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"Who are the many consistently misinformed media viewers? … Fox viewers, consistently, every poll."
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EDITOR"S NOTE: ~ above the June 21, 2011, edition of The daily Show, Jon Stewart welcomed our False verdict and also apologized, saying, "I defer come (priziv.org"s) judgment and also apologize for my mistake. To not carry out so would be irresponsible."

On the June 19, 2011, edition of Fox News Sunday, comedian Jon Stewart -- hold of The Daily display on Comedy central -- sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace. Countless readers asked united state to review among his claims."Who space the most consistently misinformed media viewers?" Stewart inquiry Wallace. "The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll."Wallace didn’t difficulty Stewart’s assertion the Fox -- widely perceived as a conservative-leaning network -- produced much more misinformed viewers. But we thought it was an assessment worth checking.We discovered two polling establishments that have developed periodic "knowledge" surveys identified by the respondent’s frequent news sources. One is the Pew Research center for the People and the Press, and the other is worldpublicopinion.org, a project regulated by the routine on global Policy attitudes at the university of Maryland.Let’s start with Pew’s findings.Pew periodically studies media usage and also public knowledge. They ask even if it is a respondent is a "regular" reader, viewer or listener of significant print, television, radio and also Internet news sources, and they ask a collection of straightforward factual questions around news and public affairs come gauge just how well-informed the respondent is.After conferring v Pew researchers, we discovered three surveys because 2007 that shed some irradiate on how informed Fox viewers are compared to consumer of other media. Below they are:• February 2007 Political understanding Survey. Pew asked respondents 23 questions, such as who the vice president is, that the chairman of Russia is, even if it is the cook Justice is conservative, i m sorry party controls the U.S. Home of Representatives and whether the U.S. Has a profession deficit. The ability to prize 15 of these questions appropriately earned the respondent a ar in the "high knowledge" category.Pew then categorized various media resources by the percent of their followers who earned a high understanding rating. The media outlets fell into 3 categories -- those that had 50 come 54 percent in the high understanding group, those that had actually 40 to 49 percent in the high knowledge group, and those that had actually 34 to 39 percent in the high knowledge group.In to decrease order, the 50-to-54 percent group consisted of The Daily present and the Comedy main cousin, The Colbert Report; significant newspaper websites; the PBS News Hour v Jim Lehrer; Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor; nationwide Public Radio; and Rush Limbaugh’s syndicated radio speak show.The 40-to-49 percent group included nationwide newsmagazines; tv news websites; local everyday newspapers; web news sources favor Yahoo and Google; and also CNN.Finally, the 34-to-39 percent group consisted of the network night news shows; online news conversation blogs; Fox News Channel; local television news; and also the network morning shows.Now, let’s analysis the data.Fox isn’t critical on the list, although it’s close -- 35 percent the Fox viewers deserve a high knowledge rating, which to be tied with regional television news and was one point ahead that the network morning shows.However, Fox’s 35 percent score places it precisely at the nationwide average. This seems paradoxical -- Fox ranks near the bottom that a lengthy list of media outlets, yet it sits best at the nationwide average. Yet there’s an explanation. Lots of respondents reported complying with none the the media outlets they to be asked about, and those respondent did quite poorly on the understanding quiz -- not surprisingly. That expected that the non-media-using respondents lugged down the national average, yet they didn’t constitute a separate category that ranked reduced than Fox ~ above Pew’s chart.Since Stewart to be referring come "media viewers," this doesn’t undercut his point. However, the data includes an important counterpoint to Stewart’s claim: Viewers that at the very least one show on Fox scored fairly well -- The O’Reilly Factor, of who 51 percent do it right into the high knowledge group. That made it same to nationwide Public Radio -- a longtime target that conservative complaints about liberal media predisposition -- and only three percentage points behind Stewart’s very own show, in ~ 54 percent.