Study Proves – Watching CNN and MSNBC Makes You Stupid! * [Reader Post]

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* Actually, there isn’t one.

This is another one of those subjects I wanted to write about a few months ago but it fell on my back burner. Every so often we see some new study that “proves” that Fox News viewers are stupid. The latest one that came out a few weeks ago proved that your average Fox News viewer has an average IQ of 80. PJ Media’s Charlie Martin proceeded to dissect this study, first by contacting its author. The author didn’t give a full name, worked for some fictitious organization, used a bizarre methodology, and could not reveal who had commissioned the study nor is he going to release the study’s actual results. You can read both sides’ arguments in the two links above.

The study that caught my interest initially was the subject of an article by Ben Adler over at The Nation last May that was an entertaining read to say the least. It starts off by saying that the people over at “Fox News think they are despised by real journalists only because they are conservative and most journalists are liberal.” He then states that this is nonsense and proceeds to inform us that this is accuse their viewers are uninformed, as evidenced by a study done over at Fairleigh Dickenson Univeristy. Adler follows up by sharing some of the conclusions, and out of curiosity I did something radical and extremist – I looked at the study itself to see the source data behind these conclusions.

Naturally, Fox News viewers fared the worst. But then I looked closer at the breakdowns – the two lowest scoring groups were “Democrats Who Watch Fox News” and “Republicans Who watch MSNBC”. That should have sent up some flags, as someone of one ideology who listens to opposing views is probably going to be better informed than his peers who don’t. My guess is that these were some yahoos who were messing with the poll, and I’d be curious to see what the results looked like if they were excluded (raw numbers for how many people were in each category weren’t included). When you look at the overall Democrat vs. Republican in general the results were unsurprising. The gap was a lot closer, with each side scoring a little bit higher in different areas. Democrats fared a little better with the foreign policy questions, as I would expect considering NPR’s overseas coverage is a lot better than that of Fox News, in my opinion. And the GOP subjects did better on domestic politics, also unsurprising since two of the questions were regarding the Republican primaries. Personally I don’t think the primary questions were good to use either, since they give a small advantage to Republicans who would be more likely to be following these events in the news.

And at the end of Adler’s post there are six other studies that further prove the ignorance of Fox News viewers. Here is how each of them reach that conclusion:

1) The first one is on Global Warming, and unfortunately Adler’s link no longer works, but I think that the study he references is here. Basically, your “intelligence” is determined whether or not you believe in a religious cult whose beliefs are are built on lies and are impervious to scientific methodology.

2) How well do you understand the Obamacare? The Kaiser Family Foundation found out. Democrats scored better, but that’s because some of the survey’s answers are just flat wrong. One question where the “correct” answer is a negative to the statement that Obamacare will “Allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare.” Obama getting embarrassed over that got that piece of language stripped out, but IPAB remains. Yes, I’m getting into semantics, but any panel that has the power to reject certain drugs or procedures that could be used by someone on Medicare fits this description. Another is that “Cut benefits that were previously provided to all people on Medicare”. I’d call cutting $700B from a program to fund Obamacare a cut. And spare me that it’s being “paid for” by lowering reimbursement to doctors. Lower pay means fewer doctors accepting patients, and longer waits with the ones who still will.

3) Next, MSNBC chimes in on Health Care: Here’s another way to look at the misinformation: In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.

The question on illegal immigrants was an interesting one, and had similar results in the Kaiser poll. To be honest I had no idea either way, and as much as I followed the debate I didn’t recall hearing anything way on this specific point. Does anyone else remember this? As for the government takeover? Check. That’s going to be the eventual outcome be as private insurers are regulated out of business. Of course, if you read how they worded the question above how do you survey people about predicting the future? And the abortion question? Planned Parenthood already gets taxpayer dollars, so it may not be a good question as to whether or not direct abortions are part of this bill. One other piece of the abortion question is getting a bit into semantics, but that’s why some drugs that businesses are being forced to cover are called “abortifacients”.

4) Ohio State chimes in that Fox News is spreading misinformation about the Ground Zero Mosque in New York and the people behind it.. You know, the facts behind the Ground Zero Mosque.

