To perhaps nobody’s surprise, a study released this week finds that Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of any news consumers.The University of Maryland study, called “Misinformation and the 2010 Election,” looked at “variations in misinformation by exposure to news sources,” among other things, and specifically newspapers and news magazines (in print and online), network TV news broadcasts, NPR and PBS, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.
The study found that daily Fox News viewers, regardless of political party, were “significantly” more likely than non-viewers to erroneously 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)
The study also found that as exposure to Fox News increased, so did the misinformation.
But Fox News wasn’t the only offender:
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 US 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.
Read the full report here.
The study was released in the wake of leaked memos that show Fox News D.C. Bureau Chief Bill Sammon instructing staffers to cast doubt on climate change, and to parrot GOP talking points on the health care debate.