People who watch no news at all can answer more questions about international current events than people who watch cable news, a survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds.
“NPR and Sunday morning political talk shows are the most informative news outlets, while exposure to partisan sources, such as Fox News and MSNBC, has a negative impact on people’s current events knowledge.”
People who watch MSNBC and CNN exclusively can answer more questions about domestic events than people who watch no news at all. People who only watch Fox did much worse. NPR listeners answered more questions correctly than people in any other category.
The survey of 1185 random people conducted by landline and cell phone in early February follows a similar poll FDU conducted last November, which surveyed only New Jersey residents and returned similar results.
Each respondent was asked four of eight questions, which are at the bottom of this post. “On average, people were able to answer correctly 1.8 of 4 questions about international news, and 1.6 of 5 questions about domestic affairs,” the report says. Here’s the breakdown by viewing habits.
The report explains:
“The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. On the other hand, if they listened only to NPR, they would be expected to answer 1.51 questions correctly; viewers of Sunday morning talk shows fare similarly well. And people watching only The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could answer about 1.42 questions correctly”