Politifact's Truth-O-Meter says Jon Stewart's claim about Fox News is "False"

Politifact's discussion is available here.

On the June 19, 2011, edition of Fox News Sunday, comedian Jon Stewart -- host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central -- sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace. Many readers asked us to review one of his claims.

"Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?" Stewart asked Wallace. "The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll." . . .

So we 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.

Jon Stewart can't leave things alone and said that Politifact corrected him by saying that "it is just most" polls that shows that Fox News viewers are the most misinformed. My read of the above Politifact article is that they said that there was one poll that supported Stewart's claim and Politifact said that there were methodological problems with the survey.

David Zurawik at the Baltimore Sun has this discussion:

In that interview, he lied about Fox News viewers being the "most consistently misinformed" of news consumers and then he compounded the false charge by saying "every poll" shows this to be true. And if you look at the video tape, you will see he makes the claim not once but twice - almost spitting the words "consistently misinformed" in Wallace's face. PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning fact checking operation, labeled Stewart's statements false. . . .

Honestly, what happened Monday night on "The Daily Show" in the Fox interview re-play isn't comedy, it feels more like neurosis. And its time for the adults at Comedy Central to call Little Mister Can't Be Wrong into the glass office and tell him it is time to admit his mistake, turn the page and move on without whining -- the way most of the journalists he so likes to mock do every day. . . .

David Zurawik's piece has lots of useful links in it. Finally, Greg Gutfeld has this.



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