Fox News Viewers' Climate Change Misinformation Came Straight from The Top

As Media Matters reported, last week, the Program on International Policy Attitudes released a report on "Misinformation and the 2010 Election," which examined variations in misinformation by exposure to news sources, among other subjects. The study found that “those who had greater exposure to news sources were generally better informed.”

However, the study also found that there were “a number of cases where greater exposure to a news source increased misinformation on a specific issue,” and highlighted Fox News' viewers higher levels of misinformation on a variety of topics.

Of the many issues that regular Fox News viewers were found to have been misinformed about, their false beliefs about climate change stood out, in light of the recent revelation that Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered his staff to cast doubt on climate change science in reports that are supposed to convey “straight news.”

Of those who said they watched Fox News “almost every day,” a whopping 60 percent believed, incorrectly, that “most scientists think climate change is not occurring” or that “views are divided evenly.” Compare that with those who said that they watched other news programs almost every day: 25% of regular CNN viewers, 20% of MSNBC viewers, and 35% of Network TV news broadcasts viewers believed that falsehood. Of those who reported that they read newspapers and news magazines (in print or online) “almost every day,”40 percent believed that falsehood. Of those that reported watching or listening almost every day to public broadcasting, which Fox News has repeatedly demonized, only 13 percent believed that falsehood.