Fox News Viewers are the Most Misinformed: A Seventh Study Arrives to Prove It (and to Vindicate Jon Stewart!)

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Two of my most popular posts here at DeSmogBlog were a pair of items documenting 1) just how many surveys have found Fox News viewers to be more misinformed about factual reality and 2) taking PolitiFact to task for giving Jon Stewart a “false” rating when he pointed this out.

Stewart wasn’t wrong, PolitiFact was.

In these pieces, I identified 6 separate studies showing Fox News viewers to be the most misinformed, and in a right wing direction–studies on global warming, health care, health care a second time, the Ground Zero mosque, the Iraq war, and the 2010 election.

I also asked if anyone was aware of any counterevidence, and none was forthcoming. There might very well be a survey out there showing that Fox viewers aren't the most misinformed cable news consumers on some topic (presumably it would be a topic where Democrats have some sort of ideological blind spot), but I haven’t seen it. And I have looked.

There really does seem to be a “Fox News effect,” then, and one that is playing a central role in driving our political divide over reality in the U.S. And now comes a true tour-de-force seventh study showing that Fox News viewers are the most misinformed, this time once again about global warming.

The new paper, already flagged here by Farron Cousins, is just out in the International Journal of Press/Politics, by communication scholar Lauren Feldman of American University and her colleagues. The paper is quite sophisticated, and performs several powerful analyses. But for our purposes, here’s what matters.

Feldman and her colleagues reported on their analysis of a 2008 national survey, which found that “Fox News viewing manifests a significant, negative association with global warming acceptance.” Viewers of the station were less likely to agree that “most scientists think global warming is happening” and less likely to think global warming is mostly caused by human activities, among other measures. Viewers of CNN and MSNBC were the opposite.

And no wonder: Through a content analysis of Fox coverage in 2007 and 2008, Feldman and her colleagues also demonstrated that Fox coverage is more dismissive about climate science, and features more climate skeptics. That's no shocker, but the paper does a very good job of linking up the coverage itself with the reality denial that results in Fox viewers.

There is also a fascinating finding that those Republicans who do watch CNN/MSNBC are more persuaded than Democratic viewers are to accept global warming. In other words, Republicans in the study seem much more easily swayed by media framing than Democrats. Put them in the Fox information stream, just add water, and watch denialism sprout. Put them in another information stream, though, and something very different might happen.

I noted in my prior posts that the studies documenting the “Fox News effect” do not necessarily show causation. In other words, watching Fox may make you more misinformed, but people who believe lots of political misinformation may also gravitate towards Fox.

I actually think both things are going on simultaneously–but the new Feldman study does make a strong causal case that Fox is actively driving a lot of the problem.

In other words, why are Americans so divided today over reality and what is factually true? There are surely many causes—but one is that a news network with a powerful sway is constantly sowing right wing misinformation, and an army of followers are watching and believing it.

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A 7th Study!  A couple more of those and I’m sure they will put this issue to rest!

And in other news…….

“Congress kills request for National Climate Service.”

“Fox News Viewers are the Most Misinformed: A Seventh Study Arrives to Prove It”

I think most of the planet is aware of that now except for Fox news viewers. It’s really Fox’s views, not news.


What about the people who read the Wall Street Journal? Speaking of misinformation, they just published yet another opinion piece by S.F.Singer. He doesn’t agree with the BEST study (surprise!) The BEST study was done by a climate change denier who analyzed the data according to his own criteria and found that, yes, the global temperature is rising.

I have a relative who subscribes to the WSJ and will not believe that a “little bit” of CO2 can be of any significance to the climate.

“What about the people who read the Wall Street Journal? Speaking of misinformation, they just published yet another opinion piece by S.F.Singer.”

WSJ is just Fox in disguise. Fox news & WSJ are both Murdoch stablemates, hence the similarity of message & readership it attracts. It demonstrates it’s lack of morals by publishing Fraud Singer.