5) PIPA weighed in on the Iraq War, and I have to admit that the lefties have us on this one. The gist of the survey was around Iraq having ties to 9/11, WMD’s being found, whether or not Saddam had ties to Al-Queda and world perception. The only question I have a bone to pick with is the Al-Queda one, as some respondents might have mistaken it for ties terrorists in general, which Saddam certainly had. But aside from that I thought that of all of the surveys listed here this one had the best worded questions and details behind its methodology. I am surprised with this one’s results, as I watched Fox News back then quite a bit more than I do today and listened to Sean Hannity’s radio show (He has had a prime time show on Fox News for many years) during my then afternoon commute and don’t remember any of these misperceptions being preached, but the opinions are what they are.

Just so there’s no misunderstanding I still fully support taking out Saddam, but the reasons are too much of a tangent for this post. If you want to read in depth on the subject try Doug Feith’s book, or you can look here for a quicker summary. And no matter how good an argument one makes against the war, you’re never going to convince me that with everything else going on in the Middle East that Saddam still being around would be better, or that Iraq and Iran in a nuclear arms race would be a good idea.

6) World Public looked at misinformation around the 2010 election. They have an bone to pick with the Citizens United ruling – apparently Viacom, Disney, Comcast and the New York Times Corp. are the only corporations that are entitled to free speech. The first part of the survey is pretty useless, citing numbers of Americans who felt that they witnessed misinformation in ads prior to the election. I call this useless because my basic definition of misinformation is “An opinion expressed that you don’t agree with”, and yes this cuts across both sides of the aisle.What were the questions that the public got wrong? There were too many questions to address each one, but here are some highlights:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that by the third quarter of 2010, the stimulus legislation had increased the number of full-time equivalent jobs by between two and five million. Other economists concurred that it had a positive effect on growth for the economy. However, most voters did not seem to have this information.

That’s great, as we can see every job that the government “created”, but how many did they destroy? Any first year economics student knows that every dollar spent or borrowed is a dollar not used toward private consumption or investment. And which “Other economists” agreed on the positive effect? Data-challenged preachers like Paul Krugman? Forgive us for not joining you in celebrating the high unemployment, low growth, and soaring deficits we’ve enjoyed under the Obama Presidency.

The second question was regarding whether or not Obamacare would decrease the deficit. The CBO scored it as such, but the CBO is only allowed to score based on the data that was given to it by this administration. In the world of data analysis this is what’s referred to as “Garbage in, garbage out”. If you haven’t seen the government’s track record on social programs coming in under cost or think that the way to make a good cheaper is to have the government take it over I’m not sure what to tell you. Other than that I have the lease to a bridge in New York City I’d be willing to sell you…

Another question was whether or not voters understood that the economy was already in recovery. While the technically correct answer is “yes” by the definition of recovery, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth fueled by government overspending and borrowing is just a house of cards, as we are slowly and painfully seeing.

Next up is our old favorite, Climate Change! “Do you think that MOST SCIENTISTS believe that 1) Climate change is occurring (correct) 2) Views are evenly divided, or 3) Climate change is not occurring.” Whoever came up with this question must have slept through his Research Methods class, specifically the day question formulation was discussed. Of COURSE climate change is occurring, everybody knows that! But most of us prefer to use the old fashioned term for it known as “weather.” A better way to have phrased that question might have been, “Do you think that MOST SCIENTISTS believe that changes in the weather are almost completely man made and our only hope for salvation is the biggest regressive (paid disproportionately by the poor) tax in world history to fund a new regulatory agency.” I would actually like to see the results if that question were posed.

The auto bailouts – 28% knew it was under both presidents, 16% said Bush, while 53% said Obama. Who was responsible wasn’t as important as the fact that a politically connected group got our money to continue failed business models. It’s also why I will never again buy a GM or Chrysler car (I loved the Saturn that I had back in the 90s) – I already was forced to pay for the whole company. For that matter, after what’s happened in Michigan lately with the union thugs I might have to add Ford to the list. Or as @iowahawkblog tweeted, “Support America! Buy a Japanese car. #MIUnion”

Only 43% knew that the stimulus included tax cuts. Again, by the letter of this question this is true, but I don’t consider renewing the Bush tax cuts or one time tax credits targeted toward favored industries (cash for clunkers, anyone?) something I should be thanking the president for.

