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Vector: The Reverend Professor Tim
Link: http://www.sunspot.net/entertainment/tv/bal-to.fox04oct04,0,2319202.story?coll=bal-artslife-tv

Study Hits War Views Held by Fox Fans
Baltimore Sun - October 4, 2003
By David Folkenflik Sun Staff

Heavy viewers of the Fox News Channel are nearly four
times as likely to hold demonstrably untrue positions
about the war in Iraq as media consumers who rely on
National Public Radio or the Public Broadcasting
System, according to a study released this week by a
research center affiliated with the University of
Maryland's School of Public Affairs. "When evidence
surfaces that a significant portion of the public has
just got a hole in the picture ... this is a potential
problem in the way democracy functions," says Clay
Ramsay, research director for the Washington-based
Program on International Policy Attitudes, which
studies foreign-policy issues.

Fox News officials did not return repeated requests
yesterday for comment on the study.

Funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation, the study
was conducted from June through September. It surveyed 3,334 Americans who
receive their news from a single media source. Each was questioned about
whether he held any of the following three beliefs, characterized by the
center as "egregious misperceptions":

* Saddam Hussein has been directly linked with the
Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

* Weapons of mass destruction have already been found
in Iraq.

* World opinion favored the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

To date, as measured by government reports and
accepted public surveys, each of those propositions is
false, according to the center. The Bush
administration has argued that evidence will be found
of the weapons in Iraq as will direct links between
Saddam and the al-Qaida members who planned the 9/11
attacks. But President Bush has been forced to
acknowledge that no such proof has surfaced.

Sixty percent of all respondents believed in at least
one of the statements. But there were clear
differences in perceptions among devotees of the
various media outlets.

Twenty-three percent of those who get their news from
NPR or PBS believed in at least one of the mistaken
claims. In contrast, 80 percent of Fox News viewers
held at least one of the three incorrect beliefs.

Among broadcast network viewers there also were
differences. Seventy-one percent of those who relied
on CBS for news held a false impression, as did 61
percent of ABC's audience and 55 percent of NBC
viewers. Fifty-five percent of CNN viewers and 47
percent of Americans who rely on the print media as
their primary source of information also held at least
one misperception.

The three evening network news shows command the
largest audiences, together typically reaching between
25 million and 30 million viewers nightly. But Fox
News, the top-rated cable-news outlet, has steadily
increased its viewership by offering a blend of hard
news and opinionated talk that often takes on a
patriotic sheen. Its top show draws more than 2
million viewers nightly.

"Among those who primarily watch Fox, those who pay
more attention are more likely to have
misperceptions," the report concludes. "Only those who
mostly get their news from print media have fewer misperceptions as they pay
more attention."

The PIPA study suggests a strong link between people's understanding of the
news and its source. That link held true throughout different demographic
segments, such as those based on education level, viewing habits, and
partisan leanings, Ramsay said.

"It proves that what we're doing is great journalism,"
says NPR spokeswoman Laura Gross. "We're telling the
truth and we let our audience decide."

More information on the study can be found at www. pipa.org


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 12th, 2003 07:08 am (UTC)
Re: "American People Ruled Unfit To Govern"
"It doesn't really change anything, to be honest," said Duke University political-science professor Benjamin St. James. "The public hasn't made any real contributions to the governance of the country in decades, so I don't see how this ruling affects all that much."

I get all my news from The Onion, and it's usually more accurate than I'd like.

Disturbingly accurate.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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