Hi Phil. Not talk in a while. I guess no common ground. This is off topic but I want your opinion. As to the carbon tax in Australia I agree with but not about the way it was done. Or it may be that I don’t have a handle on the long-term goals. My opinion a carbon tax must hit the end user directly. This is because if you take a hand-chosen few, the rich corporations, and tax them they will eventually, fines or not, find a way to make their money and their profits. However if you hit the end user and then use the tax to provide alternatives then you can cut into their profits and increase alternative jobs and alternative profits. Does the problem arise from getting the people to vote themselves a tax like it does in the US?    

“Or it may be that I don’t have a handle on the long-term goals.”

The main goal is just to reduce CO2 emissions. They chose a carbon tax & a small one at that, to basically commence retooling & gearing the economy towards a low carbon emission  one. It will change in a couple of years to a full market based solution (ETS). Where the government will not be involved at all. The government are actually running at a loss to impliment the carbon tax due to the compensation measures.

It’s not perfect & many argued they should have had an ETS straight up or a cap & dividend solution. The point is, to start doing something.

“My opinion a carbon tax must hit the end user directly.”

I agree, but what do you do about the poor? Even if the extra costs are miniscule & short term, it is harder for them to absorb. They are picking on the biggest emitters, which are the coal plants, airlines etc. Compensation package are in place for low income people & small business.

“This is because if you take a hand-chosen few, the rich corporations, and tax them they will eventually, fines or not, find a way to make their money and their profits.”

They don’t even have to do that. They can simply pass on their added costs to the consumer.  Regulation is supposed to stop gouging & profiteering though.

“However if you hit the end user and then use the tax to provide alternatives then you can cut into their profits and increase alternative jobs and alternative profits.”

Thats the idea & it will happen like that after 2 years. The cost of doing nothing will be too prohibitive in cost the longer we leave things & costs of living will simply spiral.


Everything I’ve heard about Kyoto signatories says that they basically exported dirty jobs and imported the resulting goods. Sans, Carbon Tax.  This doesn’t really green anything up.

I believe this is the kind of thing troydonscott has been eluding to with his comments about exporting Fracking jobs to say, Mexico.

“Did they Tax Exports and Imports?”

Yes & no to both. The explanation is a little obscure.

“Everything I’ve heard about Kyoto signatories says that they basically exported dirty jobs and imported the resulting goods. Sans, Carbon Tax.  This doesn’t really green anything up.”

That’s why it’s important for the high per capita, highly developed countries to make a move first. Our economies have benefited from fossil fuels the past 100 years & emerging economies are just starting to get going with it. Because of labour costs their (India, China, Bangladesh etc) have become the manufacturers of our goods. The emissions are still really ours, it’s just that the CO2 is released on another part of our planet to make the goods we require. Resulting in their countries having higher CO2 emissions than us.

We cannot turn around after 100 years of fossil fuel benefit & say, look China & India, there is this CO2 thing that is screwing things up, how about you cut your emissions, because they are higher than ours…….& in return, we will do nothing. Most of the CO2 in our atmosphere & oceans, plus the damage done already is from us in western countries. China & India will rightly give us the finger if we ask them to cut first.

We need to act & lead by example & they will come on board. By that time, economies of scale & the fact the joneses are buying up renewables, will mean it will be cheaper for emerging economies to go cleantech.

“I believe this is the kind of thing troydonscott has been eluding to with his comments about exporting Fracking jobs to say, Mexico.”

You could say the same about native forests. Why not cut down all of our forests, thus creating jobs & revenue for our economy, instead of allowing another country to benefit from  lopping down their forests & them enjoying the economic benefits from doing so?

It’s a false dichotomy. There are more choices.

Out of interest, Oilman, Troy & Rick. The Conservative Government in New Zealand were just re-elected.

Their carbon tax & green initiatives were so detrimental to their economy……that they not only decided to keep it….but expand it. It seems, there was no economic catastrophe like  right wingers prophesied.

“National’s environment and climate change policy will enable New Zealand to have a strong economy and a clean environment, Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key announced today.”

“National’s practical environmental plan will see cleaner rivers and lakes, more trees, more renewable electricity, cleaner air, better management of our oceans and more recycling.”

Mr Key says National will also continue to make sure New Zealand does its fair share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our climate change policies carefully balance the costs to households and businesses with the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“That is why we intend to slow the phasing in of the emissions trading scheme from 2013 to 2015, at which point we will look to align our scheme with that adopted by Australia. Any change to our emissions trading scheme will be fiscally neutral,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says a major focus for National in a second term will be protecting and managing activities in our oceans.

“We will pass new legislation on managing activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone and Extended Continental Shelf by 1 July 2012. We will also provide new legislation to update the Marine Reserves Act 1971 to extend the purpose of marine reserves, to allow them beyond the territorial sea and to improve the way they are created.”

National will also introduce a new Environmental Reporting Act in 2012 so there is greater transparency in how we match up to New Zealand’s clean, green brand.

“This will enable our lakes and rivers to be ranked from the cleanest to the dirtiest. It will help us prioritise our lake and river clean up programme and monitor progress.

“National has made solid progress in improving water management, delivering cleaner air and addressing climate change in our first three years. This policy builds on that and sets an ambitious work programme for the next three years,” says Mr Key.”

With no massive fossil fuel reserves, the N.Z Conservatives are following Conservative governments in Europe who have strong climate change policies. Freed from bribe money & war chest money, Conservative parties like N.Z are free…… conserve.

green energy if it works is fine. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just doesn’t. People got  all excited about corn ethanol - bad idea. Solar panels often underperform for various reasons. Wind turbines are often abandoned because the ongoing maintenance isn’t worth doing.

so sure lets go green, but lets not go broke

Just the way I see it is that no matter what they threaten to fine someone the big corporation will recoup the tax. The problem is if you tax them $10.00 it will end up being $20.00 by the time the end user gets it. So the government gets $10.00 but now has to spend more to help the low-income people because they got taxed even higher. Tax the end user and use more of the money on green projects. May be tougher to get a popular vote but this takes more control away from the people that don’t need the control. I would not be against a carbon tax in the US but it must be done right. Problem here in the US is that the money will get thrown in the big pool. Maybe some gets used for good projects but over time it all gets diverted to other causes.  

thats going to be the problem. Government feels pressure from all directions to fund everything. Thats why they operate in the red all the time and thats why green pressure will be used as an excuse to grow funds to satisfy the hungry and ever growing beast.

Saying no to the demands doesn’t work for the politicians who want to keep their jobs.

I’d prefer to see a Carbon Tax that directed funds into ‘green’ projects.  However, the usual right wing arguement against this, is that it is just a money grab by the greens. (I’ll abide by that complaint.)

But the reality is that companies faced with big expenses because of a Carbon Tax can and will react.  They will do whatever they can to avoid losing money.  (For instance, oil companies fund anti-climate change derp.)

I’m a big believer in market forces making decisions, and in market efficiency.

Does that affect everyone.. absolutely.  Troy, you are often concerned about how this affects poor people.  The price to fix a high carbon world gets far higher the longer we wait.  In the grand scheme of things, I don’t see poor people being better off in the future judging by the direction we are headed now.  (The increasing gap between rich and poor…)

I feel that the longer we wait, the more ‘totalitarian’ our response will need to be.  Rick James is saying we need to do that now. Order all cars off roads…  (Not an insult Rick, and I likely took that out of context.)

Bill Gates has taken quite a stand on it.  I think he sees his efforts in the third world to be a zero sum effort if we can’t tackle Global Warming.  (I personally like what has to say about funding R&D… fund a 1000 projects and maybe you’ll get 4 or 5 good results.)

Innovating to Zero (Traveling Wave Nuclear Reactor)

Carbon Capture (Bill Gates Funded)

He’s also shot a sucker punch at Climate Change Deniers by getting Koch to fund BEST.

I’m sure you’re aware for decades, Fraud Singer’s career has been based upon taking money for lying about the science.

He, or rather SEPP was paid $143,000 for the NIPCC pack of lies. See part VII.

  What surprises you, that Fox misinfoms, or that Rick James thinks it’s just foxaphobia?

 And speaking of Murdock and misinformation on climate change, lets not forget the “Austrailian”,  another Murdock rag, which has inspired over 70 articles called  “The Australian’s War on Science”  by Tim Lambert over at Deltoid.


Fox is one of the networks that has provided balanced coverage on the climate issue. Just because there are two sides to this murky issue is no reason to shoot the messager. You are free to take there information and process it as you wish.