One more – on where President Obama was born. The survey claims that only 56% knew that the president was born in the US. Once again we have a survey formed by people who slept through their Reseach Methods class. The way the question was worded even my response would have come down on the pro-birther side, as would anyone else’s who did even the most rudimentary homework on the president’s background. No, I’m not a birther and all that I have to say on this subject is, “Thank you, Donald Trump.

While there were misinformed respondents everywhere, you’ve probably already guessed where the worst were – Fox News, of course!

So what do all of these studies tell us? Quite a bit, actually. Not about conservatives or Fox News viewers, but about the leftists who feel the need to continuously conduct these studies for their own self affirmation. I read a lot of conservative news sources, and I don’t recall seeing studies that tell us we’re more intelligent than those on the left. To make a broad generalization, I’d guess that if we surveyed every person from both ends of the spectrum I think we’d see more formal intelligence on the left and more common sense on the right. Say what you want about the lefties who will show you countless studies by buzzword compliant but experience deficient geniuses that prove things like how raising taxes will improve our economy and that our mounting debt doesn’t matter, but it takes some brain power to get an advanced degree and work in a highly specialized field. And for you lefties, you can laugh all you want at those knuckle dragging right wingers who watch Fox News and didn’t go to the same prestigious schools that you and your cohorts did, but it is also foolish to think that the only legitimate learning happens in the classroom. You can learn a great deal about the world and how to interpret events just by living your life and learning from what you see, and you can learn a great deal listening to what some people from this background have to say, like here, here, here, or here. The difference between the two sides is that conservatives don’t need an official study to reaffirm their judgment in the face of the cold facts behind a failed president and his failed economic policies.

I’m sure that in the next six to nine months we’ll see another study proving the mental superiority of the left, although it might be more constructive to study how the same people who howled about the terrible state of our economy from 2001 – 2008 can suddenly believe that a far worse economy is sign of presidential genius.

Who are you trying to convince, us or yourselves?

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

Blogging by the credo of "Making the world a more offensive place, one blog post at a time", Brother Bob started writing posts around the beginning of the Obama presidency over at Brother Bob's Blog. A born-again Existentialist and self-professed libertarian with conservative tendencies, he has ironically chosen to live in the Washington, DC area - deep behind enemy lines. He has always loved history, and spent eight years volunteering as a tour guide on weekends, giving over 200 tours to roughly 2,500 mostly foreign guests. His tours were highlighted by stories generally not found in the history books or most other tours, such as the importance of the Battle if Antietam, the origins or Arlington Cemetery, and dispelling the myths of FDR's New Deal. Although his favorite subject to blog about is Economics, as seen in his Economics for Politicians series, his posts try to address angles that other conservative writers and the mainstream media (naturally!) miss. "There's no point in putting up a post on a subject that someone smarter than me has already written". He believes in the "Happy Warrior" approach, and tries to inject humor in his posts, sometimes successfully. Two such examples are his posts comparing the modern left to the horrible Star Wars prequels, and analyzing the laments of a DC woman in search of a feminist boyfriend. Brother Bob lives with his very patient wife known as Sister Babe, and their fantastic son. Little Bob. Little Bob is also the reason that being a tour guide came to an end, as spending Saturdays raising a son takes priority over giving lectures to foreign visitors on the folly of Keynesian economics. BB is also grateful for the opportunity to take his place among the outstanding writers at Flopping Aces, appreciates every person who takes the time to read his posts, and especially those who join him in the conversation in the comments.

27 Responses to “Study Proves – Watching CNN and MSNBC Makes You Stupid! * [Reader Post]”

  1. 1


    “I think we’d see more formal intelligence on the left and more common sense on the right…”

    “Formal intelligence”? And, what would that be? I propose that you would see no such thing, depending on how you define that term.

