Apr 092012
 

Alternet has an interesting read up, from a book by Chris Mooney, entitled The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality. It goes in depth on last years remark by Jon Stewart that Fox News’ viewers are consistently the most misinformed news viewers in the US, during an interview w/Chris Wallace on Faux.

The dipshits at Politifact almost immediately came out with a statement claiming that Stewart was flat wrong. Even when plenty of sources came to Stewart’s defense, Politifact refused to correct or change their decree.

Now, enter Chris Mooney and seven studies that he cites in the Alternet article that back up Stewart’s remark that rightwing nutters, who rely on Faux for their news and information, are idiots (my word not Stewart’s). Six of the studies were available when Politifact wrote their stupid counter to Jon Stewart’s remark. From Mooney’s Alternet piece:

Based upon my research, I have located seven separate studies that support Stewart’s claim about Fox, and none that undermine it. Six of these studies were available at the time that PolitiFact took on Stewart; one of them is newer.

The studies all take a similar form: These are public opinion surveys that ask citizens about their beliefs on factual but contested issues, and also about their media habits. Inevitably, some significant percentage of citizens are found to be misinformed about the facts, and in a politicized way—but not only that. The surveys also find that those who watch Fox are more likely to be misinformed, their views of reality skewed in a right-wing direction. In some cases, the studies even show that watching more Fox makes the misinformation problem worse.

Politifact used only two polls/studies to make their assertion that Stewart was wrong.

Mooney explains how he collected his group of polls/studies this way:

The studies all take a similar form: These are public opinion surveys that ask citizens about their beliefs on factual but contested issues, and also about their media habits. Inevitably, some significant percentage of citizens are found to be misinformed about the facts, and in a politicized way—but not only that. The surveys also find that those who watch Fox are more likely to be misinformed, their views of reality skewed in a right-wing direction. In some cases, the studies even show that watching more Fox makes the misinformation problem worse.

For me, the important phrase in the above paragraph is this: The surveys also find that those who watch Fox are more likely to be misinformed, their views of reality skewed in a right-wing direction.

The authors of Mooney’s polls should also be important. He uses polls taken by The University of Maryland, Stanford University and Ohio State University..three well respected educational facilities that seek the truth and teach our youth.

Chris Mooney also points out that Stewart was talking about “political misinformation“, a fact that Politifact ignores and is very important to the discussion.

As I have said before, misinformation is far more heinous and damaging than being uninformed, as misinformed individuals continue to pass on the bullshit to others, generating even more misinformed people among us. From Mooney’s piece:

Misinformation is by far the bigger torpedo to our national conversation, and to any hope of a functional politics. “It’s one thing to be not informed,” explains David Barker, a political scientist at the University of Pittsburgh who has studied conservative talk-radio listeners and Fox viewers. “It’s another thing to be misinformed, where you’re confident in your incorrectness. That’s the thing that’s really more problematic, democratically speaking—because if you’re confidently wrong, you’re influencing people.”

No one passes on more ignorant, viral emails than rightwing nutjobs. No One. I am sure some, if not all, of my readers know what I mean as I get them constantly from the few rightwing nutters I still talk to. Their emails never contain the sources of their misinformation, they just pass the shit on as facts. If they do contain the source..its never a valid one.

Yet, when my left of center friends and I email information back and forth and have thought-provoking email discussions, we always provide links to where we got the information, so as to further the discussion usually, if not to get opinions that might slightly differ after others read the same article or watch the same video.

We on the left do not always see or read something and come to the exact same conclusion. We generally agree, but I can always count on a few individuals taking the same information and putting a slightly different spin on it, or…others will provide a link to a completely different writeup that comes to a totally different conclusion on the same topic or issue. That’s what makes our email discussions interesting and enlightening for me.

But the nutters on the right never do any of the above..they just keep passing the same stupid email around and agreeing with it.

The rest of the Alternet writeup is a good read too..I highly suggest you check it out as Mooney spends a lot of time and effort making his case about the ignorance quotient of those on the right who get all their news and information from Fox Noise. Another quote from the writeup, that summarizes Mooney’s pov on why the Fox News viewers are morons to the max:

In summary, then, the “science” of Fox News clearly shows that its viewers are more misinformed than the viewers of other stations, and are indeed this way for ideological reasons. But these are not necessarily the reasons that liberals may assume. Instead, the Fox “effect” probably occurs both because the station churns out falsehoods that conservatives readily accept—falsehoods that may even seem convincing to some liberals on occasion—but also because conservatives are overwhelmingly inclined to choose to watch Fox to begin with.

At the same time, it’s important to note that they’re also disinclined to watch anything else. Fox keeps constantly in their minds the idea that the rest of the media are “biased” against them, and conservatives duly respond by saying other media aren’t worth watching—it’s just a pack of lies. According to Public Policy Polling’s annual TV News Trust Poll (the 2011 run), 72 percent of conservatives say they trust Fox News, but they also say they strongly distrust NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN. Liberals and moderates, in contrast, trust all of these outlets more than they distrust them (though they distrust Fox). This, too, suggests conservative selective exposure.

I know that I get my news and information from a shitload of sites, organizations and tv channels.

Fox News viewers on the other hand..just continue to tune into the rightwing nuttery factory that is Fox News…which again points to why they are so fucking misinformed...they do not seek out the truth..they merely seek out agreement with how they view the world and what is going on in it.

Dusty

I am a..brown Cali bitch that is quite the opinionated,political, pain-in-the-ass, in your face kinda girl that also loves baseball and music to a fault. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.--Albert Einstein-*

  7 Responses to “Why Politifact was wrong and Jon Stewart was right: Fox News viewers are idiots.”

  1. When you say factchuck, that’s when I reach for my revolver…

    By which I mean that all these media-funded (and thus, plutocrat-funded) b.s. sites rely on Broderism: a.k.a. halfway between some horrible Republican idea and the craven Democratic compromise with same lies the truth.

    (I don’t actually own a revolver.)
    ~

  2. When you say factchuck, that’s when I reach for my revolver…

    Naughty Thunder provides no link!

    I’d characterize Fox viewers as malinformed- the misinformation is even worse than typical distortions because it’s meant to keep them scared, stupid, and mistrusting. The fancy term for this untethering from reality is epistemic closure.

    • Mal-informed; I like it.

      The tidbit from Mooney ( As an atheist, I never much cared for him.) that really struck me about FactCheck was that they admitted that, while Stewart was quoting a research study correctly, they decided to ding HIM because they “disagreed” with the polling parameters used, nevermind that there were 5 other studies that also agreed with his premise. FactCheck is dishonestly mining for “He said, She said” bullshit, to show just how great and above it all they are.

  3. I believe Mr. Stewart apologized for the statement. I was prepared to perhaps debate the finding, even though I know from anecdotal experience that FOX viewers are not the brightest among us. However, I read the article and it is pretty damning (if you buy into studies as a form of proof).

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