File this under surprise, surprise: Getting your news from sources like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin makes you an idiot. A study has been released that proves Fox News watchers are lacking in intelligence. A project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland conducted a survey of American voters and found that those who watch Fox News are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources.
Turns out, the more you tune into Fox, the less you know. Or, at least, the more you think you know that is actually completely and utterly wrong.
Now, this wasn't exactly a groundbreaking study. In 2003, another PIPA study found that the majority of Americans had significant misperceptions about the war in Iraq. But the frequency of those misperceptions varied according to individuals' sources of news. Fox viewers fell short, while NPR and PBS fans were less apt to be clueless.
In the new study, the following percentage of Fox News viewers believed a slew of falsehoods that are just plain false:
- 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
- 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
- 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
- 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
- 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)
It's apparent that Fox is selling lies as journalism, and just about anyone who has had a few brain cells working during the past 10 years knows this. So, my question is, how much of what people believe is based simply on what they want to believe? This is never more apparent than when it comes to the news—especially since we now have all flavors of bias to choose from.
To be "fair and balanced," I have to note that the study found CNN and other broadcast network news viewers fared only slightly better than Fox. MSNBC had the most accurately informed viewers, but not by much.
Would love to hear what a psychologist would say about this study. It would be great fodder for Outfoxed 2.
Image via New England Secession/Flickr