  2. 2


    Suzy, the author is referring to the Elite universities and the effete snobs who serve as professors. In essence the universities serve as finishing schools for the Progressive political movement. The concept has very little to do with intellect; indeed, the process of indoctrination becomes the badge of accomplishment. A graduate can be counted upon to be “politically correct” or classified as a dependable stooge for the leftist movement. This is the formal education of the Leftist ideology. A graduate can be a blithering idiot, but he can be confirmed as an educated Leftist, this is the known quantity. The idea of being politically correct is far more important than possessing intellect. For example, Obama surrounds himself with loyalists with limited abilities. The ability to accomplish something is not a consideration.

  3. 3

    Brother Bob


    Thanks, Skook – that was pretty much what I was trying to get at. Suzy, that was the one piece of this post where I had a lot of trouble finding the right wording to make my point, and the way I phrased was the best option I could come up with without going on too big a tangent.

  4. 4

    Jim S

    I believe the headline confuses cause and effect. Watching CNN and MSDNC does not make you stupid. Being stupid makes you watch CNN and pMSNBC. 😉

  5. 5


    @Skookum: @Skookum: Well Skookum those people of “limited abilities” helped him get elected, twice. Two of the richest men in the USA Buffet and Gates supported him. Obama’s Job Approval polls are a lot better than the last POTUS (he who can no longer be named) The Dow has doubled under him in 4 years. Capitalists love him for doing that, labor/ workers haven’t done as well but they no that as bad as that situation is it would have been worse under the GOP.

  6. 6

    Nan G


    those people of “limited abilities” helped him get elected, twice.

    Yes, John, anyone over 18 can vote.
    26.5% of people over 18 voted Obama, 25.5% of them voted Romney, the rest sat home.

    Two of the richest men in the USA Buffet and Gates supported him.

    And how better to cement one’s situation than by buying it?

    The Dow has doubled under him in 4 years.

    John, my financial adviser just got back from a huge convention of such.
    They see right through this shallow, but high stock market to the Fed printing money in too gigantic amounts and those same investment dollars circling round daily buying and selling but not much new cash coming into stocks.
    Yet, where is an older person with retirement cash to put his money?
    By diversifying enough (gold, bonds, stocks, properties, foreign investments) we managed to make 8.5% over the last 10 years although only 5.75% since Obama has been in.
    It is enough as long as Obama quits changing the rules on us at every turn.
    But that’s what he does!

    Capitalists love him for doing that

    Not true.
    $1.9 TRILLION is sitting on the sidelines inside of businesses that do not know which way Obama is going to come after them next.
    There are many better things they could do with that money if Obama would just stop with the egregious regulations and constraints.

    labor/ workers haven’t done as well

    Depends which labor you mean, John.
    Obama ”saved” the auto industry by screwing the investors and giving to the unions.
    Obama has destroyed the entire work ethic of this country.
    People were given 99 weeks of unemployment… they took it.
    People were given food stamps, more than one of every 7 Americans get them.
    Obama redefined ”full time job” as 30 hours or more per week so hundreds of thousands of workers are being cut to 29 hours a week or less to avoid penalties from ObamaCare.

    And no way our recovery would have been worse under a Republican.
    Look at the chart.
    There have been recessions during both Republicans and Democrats.
    NONE has been worse than Obama’s ”recovery.” (Around month 28 on that chart)
    Obama took office (and already had a few of his policies in place) right as the red line passed the -3% point on the slide down.
    HIS policies took us further down.
    Note it was his PHONY game of hiring/firing/rehiring/re-firing/etc.,etc.,etc., that led to a dotted line that looked good at the time?
    Now it is his part-timers who wish they could be full-timers who are making that line go up.

    Obama relies on low-information support.
    You are proof that he gets it.

  7. 8

    Nan G

    Where’d you go, john?
    Here’s another way to look at it:
    Obama while accepting the Democratic nomination for President said this:

    “We can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.”

    (Those four year being between 2012and 2016.)
    See the trend from Jan 2010 to Apr 2012 was right on track for a million more jobs by the end of 2016, so he felt safe saying this.
    Now compare the chart he had Obama For America make up:
    with cold, hard reality:

    Obama is about 200K jobs short of where he should be.
    The manufacturing job sector’s recovery has been pathetic.
    It has taken us 4 years to recapture 14% of the manufacturing jobs that were lost.
    Obama is promising us that it’ll take another 4 years to recapture the next 28%.
    And after 8 years of Obama, even if he’s completely successful, we still won’t be halfway to full recovery.

