Yet another study has been released proving 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.
Here at C&L, that study is greeted with a big "Duh!". When I was Managing Editor of the site, I had to take periodic breaks from monitoring Fox News because I could feel my brain turning into sludge from the nonstop campaign of propaganda, half-truths, flat-out lies and ugliness that passes for Fox News content. I fear for David Neiwert now, especially since he takes it upon himself to take apart Glenn Beck's lunacy day after day. I'm completely serious when I say that it took a toll on my health to subject myself to Fox's toxicity. I'd hate to see Dave go through the same health issues I have.
But there are those who clearly thrive on a diet of non-informational crap.
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 ain't so:
- 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
- 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
- 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
- 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
- 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
- 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
- 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
- 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
- 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)
The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate.
Yes, the people who get their news from Fox are stupid. But Booman wonders if it's a chicken-or-egg scenario: do people get stupid from Fox or do stupid people gravitate to Fox?
I'd like to see a controlled experiment where they let one group of people self-select which cable news network they watch and another group is assigned randomly. Then we can see if the stupid people are choosing Fox News and being made more stupid, or if Fox News can draw in mentally competent people and turn them into drooling buffoons who think Charles Krauthammer isn't a deluded crackpot but a sage patriot and overall mensch.
Frankly, I think it's both. Almost every stupid, misinformed person I know is a Fox News viewer...and every single one of them gets even dumber each year.