Jon Stewart discussed the controversy over his recent statement that Fox viewers are, “The most consistently misinformed media viewers.” It turns out that Jon Stewart was not one hundred percent accurate if you use the bizarre interpretation of this statement used by PolitiFact to claim this is not true.
While PolitFact has done a lot of good work to debunk Fox lies (some of which are demonstrated in the video above), they ignored the types of facts which Stewart was referring to and appeared to be unaware of several of the polls which back up Jon Stewart. Sometimes fact checking organizations appear to try to put out an occasional report attempting to show inaccuracies from the left to balance the far more frequent reports which often show outright lies from the right in order to look objective.
As Chris Mooney explains in greater detail, the criticism of Fox raised by Stewart, and measured in the polls he was referring to, is based upon politicized, contested issues:
What Stewart obviously meant—and what I mean—is that when it comes to politicized, contested issues where the facts have been made murky due to political biases, it is Fox viewers who are the most likely to believe incorrect things—to fall prey to misinformation. A quintessential example of such an issue is global warming, or whether Saddam Hussein’s Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or was collaborating with Al Qaeda. There are many, many others.
PolitiFact, ignoring the many polls which showed that Fox viewers are misinformed on such issues, looked at matters of general knowledge such as, “who the vice president is, who the president of Russia is, whether the Chief Justice is conservative, which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives and whether the U.S. has a trade deficit.” In cases such as this, people who watched no news at all wound up being even more misinformed than Fox viewers, which is hardly a surprise. I’m sure Fox viewers are more likely than someone who watches no news at all to know who the vice president is. The problem is that any “news” reports from Fox are likely to be biased in a positive manner when the vice president is a Republican and in a negative manner when a Democrat is a vice president.
In conclusion, if we are looking at basic information, then Fox viewers are only the second most misinformed. They are not dumb as a rock, but come pretty close. If we are looking at politicized issues, which there is no doubt Stewart was talking about, multiple polls show that Fox viewers are the most misinformed.