Study finds Fox News viewers most misinformed on issues

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A new study from WorldPublicOpinion.org, a project within the University of Maryland, found that Fox News viewers were more likely to be misinformed on a number of domestic issues than other news consumers are.

"Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it 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)."

On Wednesday, liberal watchdog group Media Matters released a leaked email from Fox News executive Bill Sammon urging the network's reporters and producers to include skepticism of scientific data on climate change. So maybe it's not too surprising that more Fox News viewers hold this view. However, Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch clearly thinks climate change is occurring, since News Corp. properties have undertaken a series of measure to reduce their own carbon footprints.

The study also pointed out where viewers of other networks have been misinformed on some issues.

"There were cases with some other news sources as well. 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."

UPDATE: Michael Clemente, Fox News' senior vice president of news editorial, responded to a New York Times piece on the report: "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."

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