PolitiFact Agrees With NewsBusters: Stewart's Claim About 'Misinformed' Fox Viewers 'False'
There are certainly going to be a lot of very disappointed Jon Stewart fans when they hear the fact-checking folks over at PolitiFact found their hero to have been false when he accused Fox News watchers of being "the most consistently misinformed media viewers."
Before we get there, here's what NewsBusters' Rich Noyes wrote on this subject just hours ago:
In his June 19 appearance on Fox News Sunday, Comedy Central's Daily Show host Jon Stewart fiercely denounced the Fox News Channel as uniquely biased, and slammed those who watch Fox News as "the most consistently misinformed media viewers....Consistently -- every poll."
Unfortunately for Stewart, he was relying on a methodologically-flawed survey from the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) that in December trumpeted how "those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe...." and then listed a series of supposedly false statements.
PolitiFact strongly agreed with Noyes:
[W]e have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets -- such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks -- often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows -- such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show -- actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.
Meanwhile, the other set of knowledge surveys, from worldpublicopinion.org, offer mixed support for Stewart. The 2003 survey strikes us as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has been critiqued for its methodology.
The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are "consistently" misinformed -- a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that "every poll" shows that result. So we rate his claim False.
You can almost hear the weeping from all of America's Stewart-loving media, can't you?