May 25th, 2012
04:46 PM ET

Facts and Fiction: how one survey was reported in the media

How many times has a headline caught your eye, only to read the article and find out it isn’t quite what that catchy phrase described?

It’s no surprise that liberal commentators might jump on a survey that portrayed Fox News viewers as ignorant. Headlines proclaimed “Watching Fox News makes you dumber” and loyal Fox viewers slammed the survey saying it was biased and unscientific.

But is that really what the survey found? A survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll looked at popular news sources and how informed their audiences are. Dan Cassino, professor of political science at the university and director of experimental research, says the findings have been distorted and manipulated by the media. Ironically, he says, this kind of proves the point of the survey.

The survey found, says Cassino, that hard news is not being explained properly or given enough context. Cassino believes the findings confirm that reporters and anchors are quick to jump to “sexy” headlines and opinions, rather than delve into the intricacies of hard news.

“People gloaming onto the sexiest way they can show it,” Cassino says of much media coverage. “Hard news, stuff that’s hard to explain, we’re just not explaining.”

He says is that there is no evidence that watching Fox News makes you dumber. But what the study did find, in statistically significant numbers, is that watching Fox News means you are less informed about current events than if you watched no news. But the findings are complicated.

The survey found that all ideologically slanted opinion TV shows have a “negative impact on people’s current events knowledge,” not just Fox News. Whereas Sunday morning political talk shows, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and NPR have the most informed audiences.

Cassino acknowledges that knowledge of current events is not just determined by what news you watch, but by personal ideology, education, age and gender. Thus the results of the survey can be self-selecting. Cassino argues that prime time shows on cable networks like “The O’Reilly Factor” are opinion reporting and often provide the least amount of informational context. But, Cassino says, that’s what these viewers want.

Cassino says he’s been disappointed by reporters calling him up to talk about the survey but ultimately not really understanding the intricacies of the findings.

“The results that get publicized have little to do with the results of the survey,” says Cassino. “There is a bias towards sensationalism. They are trying to find the biggest sexiest story that will make a flash, even if that means distorting the news.”

Posted by
Filed under: Bias • Blog • Fox News • Media • Media Criticism • MSNBC • Reliable Sources
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Apostas Esportivas

    Quem entende de casino e apostas https://blogdeapostas.com o que pode dizer sobre este portal? Eles sempre publicam bons comentários sobre o jogo e dar bônus, eu posso confiar neles?

    June 16, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  2. 5 Sex Position​s You Need to T​ry If Your Part​ner Has a Long ​Penis

    Probably an exchange place, have a wander down the streets. Make sure the rate they display is the rate you will actually get, often they claim the posted rate is ...

    August 7, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  3. Karoline Birrueta

    That is the best search engine in the world


    April 15, 2017 at 9:11 am | Reply
  4. donnahot

    Thanks , I have recently been searching for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I've discovered so far. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the supply?|What i don't realize is if truth be told how you're now not really a lot more neatly-preferred than you may be now. You're so intelligent.

    July 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
    • Tonie

      Jim I had commented on your new cevatire style for your comics recently and altho I tend to like your old stuff better (less busy) I have to mention what the new ones remind me of/you have to see it: A 2006 animation-over-motion-picture movie that uses similar visual technology. It's called A SCANNER DARKLY, starring Winona Rider, Robert Downey Jr, Keanu Reeves, & Rori Cochrane. It's labeled as a Sci-Fi and the plot is described as an LA undercover narcotics agent/cop's double life as a drug user becomes dangerous, and it is totally bizarre. If you haven't seen it, Jim, you have to rent it; it's also playing now on cable station HBOZON, an HBO extention channel.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:49 am | Reply
  5. escuchar musica gratis

    I just like the valuable information you supply for your articles. I'll bookmark your weblog and test again right here regularly. I am reasonably sure I will be informed plenty of new stuff proper right here! Best of luck for the following!

    July 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  6. kirstenx

    Fantastic items from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I actually like what you have received here, really like what you are stating and the way through which you assert it. You're making it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a great website.

    July 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • Muhammad

      Hi Randa. I just filled out the seuvry form. Had to do it twice (by clearing out the cookies in my browser), because the first time it submitted the form when I pressed Enter to type a new line. Why don't you use a textarea field instead of the tall input field that's getting confused as a textarea? This way people can press enter to type a long answer on multiple lines. Also, you should consider having a wrapping text in your textareas in the seuvry.Also, was wondering how come you're not asking your readers to provide links to their websites/blogs?Great idea to get to know your readers better. I should come up with smth similar on my blog.P.S. Now I see why David's comment is showing up with my avatar looked so weird when I first saw it here.

      September 9, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
  7. Il est possible de trouver de nombreux produits, pilules et potions sur le marché qui promettent de vous faire perdre du poids rapidement. Le problème est qu’en réalité la plupart de ces produits ne fonctionnent pas et certain n’ont même pas ét

    Fantastic issues altogether, you simply gained a new reader. What might you recommend about your put up that you just made a few days in the past? Any certain?

    July 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  8. quick diet

    You can definitely see your expertise in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

    July 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Reply
    • Gennadiy

      I've done it! You'll know mine for its distinctive (perhaps) lack of caatlptizaiion. (Sadly not in evidence here. Sigh.) I love the show and have linked from my blog to this site. Hope to hear you sing again, as you have a lovely voice. And thanks so much for the theater episode. It was great!

      September 12, 2012 at 12:21 am | Reply
  9. Search Engine Optimization

    Wonderful work! This is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the net. Disgrace on the search engines for no longer positioning this publish upper! Come on over and seek advice from my site . Thanks =)

    July 14, 2012 at 3:19 am | Reply
  10. Television Service Manuals

    Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few % to force the message house a little bit, however instead of that, that is wonderful blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

    July 14, 2012 at 1:23 am | Reply
    • Raushan

      Long time reader and ademrir of what you do.Vivien at Inspirationbit recently asked me a few questions, which tell a little more about me, and I've linked to her kind blog post through my name.Nice idea to ask lurkers to comment. I know quite a lot of my subscribers, but I'd love to get to know those who haven't yet introduced themselves.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply

Leave a Reply to 5 Sex Position​s You Need to T​ry If Your Part​ner Has a Long ​Penis


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.