Update (27/11/2011): Another study has since shown a similar finding, that respondents who watch Fox news are “less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all”.
Rupert Murdoch must be over the moon after today’s “gaff” by Vince Cable which has resulted in the man being stripped of his right as Business secretary to judge on Murduch’s takeover of BSkyB. A senior politician is openly opposed to Murdoch’s brainwashing tactics? Off with his head. BSKyB shares are already soaring after news broke this afternoon that pro-Murdoch Jeremy Hunt will be replacing Cable as judge and jury over the decision. The tables have well and truly turned in favour of Murdoch with the financial forecasters (posh bookies) today placing the odds at 90% that Murdoch will take over SKY.
Only last week a study by the University of Maryland demonstrated that consumers of Murdoch’s US news network FOX are statistically more misinformed than the rest of the population. The study assessed a number of measures of knowledge on subjects ranging from global warming to levels of job and tax cuts. Consumption levels of the main TV news providers were measured and FOX was the only channel that actually had a strong negative effect on knowledge. The data even shows a strong exposure effect, i.e. the more FOX news you watch, the more wrong you are likely to be about various facts.
This makes a lot of sense coming a week after the leak of a directive given by vice president of FOX news Bill Sammon ordering all FOX news personalities to only use language that is favourable to the conservative option. One of the examples given is that news readers must be skeptical of climate change and make sure that every time the topic is ever mentioned it must be countered immediately by a statement stating the idea of climate change has been called in to question.
Be prepared England, FOX news is coming to play.
I should note here (before I get sued for libel) the old rule of Correlation ≠ Causation. Therefore it is not necessarily true that “FOX news makes you stupid” as it is perfectly possible that it is just that stupid people are more likely to watch fox news. Without a more controlled piece of research it will be impossible to make the hypothesis directional.
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