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Fox News Viewers the Most Uninformed About Current Events, Including Climate Change

| Thursday November 24th, 2011 | 31 Comments

Recently, the Fairleigh Dickinson University came out with a poll confirming something that many of us have probably suspected all along. It stated that Fox News viewers are less informed than people who don’t watch any news at all.

The survey was conducted among 612 New Jersey natives. Fox News watchers were 18 percent less likely to know that Egyptians toppled their government and 6 percent less likely to be aware that Syrians have not yet overthrown theirs. Just 47 percent were able to identify the Occupy Wall Street protesters as predominantly Democratic, while 11 percent thought they were Republican. The most informative outlets were found to be the Sunday morning news shows, The Daily Show by Jon Stewart, as well as outlets like The New York Times, USA Today and NPR. 

The “Fox News Effect” has been widely studied through previous polls and reports. Now there appears to be a confirmation that people who rely on Fox News for their information are the most misinformed about world events as well as scientific truths. This misinformation means that they are more likely to support a right-wing, conservative political agenda.

A 2010 study by the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers were more likely to believe false information about politics. The network took the top 10 spots in the age 25–54 demographic and the top 12 spots among total viewers in 2010. This means it has a tremendous ability to influence opinion on current events including climate change with a key demographic.

According to their CSR policies, which are pretty progressive, Fox News is committed to reducing carbon emissions. Its parent company, News Corp, is one of the first channels to go carbon neutral and Fox boasts the first television show, 24, to go completely carbon neutral. However when it comes to reporting about climate change, Fox News was both the least accepting of, and most likely to be dismissive of, this global phenomenon. According to the study, nearly 60 percent of Fox News broadcasts were dismissive of climate change, whereas less than 20 percent were accepting of climate change. In comparison, 70 percent of CNN and MSNBC broadcasts were accepting of climate change.

This disparity between what they do and what they promote is huge. It casts serious doubt on their CSR activities and efforts to become more sustainable because their own journalists employ a very dismissive attitude about climate change. Fox News journalists are often told by executives to take a skeptical view on climate change when they could use their considerable influence to give scientific facts and encourage millions of people to take action.

Apart from environmental news, Fox News viewers are also likely to be misinformed about health care reform, religion, gay rights, abortion, national and foreign policy, elections, immigration, education and budget issues. With such an enormous list of news topics and sphere of influence, Fox has the responsibility to report with integrity as they are one of the leading news channels. However, because they are supported by conservative political candidates and sponsors, it is unlikely that they will be changing their ideological substance any time soon.


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  • Read

    This has to be a joke. I hope no one actually paid you for this garbage. Essentially, your premise is that those who don’t believe in: the warming myth, redistributing acquired wealth, open borders, bad public schools run by union thugs, bad overpaid public school teachers with no performance criteria for maintaining their jobs, govt healthcare, the nanny state and the ruinous liberal agenda – are somehow uninformed.

    Your editorial is poorly written at best, poorly organized, poorly documented (polling data from a liberal university? C’mon, that’s like polling only the OWS protesters on what is considered good hygiene). Socialism has a flawless track record – it has beverage succeeded.

    • Matt

      supporters of socialism have no understanding that its communism-lite and just a form of fascism.

    • Glenn

      Facts are facts. Sorry. What about facsism?

    • Batholith

      Heeheeheee:)) I bet it is infuriating to find out you are terribly misinformed, Matt.

      Heeheeheehahaha!!!

    • Kelly

      Do these people understand that communism, socialism and fascism are three distinctly different concepts and while they each, as well as democracy and republicism, share some characteristics one does not lead to the other. The Fox News watchers are touchy too I see.

    • Djthamilton

      don’t agree with it, must not be true?

    • 59kb

      read must be a misinformed fox news watcher. fox is not news it is right wing propaganda. fox provides a politically slanted and biased view of current events passed off to the public as “fair and balanced” this is why their viewers are the most uninformed, because they are misinformed. read, you need to pull your head out of your a** and stop equating real news with your hateful political views.

  • Read

    “…..never succeeded.” I correct my errors. You’d better get to work on yours, it’s going take a while.

  • itsmeinks

    Wow only 612 New Jersey natives in the survey……pretty small amt to make such a big judgment call. What is this smear Fox news with lies based on 612 people in Jersey???? Get real.

    • Glenn

      Well there are thousands in Florida who watch Fox. And they are fit to be tied after they found out who they voted for in 2010. And that is a fact.

      • Susan Anderson Robbins

         You mean those crazys who voter for Buchanan? They were Democrats LOL

  • RP SIegel

    We’re not talking about opinions here, PST, we’re talking about facts, though I’m not sure if you Fox news viewers really understand the difference. The people surveyed, after watching Fox, got the facts wrong, as in incorrect. That should have nothing to do with the political leanings of the viewer or the news outlet. Facts are facts and all people should be getting the same facts. How they chooses to interpret them is another matter entirely. The well-established fact the Fox is giving incorrect information to its viewers is irresponsible at best.

