Is Jon Stewart Correct that Fox News Viewers Are "the most consistently misinformed media viewers"?


No, says Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning site that checks statements by pols, media folks, and whatnot (note: Politifact is itself sometimes as full of shit as Daily Show Stewart is this time around).

On June 19, Stewart appeared on Fox News and socratized anchor Chris Wallace thusly:

"Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?" Stewart asked Wallace. "The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll."

Yet, Politifact notes that in a 2007 Pew study of political knowledge, viewers of Fox scored 35 percent, a "score [that] places it exactly at the national average." A 2008 version of the study found overall Fox viewers around the national average for other news outlets. But then there's this:

…particular Fox shows scored well above the average. Hannity & Colmes was one of only four choices to exceed 40 percent—the others were the New Yorker/the Atlantic, NPR and MSNBC's Hardball — while The O'Reilly Factor scored 28 percent, or 10 points above the national average. (Hannity & Colmes even exceeded Stewart's Daily Show in this poll, 42 percent to 30 percent.)

In all, this poll undercuts Stewart's position even more than the 2007 poll did.

And in 2010, Fox viewers again hit the national average but 

Fox actually scored better than its two direct cable-news rivals—MSNBC, which is a liberal counterpoint to Fox, and CNN, which is considered more middle-of-the-road. Also scoring lower than Fox were local television news, the evening network news shows and the network morning shows.

And for the third time, particular Fox shows scored well. Hannity ranked fifth (just ahead of MSNBC's liberal shows hosted by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow) and O'Reilly ranked ninth. For the first time, Pew included Glenn Beck in its rankings, and the Fox host finished 12th—slightly ahead of Stewart's own Daily Show.

How about that? Glenn Beck viewers more informed than Daily Show watchers? Hannity zombies sharper than Olbermann and Maddow drones? What a world of wonders! As the great band The Godfathers once put it: Things ain't what they seem to be/Cary Grant's on LSD. Mmm, LSD…

Whole thing here.

I enjoy The Daily Show and its brother show, The Colbert Report (million-dollar idea: given that Stephen Colbert is the Tony Randall of my generation, howze about he and Stewart teaming up in a remake of The Odd Couple already?). But for any of you who doubt that every show on earth is largely watched by folks who really don't know very much, well, watch our coverage of last year's Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear: