UPDATE: Click here for Fox News' response to the study.
Fox News viewers were the most “misinformed” of any during the 2010 election cycle.
This, according to an interesting study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, who set out to determine whether, and to what degree, voters were misinformed on issues brought up during the campaign season.
“Those who had greater exposure to news sources were generally better informed,” the study -- entitled "Misinformation and the 2010 Election" -- states. “In the great majority of cases, those with higher levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation. There were however a number of cases where greater exposure to a news source increased misinformation on a specific issue.”
According to the research, those who watched Fox News "almost daily" were significantly more likely than those who never watched the channel to believe that:
>> 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)
That last one still gets me -- 63 percent of "regular" FNC's viewers doubt Obama was born here (CNN -- 41 percent!!!).
And the global warming point is worth noting since recently leaked memos show that Fox News D.C. bureau chief Bill Sammon e-mailed staffers last December telling them to cast doubt on its existence -- regardless of the fact that scientists agree it is happening.
“These effects increased incrementally with increasing levels of exposure and all were statistically significant,” the study concluded. “The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it -- though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican.”
The misinformation, however, wasn’t limited to Fox.
>> 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 U.S. 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.
Fox News SVP Michael Clemente responded with this statement: “The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having ‘Students Who Study The Least’ and being the ‘Best Party School’ -- given these fine academic distinctions, we’ll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was ‘researched’ with."
Click here to read the full study.