A new survey of New Jersey voters comes to a provocative conclusion:
viewers tend to be less informed about current events than those who don't watch any news at all.
Fairleigh Dickinson University recently questioned 612 adults in New Jersey about how they get their news, offering as options traditional outlets like newspapers and local and national television news, or blogs, websites and even
's "The Daily Show."
They then asked a series of factual questions about the major events of the last year, from the "Arab Spring" to the Republican race for president.
For example, respondents were first asked whether, to the best of their knowledge, opposition groups in Egypt had been successful in bringing down the Mubarak regime.
listeners, 68% correctly said they had been; only 49% of Fox News viewers answered correctly. In fact, the survey found,
viewers were 18 percentage points less likely to answer correctly than those who watched no news at all.
"The results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don't watch any news at all," said Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Those who watched Sunday public affairs shows tended to be the best informed on current events, the survey found. Readers of national newspapers also were more likely to respond correctly.
And it seems
may be more reliable than cable news anchors. On
, the survey found viewers of
were 12 percentage points more likely to say protesters were predominantly Democratic.
viewers were the most likely to say the protesters were mainly
"Jon Stewart has not spent a lot of time on some of these issues. But the results show that when he does talk about something, his viewers pick up a lot more information than they would from other sources," Cassino said.