The More you Watch, the Less You Know
Americans who watch Fox Cable News are more likely to hold at least one of three major misconceptions about the Iraq war, according to a major poll done by the Program on International Policy Attitudes of the University of Maryland in College Park, and the polling firm, Knowledge Networks based in Menlo Park, Calif. The misconceptions are that Saddam had anything to do with September 11; that the US has found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and that the Iraq War was generally supported by other countries besides the US.
Some 80% of respondents who said they mainly watched Fox News believed at least one of these three falsehoods. Likewise, 71% of those who mainly got their news from CBS believed at least one. (So much for the big supposed differences between Fox and the “mainstream” “liberal” press).
Only 23% of those who said they mainly got their news from National Public Radio and Public Television believed at least one of the three misperceptions. About 47% of those who depended mainly on newspapers did.
Of course, it is not just a matter of what the media were reporting. It is also an issue of how the audience responded. My guess is that the audience for NPR and PBS just tends to be highly educated and/or well off, and that what the statistic really tells us is that the US upper middle classes had a good idea of what was going on.