. Data is never part of a religion…Though jackassery of your sort often seems to be.

        Besides, Weather does not Equal Climate Change. Thats not how it works. Of course you’d know that if you actually, you know, checked. But im sure that you, who has zero scientific training and knows no one who does, are able to debunk thousands of reports. And without reading or citing a single one! You dont know what a scientific theory is. You use the term more like “hypothesis” is used. Which is incorrect.

        And yes, we are so fanatical. I wonder, even if climate change wasnt real (and it is) do you honestly think its okay to pump huge amounts of toxic waste into our ecosystem? Planet’s a pretty limited space ya know, so its not like it has anywhere to go but, well, back to us. Even if you dont think its real, who could possibly want smog and acid rain choked cities?

  3. Moron demographic: Teabaggers and working-class Republicans.

  4. I Al Gore had won the Nobel for saying there was no warming, Beck would say Gore is lying. The truth just isn’t in the man.

    • You are so right. The truth is in Al Gore because it hasn’t come out yet.

  5. Truth Detective and Robert both make cogent arguments, and all the lefties can do is respond with insults. Not surprising.

    • Scott, can you point out for me the cogent arguments? I must have missed them in between the lines that were parroted from Glenn Beck.

      • Don’t hold your breath, Josh. Scott spends a lot of time trolling this site but rarely contributes anything of substance. He’s long on criticism and short on backup.

  6. “…rarely contributes anything of substance…short on backup…”

    The simple truth is this: Yes, there are a lot of scientists who think global warming (er, climate changee…er, whatever) is real, and there are a lot of other scientists who are either skeptical or who think that the theory is bogus.
    No amount of pooh-poohing by the left will change this.

    • Right. There are hundreds (more than 900) of independent scientists that affirm that the planet is rapidly warming due to human factors. And there are a handful of “scientists”, mostly affiliated with oil, mining, chemical, or manufacturing companies, who dispute it.

      Obviously you, and Fox News, have made your choice whom to believe. It’s the glorification of willful ignorance on parade.

  7. If you look at the bottom of the study questions, you will find that 32% watched network news, nearly twice those who watched Fox. This study proves nothing. More people watch Fox than the other networks, so the score will be higher. This is like old studies in the past that say 90% of the accidents happen within 25 miles of home when in fact most people spend 95% of their time within 25 miles of home. The only stupid one here is the extremely biased author of this garbage piece.

    • Thanks for proving the premise of this article.

      It is a fact that more people watch broadcast network news than watch Fox. About twice as many people watch the lowest rated network news program (Couric/CBS) than the highest rated cable news program (O’Reilly). In fact more people watch SpongeBob SquarePants than watch Fox. Fox is the #1 cable news network, not the #1 news network.

      That said, your comment demonstrates a poor understanding of polling methodology. The results that show Fox viewers as having a higher incidence of misinformation are compared relative to the same incidence within the viewing population of the other news sources. So it doesn’t matter how many people watched any particular source.

      Seriously, you need to cut back on your exposure to Fox before all your brain cells are gone.

  8. 6 corporations own all of the 24 hour “news” outlets. Huge transnational corporations which have their own agendas, design programming and hire “faces,” who are not necessarily trained as journalists to provide infotainment. When my daughter received her masters in journalism, the president of the university gave a depressing speech about the future of journalism and the lack of real jobs for journalists. My daughter has a media job, but it is not as a journalist because the corporate managers say that investigative journalism is too expensive. Entertainment meant to dumb down the people has replaced informing the people of our democracy. As for Fox, Rupert Murdock lives in China with his Chinese wife, why is that? Does he really care if his company informs Americans and tells the truth to power? Fox feeds us propaganda, not news. Propaganda….now that’s a word we Americans need to learn.

  9. This is not exactly shocking news. Those of us who have tried to discuss issues with any Faux Nooz watching conservative know exactly what an exercise in futility it can be. They have no understanding of the issues, not to mention a tenuous grasp on reality. “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    • Inter., You are the epitome of the phrase.

  10. Remember all idiots are not Republicans, but all Republicans are idiots.

    • Didn’t you mean to say that all Democrats are idiots and all idiots are Democrats.

      • No MamaDebi it was right the first time.

  11. Non-stop debunking of this thread has now made its way into the comment section, and yet Mark still thinks that spewing out insults makes him a debate winner. You lost again, dude.

  12. Having read the article and now feel a bit incline to join everyones deviation to the fact of global warming or “climate change” if you will. The fact still remain: Big corporations fund political interests to their benefits. Aside from what fox news reports, most of the facts presented on this networks are based on the corporate’s private agenda to remain in power. Just like the Monsanto corporation on agriculture, The drug companies on health reform, The banking industry on foreclosures, and so on. Who pays the bill on all this issues…. The working class. So as long as you have a job and work for somebody, what ever is your inclination to discuss issues the fact is you are paying for it too. The reason why you don’t see CEO and the rich discussing issues on blogs like this is because they are lobbing to have every law protecting them. So all you have to do is go to work, make them richer, and continue believing what you think life is all about, and when at your dead bead think of what life could had been if you only had gone out there and do what you truly believed in.

  13. When studies first started showing these same results almost ten years ago Fox did not even try to deny them, stating in the trade papers (in so many words) that their viewers were mostly illiterates who would naturally have a tendency to be confused about all sorts of things. So don’t blame Fox if they polled as ignorant.

    Fox always attacks their critics but didn’t when it came to admitting their viewers were dimwits. Why? They were telling advertisers that their viewers will believe anything. That’s why they are the richest news source in the world. If you were selling something that people didn’t really need would you advertise on Fox or PBS? Their viewers might be confused but they aren’t.

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