  8. 9

    Brother Bob


    @Jim S: LMAO!

    @All: Keep in mind that one of the reasons that the stock market is so overheated is because our artificially low interest rates have people who would otherwise be seeking safer returns in CDs or bonds looking to stocks rather than the nonexistent returns from the former investments.

  9. 10


    Most polls are statistical garbage. (1) They sometimes tend to be designed for a predetermined outcome. (2) The stated results may not accurately reflect the actual questions asked. (3) The questions and answer choices often have an inherent bias built in. Whats more, the answer choices usually do not allow for a disagreement with the question itself. (4) A poll can be biased by the targeted sampling. for example you will get completely different results if you select metropolis inhabitants rather than rural citizens. (5) The +/- poll accuracy claim is usually stipulated by the polling agency itself and not an independent auditor.

    Re: the “Birther” issue

    The problem with most “birther” polls is they usually only present a ‘one way or the other’ choice. I still hold that neither side can prove it’s case. Both computer released “documents” by the Obama administration are clearly computer manipulated forgeries that prove nothing aside from a conclusion that the documents were created to deceive. Therefore, the question of whether Obama is a natural citizen eligible to hold the office of presidency is still undetermined. Perhaps future generations will know the truth, but this possibility will not happen until he is long out of office, so the point is mute.

    Re: the “Obama is a Muslim” issue

    Again, there is no way to prove substantially one way or the other. During his youth, he was a practicing Muslim. In his adulthood he attended a Christian church. Muslim tradition infers ‘once a Muslim, always a Muslim,’ yet also considers those who recant the religion as enemies. There has been no actual declaration by Obama that he converted to Christianity, only that he attended Michelle’s church. That in of itself does not support the claim that he is a Christian. (My wife is Jewish and I often attend services with her. This does not change the fact that I am a Christian. She has not tried to get me to convert to Judaism and neither have I tried to get her to become a Christian. We respect each others beliefs.)

  10. 11

    Brother Bob


    @Ditto: Great points further breaking down flaws in survey methodology, and sadly ignored by the fools who ran these surveys.

    Regarding the birth certificate question, if you read my earlier Donald Trump link that I posted a while back, that post closes with the strongest argument against Obama not being an American. My wife makes the argument that if there were any credible evidence supporting the theory Hilary’s campaign would have gotten it out to the media during the primaries.

    Regarding the president’s religion, I doubt he’s Muslim or Christian in any meaningful sense. I think he just makes the appearances and goes through the motions of any politician looking to make the appearances that make him appear favorable with people of faith. Of course, that’s also why I think that the hateful preachings of Rev. Wright resonated with him far more than any scripture that was recited during his time in Wright’s church.

  11. 12


    @Brother Bob:

    As I said, the issue of the birth certificate is moot. I’ll not rehash for the ‘umteenth’ time the various specific details that indicate to me that it was a forgery. That has already been covered by myself and others in past FA threads. I’m a computer graphics artist by profession, and I’m quite experienced in the detailed use of most of the various programs, and how to tell forensically when something has been “Photoshopped”. In my professional opinion, both were forgeries. It would have been very easy for a professional artist(s) to have made versions that would have passed forensic examination.

  12. 13


    Ditto, very interesting, please don’t hesitate to weigh in with your professional opinions in the future.

    Maybe, you could do a presentation as a post article showing us how these “artistic things” are accomplished. With the right direction and presentation, the whole country would tune in, well not the truth deniers we call “Progressives.”

    Think about the idea, if you need help, I am sure someone among the authors can help you. I want to see how it is put together! This big lie being spoon fed to America is a national disgrace and an embarrassment.

  13. 14



    Note that I am not taking a position in the argument on whether Obama is a natural born citizen, All I’m saying is that neither side has proved it’s case.

    The “Certificate of Live Birth” provided was of a modern generated document typical of the type commonly provided by a state when one requests a “copy” of their birth certificate. It is not a “Birth Certificate” there is a difference between the two.

