It’s a real worry to me how much we’re dumbing down the news. I haven’t been able to watch TV news in NZ for the last 10 years or more because it makes me want to strangle my own brain in self defence. In America it’s even worse, with (as one extreme example) Fox News serving as nothing more than naked propaganda. And surprise surprise:
Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid
A new survey of American voters shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources.
Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.
So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day.
I don’t know that we really needed studies to tell us this, did we? The question is, what, if anything, can be done about it? Can we have both a free media and a requirement for minimum levels of accuracy and balance, or are those options mutually exclusive?
(PS – Interesting thesis for some Pol Sci student out there – conduct a similar study of misconceptions in The Standard vs Kiwiblog readers. I have my prediction ready!…)