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April 16, 2007

Think They'll Report, And Let You Decide, This Poll?

Pew MediaThe new Pew Poll on public knowledge of current affairs includes the sadly routine finding that Fox News is doing a remarkable amount of nothing for its viewing audience. Subjected to 35 questions about the news, regular viewers of Fox scored directly in the national average, showing no sign of enhanced knowledge for all the time spent before Brit Hume. Blogs, too, appeared to do little good for their audience, lifting scores by only 2%. The Daily Show and Colbert Report either attract or educated the most informed viewers, along with newspaper websites, PBS, NPR, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly. Maybe none of this should be surprising, though. In the end, Fox News doesn't exist to inform -- it exists to convince. And in that, it's doing just fine.

April 16, 2007 in Media | Permalink

Comments

I just read about that. I found it funny and sad that those hooked on Fox are so uninformed. Yet they think it's because of some liberal thinking rather than facts.

Posted by: vwcat | Apr 16, 2007 9:36:19 AM

"along with newspaper websites and PBS"

You forgot O'Reilly and Rush.

Posted by: ostap | Apr 16, 2007 9:58:32 AM

You're right, i did. And NPR!

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 16, 2007 10:01:59 AM

From the article:

"Men, on average, knew more than women, all other factors being equal. Older Americans - particularly those 50 years old or older - did better than younger people. Whites scored better than blacks, while more affluent Americans knew more than those with lower household incomes.

Perhaps you could also draw some wild-assed inferences out of this part of the report as well...

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 16, 2007 10:35:13 AM

Women watch too much fox?

Posted by: Sam L. | Apr 16, 2007 11:07:11 AM

Doesn't it just show that Fox News viewers are perfectly in line with the national average?

ie, that their viewers are more representative of national demographics, than NPR, for example?

Posted by: Chris | Apr 16, 2007 11:17:11 AM

Come on everyone, let's say it together, so Toke won't have to remind us: "But Fox is the most trusted source for 11% of the least informed people in the country!" :)

Brace yourself, Bridget.

Anyhoo, the quiz is... interesting. The minimum wage question is what nailed most folks (me included) - get that, and you're practically a genius on their scale. The other one - and this is even more interesting - is guessing the ideology of Cheif Justice Roberts, which I would think is the most loaded question of the bunch (they're looking for "conservative" which I would call accurate; but I suspect some conservatives would argue that he's moderate). Overall, I don't know how much any of this proves, or why we're determined to make polling our God in all of this, but oh well, can't seem to fight it.

Posted by: weboy | Apr 16, 2007 11:49:29 AM

And to think I give one of my friends a hard time for saying he watches only The Daily Show for news. I'm still a little bothered that people go to an avowedly comedic show for news, but their viewers win out against news gathering centers.

Interesting that Limbaugh, and bizarrely, O'Reilly compare favorably. Is is that the wonks among the public come to them, or do they make wonks out of their viewers?

DU

Posted by: The Mechanical Eye | Apr 16, 2007 1:32:16 PM

By the same inference, one should reach the conclusion from this poll that women are less informed than men and blacks aren't as informed as whites. Although that, too, was in the article, Ezra and the gang are lothe to apply the same reasoning to these groups so it's simply ignored.

Women watch too much fox?

Even this commenter's statement doesn't want to deal with it, instead attempting to humor it under the rug. It's called 'double standard'.

But aren't polls fun!

Interesting that Limbaugh, and bizarrely, O'Reilly compare favorably.

Looks like O'Reilly beat out NPR and Rush Limbaugh tied 'em.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 16, 2007 1:45:29 PM

Looks pretty much like the same results the PIPA study got a few years ago. The Fox sheep had a big cry over that one too.
I have just about quit listening to NPR since they imposed their policy of having a Heritage Foundation naysayer on every single story they air.

Posted by: sprocket | Apr 16, 2007 2:06:11 PM

"By the same inference, one should reach the conclusion from this poll that women are less informed than men and blacks aren't as informed as whites. Although that, too, was in the article, Ezra and the gang are lothe to apply the same reasoning to these groups so it's simply ignored."

Those things are both, uh, true, Fred. Low-income voters are also less informed than high-income voters and highschool dropouts are less-informed than college graduates. None of this is denied or, more to thep oint, deniable.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 16, 2007 3:16:45 PM

I have just about quit listening to NPR since they imposed their policy of having a Heritage Foundation naysayer on every single story they air.

Sounds like you quit listening some time ago. But surely we shouldn't hear from conservatives so often in news programming. Better to stick mostly with those we already agree with.

Posted by: Sanpete | Apr 16, 2007 4:26:03 PM

What does "online news discussion blogs" refer to? Presumably that includes blogs like this one, Daily Kos, mydd, perhaps Redstate or free republic... seems odd that regular consumers of news blogs would be less informed than viewers of the network evening news.

Posted by: Korha | Apr 16, 2007 5:29:33 PM

But surely we shouldn't hear from conservatives so often in news programming. Better to stick mostly with those we already agree with.

Considering that I can accurately predict what the Heritage Foundation shill will say on any given topic about, oh, 100% of the time, it is essentially a matter of time wasted, for me, to listen to the same "point of view" that already gets an enormous amount of airtime nationwide.

Posted by: sprocket | Apr 16, 2007 5:49:47 PM

Given your comments, sprocket, I rather believe you when you say you only hear what you expect to.

Posted by: Sanpete | Apr 16, 2007 6:15:49 PM

But since "The O'Reilly Factor" is Fox News, why is it broken out separately? No other cable show is. Survey says: Fox figures fixed.

Posted by: J2 | Apr 16, 2007 10:25:57 PM

And to think I give one of my friends a hard time for saying he watches only The Daily Show for news. I'm still a little bothered that people go to an avowedly comedic show for news, but their viewers win out against news gathering centers.

You can quite easily figure out, from any Daily Show bit (in the first half, JS talking to the camera), what part is (supposed to be) factual, and what part is a joke about that fact. (And actually there's a lot to be said about how relatively sophisticated you have to be as a viewer to watch, in particular, Steven Colbert, and understand what's being said through the multiple layers of irony.)

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