    • Read

      Not bad info, just info that you can’t debate. Why are you libs so scared of just one center-right media outlet? You have dozens on your side – NY Times, CNN, msnbc, CBS, ABC, NBC, Washington Times, LA Times, etc. Is it a coincidence that they are all losing viewers and readers? Hurry, you’d better invoke the Fairness Doctrine.

      • Matt

        All are biased and controlled by the bilderberg group. Use alternative media like freedoms phoenix, infowars, and lew rockwell’s website.

        • Jonathan Mariano

          Most mainstream news media is entertainment, emotional, and full easy sound byte memes. If you want to hear a different POV, you have to step outside Fox/NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN/NPR network. Otherwise you just hear each bickering back and forth with each other.

      • Dellmartin

        “Center-right”?  Seriously?  Fox is so far from the center they wouldn’t recognize it if they tripped over it.  More support for the uninformed argument.  And yeah, we know, NY Times, CNN and all the other news outlets are wrong… only Fox and the NY Post report the truth.  Ha!

  • dave

    this is a bunch of crap!! I only watch fox, the rest a liars and pawns of obama. any day a viewer of nbc, cbs, abc or cnn wants to debate, you have my emeail!!

  • SMS

    Did the University also do a study on CNN and MSNBC viewers? I find this extremely hard to believe. This leads me to believe that either these are the stupidest 612 people ever or they all were paid to say that they were Fox News viewers.

    • Ryan

      They did. MSNBC also ranked low, but the lowest was Fox News in almost every category concerning major current events. Yet their network always boasts that they are the “most-watched”. About time they’re shown just how stupid their audience is.

  • ab

    You’re right…This doesn’t come as a surprise…

  • ab

    The results speak for themselves…

    It’s one thing to think critically, to inform and question, it’s another to set up a biased stance from the get-go and proceed with that as a given…

  • Glenn

    Excellent article! Could not have been said any better..I wonder if Fox will show this to their audience of sheep.

    • itsmeinks

      This artical is not based on fact….really 612 people in one city. Not fact.

  • Ryan

    Reminds me of when they had interviewers out in the Tea Party rallies. The people there had no idea that they had $3,000 in tax breaks thanks to Obama, or any of the other things he’s advocated for.

    Why does conservative media keep its followers uninformed? Is that what it takes to keep people conservative?

    • Read

      Please email me. You are, respectfully, a complete moron. Life is tough. I hope you have a trust fund.

    • Susan Anderson Robbins

       We are well informed of the debt that is out of control and I bet most of us know there are NOT 57 states and Hawaii is not is Asia.

    • Susan Anderson Robbins

      Seems to me if the liberals were so sure of their facts and ideas, they wouldn’t worry that there is no “fairness doctrine” inflicted on the radio.

  • talis4

    Here is what I find absolutely mind-boggling about the masses of a$$es in the right wing moron (rwm) world. It’s kinda like a world of opposites. The only people claiming that there is no human impact on climate change are people hired by the oil companies. Yet, in the topsy turvy world of ignorance is strength, up is down, fox is god; the folks with an agenda are the 99% of scientists that hold a view BASED ON SCIENCE.

    It doesn’t matter what university they are associated with. It doesn’t matter where there funding comes from. They are all motivated by THE GOVERNMENT to prove man-influenced climate change.

    Now, WHY would the government want to invent climate change? BECAUSE they love creating rules and regulations to fatten themselves up.
    So while RIGHT WING MORONS grasp at straws, they ignore the fact that the very idiots that tell them what to believe are paid advocates of the very corporations that would benefit from an absence of regulations.

    Let me give you an example:

    Scientist: 1 + 1 = 2

    rwm: that’s your opinion

    Scientist: no, it is an imperical fact (in base 10)

    rwm: you are a paid lacky of the government trying to impose your communist views of Math on the American People!!!!!!!!!!!

    There is no reasoning with a group of people that are so pathetically stupid, ignorant and averse to reason that it is a wonder they can feed and dress themselves.

  • madisonhack

    This is what is called a “micro poll”. They use a totally different algorithm in evaluating the data from a small sample size. Another “micro poll” in the spring of 2011 used a small sample to determine that WI would produce 1.2 million recall signatures (only 540,000 needed) for Scott Walker’s do over election. This week it was proven demonstrably inaccurate – we only got 1 million. LOL….those polls are NEVER right, are they?

  • Susan Anderson Robbins

    Funny, it wasn’t Fox who doctored a 911 call from Zimmerman,Dan Rather didn’t work for Fox and Oscar winner Gore is a nobody right now.