A new Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll finds that the Sunday morning political shows on television "do the most to help people learn about current events, while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who they don't watch any news at all."
Now that is an impressive accomplishment. You could literally turn your television off and you'd learn more through news osmosis via other means (reading, listening to the radio, overhearing random conversations on the street, talking with your plants) than you would by watching Fox News. Let's just savor that: Listening to Fox "News" makes you less informed than not watching news at all.
From the summary:
Among other topics, New Jerseyans were asked about the outcome of the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East this past year. While 53% of New Jerseyans know that Egyptians were successful in overthrowing the government of Hosni Mubarak, 21% say that the uprisings were unsuccessful, and 26% admit they don’t know. Also, 48% know that the Syrian uprising has thus far been unsuccessful, while 36% say they don’t know, and 16% say the Syrians have already toppled their government.
But the real finding is that the results depend on what media sources people turn to for their news. For example, people who watch Fox News, the most popular of the 24-hour cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all (after controlling for other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors). Fox News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news.
"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," said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the PublicMind Poll. "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."
I'm not even sure how you accomplish that, but add another log to the raging fire that's burning away any remaining reputation for the Murdoch network. Perhaps it is the unrelenting propaganda or the giddy misinformation spewed by even the "straight news" hosts? Perhaps it is the dumb-as-a-post pundits and hosts themselves, people who are only still alive because their producers remind them during commercial breaks that they need to keep breathing? I have long suspected that the Fox & Friends crew live their offscreen lives in an elaborately constructed human-sized hamster cage, because if they were left to feed themselves or cross streets on their own we'd never see hide nor hair of them again.
Whatever the cause: Congratulations, Fox News, your network makes people less informed about news events than if they weren't watching at all. You are officially the opposite of a "news" channel.