Fox News Viewers Misinformed About Global Warming (And Lots More)

  • Published on December 19th, 2010

Why do we have commenters here at Red Green & Blue saying things like, “Most scientists don’t believe in climate change”?
Because Fox News misinforms the public.

A new study from the University of Maryland (PDF) found that while in general folks who watched news were better informed about issues, there was an exception:

“…they found that regular viewers of the Fox News Channel, which tilts to the right in prime time, were significantly more likely to believe untruths about the Democratic health care overhaul, climate change and other subjects.”

What kind of other subjects? Regular Fox News viewers were:

  • 31 points more likely to mistakenly believe that “most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit”
  • 30 points more likely to mistakenly believe that “most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring”
  • 14 points more likely to mistakenly believe that “the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts”
  • 13 points more likely to mistakenly believe “the auto bailout only occurred under Obama;”
  • 12 points more likely to mistakenly believe that “when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it”
  • 31 points more likely to mistakenly believe that “it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States”

And how did Fox News respond to this critique of the way it is misleading a vast swath of the American public?

In a statement, Michael Clemente, who is the senior vice president of news editorial for the network, said: “The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having ‘Students Who Study The Least’ and being the ‘Best Party School’ – given these fine academic distinctions, we’ll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was ‘researched’ with.”

Nice. Don’t address the issue, but attack the messenger. And in trademark Fox News style, too – do it with lies!

As the New York Times Mediacoder blog pointed out,

For the record, the Princeton Review says the University of Maryland ranks among the “Best Northeastern Colleges.” It was No. 19 on the Review’s list of “Best Party Schools.”

Thanks for calling them out on that one.

(Fox News cartoon image from The Simpsons, © Fox Television via The Smoking Gun)

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.