Fairleigh Dickinson University recently questioned 612 adults in New Jersey about how they get their news, offering as options traditional outlets like newspapers and local and national television news, or blogs, websites and even Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
They then asked a series of factual questions about the major events of the last year, from the “Arab Spring” to the Republican race for president.
For example, respondents were first asked whether, opposition groups in Egypt had been successful in bringing down the Mubarak regime.
Among NPR listeners, 68% correctly said they had been; only 49% of Fox News viewers answered correctly.
In fact, the survey found, Fox viewers were 18 percentage points less likely to answer correctly than those who watched no news at all.
“The results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all,” said Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Those who watched Sunday public affairs shows tended to be the best informed on current events, the survey found. Readers of national newspapers also were more likely to respond correctly.