• April 2008 Media Survey. Compared to the 2007 survey, the 2008 survey looked at a wider variety that media outlets yet used a narrower choice of questions designed to test the respondent’s current-affairs knowledge. The pollsters asked three questions: "Do you occur to recognize which political party has a majority in the U.S. Home of Representatives?" "Can girlfriend tell me the name of the existing U.S. Secretary of State?" and "who is the present prime minister of an excellent Britain?" Anyone who went three-for-three earn the high expertise designation.Here, the variety of results was lot wider. As soon as again, Fox News was just around at the national mean -- 19 percent that Fox viewers score in the high understanding category, contrasted to 18 percent of all respondents -- however this time a grasp of news outlets scored lower than Fox did. Through scores ranging from 17 percent every the way down come 9 percent, they were CNBC, local television news, network news, morning news shows, television newsmagazines, personality magazines, religious radio, the Weather Channel, CBS News, access Hollywood and similar shows, and in critical place, the National Enquirer.And as soon as again, specific Fox mirrors scored well above the average. Hannity & Colmes was among only four selections to exceed 40 percent -- the others to be the New Yorker/the Atlantic, NPR and also MSNBC’s Hardball -- if The O’Reilly element scored 28 percent, or 10 points over the national average. (Hannity & Colmes even exceeded Stewart’s Daily display in this poll, 42 percent come 30 percent.)In all, this vote undercuts Stewart’s position even more than the 2007 poll did.• June 2010 Media consumption Survey. For 2010, respondents were asked 4 questions -- i m sorry party managed the residence of Representatives, what write-up was held by Eric Holder, which company was run by Steve Jobs and also which nation has an active volcano that had actually recently disrupted global air travel. This time, Pew didn’t especially use a "high knowledge" measurement but rather damaged down responses through how numerous were answered correctly by each media outlet’s followers.Once again, Fox News together a entirety ranked fairly low amongst regularly used media outlets -- 20 percent answered all four correctly and 18 percent answered three correctly. Still, those number beat the national mean of 14 percent and 20 percent, respectively. (The best-scoring outlet, the wall surface Street Journal, posted scores of 51 percent and 23 percent, respectively.)Fox actually scored better than its two straight cable-news rivals -- MSNBC, i beg your pardon is a liberal counterpoint come Fox, and also CNN, i beg your pardon is considered much more middle-of-the-road. Likewise scoring lower than Fox were local television news, the night network news shows and the network morning shows.And because that the 3rd time, particular Fox reflects scored well. Hannity ranked fifth (just front of MSNBC’s for free shows organized by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow) and also O’Reilly ranked ninth. For the first time, Pew consisted of Glenn Beck in the rankings, and the Fox organize finished 12th -- slightly ahead that Stewart’s very own Daily Show.We asked Michael Dimock, Pew’s combine director because that research, what he thought Pew’s data supposed for Stewart’s claim. He stated it’s an important to know that various news resources appeal to different varieties of people -- and that highly political programming that any type attracts continuous readers and also viewers "who are, most likely, currently highly knowledgeable prior to their exposure to those certain sources. Separating what expertise they bring with them from what they find out while reading or the town hall is basically impossible."By contrast, Dimock said, because that media outlets with a much broader reach -- consisting of Fox -- "the median regular consumer of these resources is less informed than the an ext niche audiences, since these sources, by design, reach and also appeal come a more comprehensive cross-section of the public. In most of our studies, the continuous readers and also viewers of these broad-based news sources are not significantly much more or less informed than the average American, and also there is no methodical pattern mirroring one broad-based source has a much more knowledgeable audience than any kind of other."Pew’s methodology is not immune from critique. Most notably, it’s not clear whether knowing the answer come a few current-affairs concerns translates right into being "informed." However, the specialists we speak to stated that Pew is an unbiased resource and the its data is credible.Given that, we conclude that the Pew data demonstrates the the fact of who "misinformed" is a lot an ext nuanced than Stewart provides it the end to be.Now let’s rotate to the studies by worldpublicopinion.org. We discovered two studies by the team that tracked current-affairs knowledge.• "Misperceptions, The Media and also The Iraq War" study, 2003. This study focused on the Iraq War and the lead-up to it. It asked 3 questions: "Is it her impression the the U.S. Has actually or has not found clear evidence in Iraq the Saddam Hussein was working carefully with the al-Qaida terror organization?" "Since the war v Iraq ended, is it your impression the the US has or has actually not found Iraqi weapons of massive destruction?" and also whether, "The majority of people favor the US having actually gone to war."On these questions, Fox plainly did the worst amongst the major news outlets. The "misperception rate" because that Fox was 45 percent. The greatest for various other news outlets was CBS News in ~ 36 percent; those with lower "misperception rates" had CNN, ABC, NBC, the publish media and also NPR/PBS, which was lowest in ~ 11 percent.This research is more than likely the strongest assistance we discovered for Stewart’s claim, in component because the difference between Fox and the other news outlets was so stark, and also in component because the questions asked have actually pretty clear-cut "right" and "wrong" answers.• Misinformation and also the 2010 Election, 2010. This study influenced some the the most intense solution of any we looked at. For instance, the for free blog day-to-day Kos trumpeted the study with the headline, "CONFIRMED: new Study Proves the Fox News makes You Stupid." however it’s also the study that motivated the fiercest counterattack on methodological grounds.The examine asked 10 questions. Part are reasonably cut and also dried -- which chairman signed the TARP legislation to bail out wall Street (Bush), which imposed the automaker bailout (both Bush and Obama), even if it is the stimulus bill contained tax cuts (it did),and whether Barack Obama was born in the United claims (he was).But a few were in a little bit grayer area, regularly asking respondents to gauge what experts have concluded around policy trends.One was, "Is it your impression the most economists who have studied it calculation that the economic stimulation has developed (a) conserved or created several million jobs, (b) conserved or produced a couple of jobs, or (c) brought about job losses."Another was, "Is it her impression that economists who have approximated the effect of the health reform law on the federal budget plan deficit over the next 10 years, (a) much more think it will certainly not rise the deficit, (b) views are evenly divided, or (c) more think the will boost the deficit."The Baltimore Sun’s tv critic, David Zurawik, composed a tower shortly ~ the study appeared, expressing skepticism about the study.Zurawik wrote, "what you have actually for the an interpretation of a respondent that is thought about ‘informed’ is basically someone that agrees through the conclusions of specialists in federal government agencies. When details questions in the survey are framed around facts, favor who to be president as soon as a details piece of regulation passed, you can say someone is misinformed." however that’s no the instance with some of this survey’s questions.One inquiry from the examine that struck united state as one that plain Americans can answer differently than economists asked, "Do friend think now that the American economy is (a) starting to recover, or (b) still gaining worse?" The study based the "correct" prize -- that the economy has started to recoup -- top top the widely embraced judgment of once the critical recession ended, and gross residential product estimates and statistics for personal income. However, given the phrasing the the question, a respondent could think the inquiry was asking for a personal opinion of how the recovery was going, rather than what the main statistics say.In a note, the study’s authors recognized such concerns, however defended your approach. "When managing topics that have actually been highly politicized, that is common to default come the place that every perceptions are relative and also treatment of any kind of position as an ext or much less true is itself inherently political," the study says. "We believe that together a position is at odds with what is important for well-functioning democracy."We have to note that like this study, priziv.org often uses the Congressional budget plan Office and also the Medicare trustees together credible sources, and also we regularly query specialists to come up with our rulings. Us think yes sir a difference in between bestowing a False rating top top an elected official -- whose task it is come know around public policy -- and also calling an ordinary American "misinformed" for getting the exact same concern "wrong." in ~ the very least, these questions seem less clear-cut 보다 asking who the vice president is.For this reason, we believe that this research should lug less load in analyzing Stewart’s comment.So we have actually three Pew researches that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, however in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets -- such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the various other cable news networks -- often score similarly low. Meanwhile, specific Fox reflects -- such together The O’Reilly aspect and Sean Hannity’s present -- actually score consistently well, occasionally also outpacing Stewart’s own audience.Meanwhile, the other collection of understanding surveys, indigenous worldpublicopinion.org, offer combined support because that Stewart. The 2003 inspection strikes united state as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has actually been critiqued because that its methodology.The way Stewart grammar the comment, that not sufficient to show a sliver of proof that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the see that the data reflects they room "consistently" misinformed -- a term he offered not once yet three times. It’s just not true that "every poll" mirrors that result. Therefore we price his case False.