The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has a new survey out that’s worth a few minutes. Highlights:
Since the late 1980s, the emergence of 24-hour cable news as a dominant news source and the explosive growth of the internet have led to major changes in the American public’s news habits. But a new nationwide survey finds that the coaxial and digital revolutions and attendant changes in news audience behaviors have had little impact on how much Americans know about national and international affairs. […]
Attention to the news is strongly associated with knowledge levels, but some news audiences know considerably more than others. Overall, 35% of the public was classified as having a high level of knowledge – on average, 18 correct answers out of the 23 total questions. Half or more of the audiences for six media sources scored this high: the comedy news shows and major newspaper websites (54% in the high knowledge group), the NewsHour (53%), National Public Radio (51%) and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show (50%). Regular readers of news magazines were not far behind (48%).
By contrast, the regular audiences for many other sources scored no higher than the sample average. The audiences for morning news (34% high knowledge), local TV news (35%), Fox News Channel (35%), blogs (37%), and the network evening news (38%) were not significantly different from the norm for the whole sample (35%). The audiences for CNN, internet news sites such as Google and Yahoo, local newspapers, and TV news organization websites scored slightly higher (41%-44% high knowledge).
Rush Limbaugh, Jon Stewart, take a bow.