Researchers at the University of Maryland have released a study of news viewers entitled, “Misinformation and the 2010 Election” (.pdf) and found news viewers often get the wrong idea on major stories, and–according to the study–Fox News viewers are the “most misinformed” of them all.
Of course, one could argue that the academic world is the province of progressive thought, filled with many individuals who’ve developed a distaste in Fox News’ unique brand of opiniotainment. Nonetheless, the study is interesting regardless of one’s point of you and even suggests that the more someone watches Fox, the more misinformed they get.
According to the researchers, daily Fox News viewers–regardless of their political party affiliation–were “significantly” more likely than non-Fox viewers to believe:
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)
The suggestion that Fox News viewers are “misinformed” comes after a series of leaked memos from Fox News Washington bureau chief Bill Sammon that gave specific coverage guidelines on hot button issues like health care and climate change.
But it’s not just Fox News viewers who are misinformed, as Talking Points Memo reports:
Daily consumers of MSNBC and public broadcasting (NPR and PBS) were higher (34 points and 25 points respectively) in believing that it was proven that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending money raised from foreign sources to support Republican candidates. Daily watchers of network TV news broadcasts were 12 points higher in believing that TARP was signed into law by President Obama, and 11 points higher in believing that most Republicans oppose TARP.