Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson, explained in a statement, “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. 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.”
It’s not that everyone didn’t know that all ready, or that studies hadn’t been done before:
“Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely), most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points), the economy is getting worse (26 points), most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points), the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points), their own income taxes have gone up (14 points), the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points), when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points) and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points.)”
So, now there is conclusive proof that not only is there something about Fox News that makes its viewers more likely to believe blatant lies; along with that something makes them somehow, almost miraculously, less informed than people who don’t watch the news. Now, granted, I don’t watch the fucking news, I get it on the internet, where I don’t have to watch ads or stories about sick kids or puppies or all that human interest crap. I am, however, fairly well informed; so this does bring up the difference between people who don’t watch the news and people who don’t pay any attention to the news. Perusing their study itself, it seems like the one category they leave out is people who get almost/all of their news on the internet; although it does include one very interesting category that I am saving for last.
Huffpo misses out on some of the even more interesting bits from the study. First and foremost (it is literally on page 2) is that viewers of MSNBC (pretty much the only ‘left-leaning’ network) are the most likely to misidentity the Occupy Wall Street protesters as predominately Republicans. The most awesome thing about the Occupation (which is something I know a thing or two about) is that it is predominately people who are sick of both parties. Interestingly, Fox News viewers were the number two most likely to identify them as predominately (R)s because, well, of course they were. Pretty much across the board, and coming as no surprise to anybody, the most likely people to be accurately informed got their news from NPR and *drum roll please* The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. That is all. I would link to the study, but it exists only as a .pdf that you can download from the HuffPo link at the beginning of this post.