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Politifact Refutes Stewart’s Claim that Fox Viewers Are ‘Consistently Misinformed’

When he appeared on Fox News Sunday this past week, one of the things Jon Stewart went out of his way to emphasize was that those who watched Fox were “the most consistently misinformed [. . .] viewers” of any of the major news networks. Politifact evaluated the statement by copiously documenting numerous studies of the past few years, most of which say that this simply isn’t the case:

So we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets — such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks — often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows — such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show — actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.

Fox viewers even beat Daily Show ones! And from these interviews of people attending the “Rally to Restore Sanity,” I can see why. Politifact concludes:

The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are “consistently” misinformed — a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that “every poll” shows that result. So we rate his claim False.

Nat Brown is a former deputy web editor of Foreign Affairs and a former deputy managing editor of National Review Online.

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