Also this just in, there is another release of cliamtegate e-mails today with more comments from warmist scientists whereby they express extreme doubt in AGW privately but publcially still tow the party line. Quick time for damage control as the truth leaks out some more.


Climagate 2.0 is upon us, just in time for Durban. This ougt to be interesting.

A note to those who insist on voting down posts conataining opinions they don’t like; I’m posting links to 2 websites that support the CAGW mantra. Please be kind!

I was forced to watch Fox North on Thanksgiving.

Its Canada’s version of Fox, with Ezra Levant.

I instantly took a dislike to it.

You may remember the Vancouver riots a short while back.  There was an Olympic hopeful caught participating in the mayhem.  He was the son of a prominent physician.  Everyone knows this.. its old news.  But dear Ezra’s coverage was;

“Who is that scumbag?”

“Why did that scumbag do that?”

“How can we get that scumbag”

This litany went on for about 5 minutes.  Reminding me of George Orwell’s 1984 and “5 minutes of hate”.

“participating in the mayhem”is pretty kind to this dopey kid. He was lighting a police car on fire. He was seriously endagering lives and destroying property…. because of a lost hockey game and and probably way too many drinks.

Sure Ezra is milking it, but there is reason for that. Many of these punks are getting away with an absolute discharge after doing serious damage. That’s not right.

I don’t feel this is personal or Ezra.

What fire is he stoking, and why?  For what purpose?

I trust our government to come to some sort of solution.  Yeah… I think think the guy is a scumbag.  But its not for me to pass some sort of judgement.  As with many things in life only those close to the matter and really understand it.  Is he a scumbag? Or is he off his meds?  How is hating him helpful?

Appearently it was two minutes hate (I read it before 1984);

Within the book, the purpose of the hate is said to satisfy the citizens’ subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a censored lifestyle.

Maybe Ezra is gathering together a lot of people who suffer from feelings of angst and hatred;


Facts exaggerated, conclusions are jumped to, journalist elevated to the rank of investigative reporter, even down right lies. Sounds surprisingly familiar doesn’t it.

Did they tape you eyelids open and bind you to a chair facing the TV. My self I don’t watch Fox News, don’t know enough about it to post anything good or bad. Yet on the other hand you were forced to watch for 5 minutes over Thanksgiving and you have become an expert at bashing them. Is the pattern sounding familiar? That is my relevance on the oil and gas industry. The experts can trump “scientific evidence” that comes from a reporter’s factual evidence. And when this happens you loose. So if you make statements just to just to follow the crowd then go for it. You will become a good leader among the followers. So what do actually react to Investigative reporting or opinion? You never answered my questions!

So is it investigative reporting or following the crowd? Besides if someone wants to watch a show that is his or her choice be it a good documentary or science fiction.

Yeah I bashed them.  I didn’t like what they had to offer.  It wasn’t like it was investigation or news, yet that’s what it was presented as.

Having followed that story in the news the only new thing I learned from the show was ‘Ezra Hates’.

Lastly… if you read back, you’ll note that I take ownership of my own thoughts. I think, I feel, I saw.  These are fact..  I’m sharing.  If you don’t like it, I don’t care.  If you like Ezra… great for you.  Share.  I don’t care.

Maybe you should repost your questions instead of going off all half cocked with verbal diarrhea about it.  Hmm?  Let us all in on your little secret.

No secret about it just that we have a local oilman on board I thought you might be able to clarify why.

For instance “Drilling pressures have increase 13,000 psi. Can you explain without bile fluids coming from your mouth?

How about it takes several times longer to drill a horizontal well than a vertical.

Or maybe that a resident expert scientist states that they have know way of knowing how far the fractures extend when they frac a well.

Or maybe that KBR hired 15,000 mercenaries to go to Iraq.

Just them questions. Pretty simple for the resident expert. No bile fluids please.  

So you are still moving ahead with debunking your own fantasy.  Let me assure you and save you some time. (Again.)  I am not an expert on oil wells.

Drilling pressures have not increased to 13,000 psi.  The wells I was on were all under 5000psi and vertical.  Why you need to know this, is beyond me.  And no… I didn’t keep the logs.