A recent study by Fairleigh Dickinson University, known as the PublicMind poll, found that some news leaves people knowing less.
The most revealing highlights of this study were the comparisons made between Fox news viewers and those who don’t watch any news at all.
Fox news viewers were 18 points less likely than those who don’t watch any news at all to know that the people of Egypt overthrew their corrupt Government, and 6 points less likely to know that the people of Syria were not yet successful in overthrowing their corrupt Government.
Dan Cassino, political science professor, and one of the analysts for this PublicMind poll, “Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News. Rather, 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.”
What is it about watching Fox news that grossly misinforms its viewers?
Simply put, Fox “frames” facts! Here is a brief summary of this framing effect.
– According to the Fox news network, Liberals are taking money away from hard-working Americans through “tax and spend” policies, and are using the revenues to support “wasteful Government programs” (EPA, FDA, Dept. of Energy) and giving free stuff to “welfare recipients” who don’t deserve it! Liberals are also bankrupting our country through funding of “entitlement programs” (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid).
In reality, here are the facts!
Conservative politicians are taking money away from hard-working Americans by favoring a tax policy that continues to lower taxes on the top 1% (while increasing the burden on the bottom 99%)
The revenues generated are going straight to the top 1%, since this elite group now enjoys an historic low 35% tax rate, as opposed to the average rate of more than double this figure throughout the 20th century.
The Environmental protection agency (EPA) and other Government agencies are being “framed” as wasteful, since keeping our air clean to breathe and our water safe to drink is cutting into the profits made by this elite group.
As far as giving free stuff to those who don’t deserve it, billions of taxpayer dollars are given to corporate jet owners, and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are given to dirty energy (oil, coal, gas) companies that don’t need them!
We are not going bankrupt because of providing health care to sick and elderly people in need. We have a massive deficit because we have continuously lowered the top tax rate on millionaires and billionaires, and because of two unfunded wars president Bush decided to “frame” as necessary to bring freedom to the Middle East.
In the end, there is something about watching Fox news.
Fox is the poster child for the common “frames” being generated by right-wing think tanks and language experts that are used to convince us of an ideology that appears to make sense, but one that is detrimental to our health and well being, as well as our intellect!
As this study shows, such deliberate misinformation by Fox news stands in direct contrast to those who listen to NPR (non-profit radio station), or read the New York Times, for instance, and the best informed people were those who watched Sunday morning news programs.
According to Dan Cassino, “the real finding is that the results depend on what media sources people turn to for their news.”
Bottom line: We have a choice. We can continue to be victims of the Fox news framing effect, or we could actually learn something about our country and the world from watching Sunday morning news, listening to NPR, or reading the New York Times.