'/> Uncommon Hours: Fair and balanced, but not so much news
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fair and balanced, but not so much news

Fox News viewers tend to be more ignorant about current events not only than people who get their news elsewhere, but those who don’t watch the news at all, according to a new poll.

Researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll queried a cross-section of New Jersey residents about current events and where they got their information. Among the results, they found that Fox News leads “people to be even less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all.”

Many Fox viewers did not know, for example, that Egyptians had overthrown their government in the historic and widely-covered Arab Spring earlier this year. Nor did they know that Syrians have not yet succeeded in doing so in the current uprising. Surprisingly, they also were not able to identify who was leading in the current field of Republican candidates for President.

The poll was controlled for partisanship, so the results don’t suggest that merely being a Republican makes you less informed.

“Rather,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the PublicMind Poll, “the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all.”

Hmm, could it be that Fox News isn’t really a news network at all? Well, that’s hardly news.

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