    The “Long Form” birth certificate team Obama later provided is a very poorly accomplished forgery. The most telling proof that the image was a blatant forgery, is that for part of their manipulations, the artist has anti-alias turned “off”. This most commonly is due to the artist selecting a single pixel “pen” while drawing on the image with a computer art/photo editing program. This resulted in distinctly and abrupt solid pixel painting without any blurring whatsoever. This is never, ever seen in an unadulterated scanned image. Very sloppy, as the simple choice of an anti-aliased pen would have helped to cover up the doctoring of the image. (Or the artist could have zoomed in and used a color smearing tool to try to duplicate nearby anti-aliasing.) This mistake is comparable to that made in amateurish sci-fi film production where you can “see the wires,” or when they fail to put dirt, rust aging, or other signs of wear on their miniature dioramas.

  14. 15


    Ditto, I appreciate your position on the legitimacy position. I have my doubts concerning the natural born issue, but I try to avoid falling into the emotion trap. Unfortunately, the phrase has become a dubious euphemism and now only excludes someone born breech or by cesarian.

    In one of my initial articlesI called Obama the Manufactured Man; after the Benghazi Debacle, I realize the article was prophetic in the way it described the weakness of the conman, Obama.

    Your experience in the dynamics of art is far more absolute than my judgements on human nature, and will cause people to question “why a man who is on the level, would resort to forgery to present something as simple as a birth certificate?”

  15. 16

    Brother Bob


    @Ditto: Thanks for further clarifying – you make some excellent points. Whenever I hear the words “Obama birth certificate” I reflexively cringe, but you did a good job of explaining why yours isn’t the same tired argument that we’ve heard way too much of.

    I agree with Skookum’s #13 comment about you writing a separate post in this. I know you gave us more info in your comment #14, but I get the impression that there’s a lot more to tell and you could do a good job of it.

  16. 18

    Richard Wheeler

    Ditto I respect your expertise as one who works in the field of computer graphics.
    However,Hawaiian Health Director Loretta Fuddy attested to the authenticity of both the original records and the certified copies.Dr. Alvin Onaka, The State Registrar, also certified the copies.
    Are you asserting these two officials are involved in a Conspiracy?
    Whir of Helicopters.

  17. 23

    Brother Bob


    @Richard Wheeler: In the words of Keith Olbermann: “Real men don’t taunt!” =8^)

    @Ditto: I hear ya – the arrival of Baby Bob last month has thrown off our schedules too. When you get some time please don’t let this drop, though. This is probably my first post where both friends and foes wanted to see more follow up on a comment!

    … And when you do please drop one more comment on this thread so we know it’s up. I don’t always get to read FA as often as I’d like to these days =8^)

  18. 25

    James Raider


    Ditto: #14, & Skookum: #15,
    I don’t have inside track either way on this question, however, your thoughts ring bells – both of you. Ditto, I’m not intimately familiar with state of the art graphic engines, but I am very familiar with software/algorithms and the possibilities as applied to pixel manipulation. Out of curiosity I took a very close look at what was available on the internet of the proffered document claiming to be the W.H. version of final and conclusive-proof-positive gotcha. No such thing. No gotcha there. For some reason the document WAS doctored. That in and of itself is not proof of anything either way. So I agree that the question still hangs, perhaps even more so, now that IMHO the reliability of the document is clearly in question. Why was it impossible to present a clean, ‘unfixed’ document? Strangely I didn’t particularly care about this (other than finding it despicable that those ‘asking’ were called ‘birthers’ by media buffoons) . . . . until that final adulterated document was released.

    Which then leads me to Skook’s comment and his note on basic judgment on human nature. When you throw it all into a bowl and stir, the whole thing stinks. Somewhere along the line I purchased enough common sense, which when added to innate intuition has allowed me some capacity to filter. This politician has always been easy to read. The manufactured man’s secrets will come out. Egos and slighted sensitivities will find satisfaction in reprisals and disclosures. They always do.

  19. 26

    Richard Wheeler

    Brother Bob In the words of Rush Limbaugh ‘Bad losers are, well, bad losers”
    When time allows Ditto and J.R. lets hear if these folks are conspirators.


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