It’s no secret that Fox News viewers consistently score lower on tests of current events than viewers of other news channels. But the real surprise is that Fox viewers actually know less correct information about current events than people who watch no television news at all. These statistics were documented in a 2011 PublicMind poll conducted by New Jersey’s Farleigh Dickinson University.
Further observation of the poll data showed Dan Cassino, Professor of political science at Farleigh Dickinson University that:
“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.”
Basically, the poll found that watching Fox News actually made viewers less accurately informed about current and political events. Prime examples would be Fox viewers erroneous fixations on Benghazi, President Obama’s birth certificate, or their incorrect assessments of a wide range of political, cultural and scientific facts. The poll interviewed 612 people throughout New Jersey and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Watching Fox news actually makes people dumber.
Professor Cassino elaborated on the findings further:
“Since we’re controlling for partisanship and education, it seems like there really is something about watching Fox that makes people less informed on this issue than they would be otherwise. Given that Fox’s ratings are well above their competitors, the findings are very troubling.”
A 2012 follow-up study found that in addition to Fox viewers being the least informed, listeners of NPR and viewers of the Sunday morning shows and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” were the best informed.
That’s right. Fans of Jon Stewart’s comedy show, “The Daily Show” are significantly more informed than viewers of Fox News.
Since comedy is so much more fun and enlightening than Fox News, let’s have Monty Python’s John Cleese sum up the findings in this brief video.