Ben Armbruster added, “An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out last year found that Faux News viewers were overwhelmingly misinformed about health care reform proposals. A 2008 Pew study ranked Faux News last in the number of ‘high knowledge’ viewers and a 2007 Pew poll ranked Faux viewers as the least knowledgeable about national and international affairs.”
The problem has arguably gotten worse. Recently PIPA published a report, this time on “Misinformation and the 2010 Election” (pdf). The point was to measure Americans’ understanding of a variety of key developments that news consumers would likely be familiar with. As was the case seven years ago, Faux News viewers were “significantly more likely” to be confused about reality.
Researchers found that Americans who paid more attention to the news were more likely to know about current events. But Americans who relied on Faux News were “significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe”:
Here is a list of what Faux News viewers believe that just isn'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)
This point, in particular, seems especially noteworthy — in some cases, regular Faux News viewers would have done better, statistically speaking, if they had received no news at all and simply guessed whether the claims about current events were accurate.
What’s more, this isn’t party affiliations — Democrats who watch Faux News were worse off than Democrats who relied on legitimate news organizations (though Dems who watch Faux News were still less confused than Republicans who watch Faux News).
It would take an unlikely twist of self-reflection, but at a certain point, Faux News and its audience might take a moment to ponder why these viewers are so wrong, so often, about so much. That almost certainly won’t happen, of course, in part because the network and its viewers aren’t quite informed enough to realize they’re uninformed.
It's a disturbing trend. The growth in Faux News' popularity has coincided with rising distrust of the rest of the media, which the right tends to dismiss as "liberal" and view with reflexive suspicion. That, coupled with Faux's commitment to producing distorted, right-wing journalism, has essentially created a competing media culture in which counter-factual information with palate-pleasing right-wing spin is considered "the news."
What the study shows is the necessary result of a news organization putting ideology over accuracy. It's not news, and it's not healthy for a functioning democracy.
You would have thought that Glenn Beck University would have raised the mentality of the Faux viewer, and staunch Faux viewers always claim to exhibit the know-it-all syndrome, but it's hard to debate the wrong end of a horse, as you always get nothing but manure.
NFTOS has said for months that watching Faux News is detrimental to your intelligence, this study on confirms our theory. So the more you watch Faux, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false.
This is not an isolated review of Faux’s performance. It has been corroborated time and time again. The fact that Faux News is so blatantly dishonest, and the effects of that dishonesty have become ingrained in an electorate that has been purposefully deceived, needs to be made known to every American. Our democracy cannot function if Americans are making choices based on lies.
Hands down Faux viewers win the coveted "clueless" award for 2011.