James’s Musings

thoughts, photography, and geeky stuff
from an unrelentingly curious Silicon Valley entrepreneur

Does Fox News Kill Brain Cells?

by James G. Beldock on July 8, 2006

Just back from this weekend’s Socrates Society gath­er­ing at the Aspen Institute, where I had the plea­sure of par­tic­i­pat­ing in for­mer FCC Chairman, and fel­low Crown Fellow, Michael K. Powell’s sem­i­nar “Media and our Values.” It was an en­light­en­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and chal­lenged most of my as­sump­tions about how I think about me­dia.

During the sem­i­nar, I men­tioned a study I re­called which pur­port­ed to find strik­ing dif­fer­ences amongst the fac­tu­al re­call of the view­ers of dif­fer­ent news net­works. I had a bit of a rough time with the facts (or, more ac­cu­rat­ley, my mem­o­ry of the facts), un­til I found the study. Here it is:

The study was pub­lished in Political Science Quarterly by PIPA (the Program on International Policy Attitudes) and per­formed by Knowledge Networks. It has some pro­found im­pli­ca­tions for the way we all think about our news me­dia.

First, it ex­plains at great length how Americans al­lowed them­selves to be gross­ly mis­in­formed about the Iraq War. This is old news (but per­haps wasn’t at the time of the study). 

However, the more trou­bling and most strik­ing num­bers in the study are in a ta­ble (Table 4, on page 582):

The num­bers are qual­i­ta­tive­ly con­sis­tent with what I said in sem­i­nar, but not quan­ti­ta­tive­ly: NPR/PBS lis­ten­ers were 77% like­ly not to have mis­per­cep­tions; Fox view­ers were 20% (I had quot­ed 63% and 37%, re­spec­tive­ly). Also, to Morgan

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: