The Fox Effect: Viewers Are More Uninformed About Immigration

Americans who most trust Fox News are more likely to be uninformed about the immigration system and less likely to support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants than those who trust other news sources, according to a sweeping new study released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution and Public Religion Research Institute.

Of the Americans who trust Fox News to give them the most accurate information about politics and current events, just 12 percent correctly believe that deportations have increased under the Obama administration, said the study, which measured cultural attitudes toward immigration in 2014. Overall, 25 percent of Americans correctly said deportations have risen.

Among Republicans, there were notable differences in attitudes toward immigrants between those who most trust Fox and those who prefer other news outlets.

Sixty percent of Republicans who most trust Fox say immigrants are a burden, while just 38 percent of Republicans whose most trusted news source is something else say immigrants are a burden.

Republicans who most trust Fox News are also less likely to support a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants (42 percent) than Republicans who trust other news sources (60 percent).

The study concluded that “trust in Fox News as an accurate news source is the most powerful independent predictor of opposition to a path to citizenship. Identifying as Republican and being a born-again Christian are also significant predictors of opposition to immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.”

By contrast, the most significant predictors of support for immigration reform were “[h]olding a four-year college degree, being female, identifying with the Democratic Party, and most trusting MSNBC as an accurate news source.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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