Watching Fox News makes people distrust science

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Now that science has more or less agreed that human-caused climate change is happening, some are devoting their efforts to figuring out how it’s possible that people can remain skeptics. Plenty has been written about the corrupting influence of conservative media, but a new study from researchers at the University of Arizona, George Mason, American University and Yale looks more closely at exactly how such programs manage to fuel their audiences’ denial.


Predictably, they found that the more exposed Americans are to conservative media, the less certain they become that climate change is happening. The problem, they discovered, isn’t just that programs like Fox News are sowing the seeds of doubt about climate change, it’s that they’re decreasing people’s trust in the scientists who say it’s happening. That’s 97 percent of them, for the record.

The researchers took a nationally representative sample of Americans who were quizzed, by phone, on their media diets and their belief in climate change on a scale from 0 (extremely sure global warming is not happening) to 8. They controlled for variables like race, income and education level. Almost 2,500 people were surveyed in 2008; 1,036 were reinterviewed in 2011. They also analyzed the climate change coverage across Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal during that period.

The study’s lead author, Jay Hmielowski, explained in an email that his team found a 13 percent decrease in the amount of trust between people who do not watch or listen to Fox News or Rush Limbaugh and the programs’ most loyal devotees. Those who watched or listened to left-leaning and mainstream news sources — CNN, MSNBC, NPR and network news — experienced the opposite effect: They were more likely to trust scientists and thus be more certain that global warming is happening. The researchers were able to show that this influence occurs over time, as the years of tuning in accumulate.

Written By: Lindsay Abrams
continue to source article at salon.com

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  1. Hardly surprising.

    To indignantly declare that you only trust news that you view on FOX News is akin to proclaiming that you only trust science that you read about in the Bible.

    The climate change denial mindset is an outcome of a larger phenomenon that has become a fundamental component of conservative ideology lately — anti-intellectualism.

    Fundamentally, climate change deniers refuse to accept the conclusions of the vast amounts of data gathered over many years by thousands of climatologists representing dozens of academic institutions, government agencies, and private sector interests from many nations — data suggesting a causal relationship between global warming and manmade activities. Their reasons for denial are purely of a political nature, but since they don’t accept the conclusions, they must also deny the veracity of the data for no other reason than it conflicts with their denials.

    The fossil fuel industries that are financing the “climate change denial campaign” share the same unethical “profit at all costs” philosophy that has dominated the decision-making process of the tobacco industry as it repeatedly denied any health-related consequences of using their products.

    In other words, climate change denial is a conclusion in search of a rationalization.

  2. It should be pointed out that not everyone who watches Fox news distrusts scientists just those who choose to get their scientific knowledge from Fox news. I have watched Fox for years and it hasn’t changed my view on science. Of course that could be because I majored in biotech in college.

    • In reply to #5 by bjchiaro50:

      It should be pointed out that not everyone who watches Fox news distrusts scientists just those who choose to get their scientific knowledge from Fox news. I have watched Fox for years and it hasn’t changed my view on science. Of course that could be because I majored in biotech in c…

      Their track record on everything else is just as bad. They aren’t journalists they are propaganda and not very good propaganda. The only good reason to watch them is to catalog the lies or laugh.

      • Fox News is officially listed as entertainment, not news. I’m sure someone here can explain this better than I can.

        In reply to #9 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #5 by bjchiaro50:

        It should be pointed out that not everyone who watches Fox news distrusts scientists just those who choose to get their scientific knowledge from Fox news. I have watched Fox for years and it hasn’t changed my view on science. Of course that could be bec…

    • In reply to #5 by bjchiaro50:

      Hi BJ,

      I have watched Fox for years and it hasn’t changed my view on science.

      I don’t understand how your sample of one is representative, would you be so kind as to explain?

      Peace.

    • In reply to #6 by aquilacane:

      Hi aquilacane,

      Don’t worry. We need people to do the shit work educated people are wasted on. You would think they would want a higher minimum wage, it’s what most of them earn.

      I’m aware that Fox TV attracts a largely C2-D-E audience, I just don’t see how that’s relevant? However else you may view Fox viewers, their vote is equal to your vote, no?

      Peace.

      • In reply to #22 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

        In reply to #6 by aquilacane:

        Hi aquilacane,

        Don’t worry. We need people to do the shit work educated people are wasted on. You would think they would want a higher minimum wage, it’s what most of them earn.

        I’m aware that Fox TV attracts a largely C2-D-E audience, I just don’t see how that’s rel…

        Yes, our votes are equal but our qualifications to be employed at a certain level may not be.

        • In reply to #54 by aquilacane:

          Hi aquilacane,

          Yes, our votes are equal but our qualifications to be employed at a certain level may not be.

          I don’t get it. What are you saying?

          The OP reports on a study which concludes that some media are in the business of making opinions stick – even though those opinions are not true – thus making a mockery of democracy, and your response is ‘job qualifications’?

          Please forgive me for being thick, and please take this as simply a question from someone who is just trying to understand, but the best analogy I can come up with is that I said Yellow and you responded with Contract Law.

          I just fail to see any connection.

          Peace.

          • In reply to #55 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

            In reply to #54 by aquilacane:

            Hi aquilacane,

            Yes, our votes are equal but our qualifications to be employed at a certain level may not be.

            I don’t get it. What are you saying?

            The OP reports on a study which concludes that some media are in the business of making opinions stick – even though t…

            A bit late but I was joking how making people stupid isn’t all bad as there are some jobs best left to those not smart enough to do better. I’ve actually had some of those jobs. I don’t know where voting came from.

  3. Fox News causes climate change. I am addicted to it, as in retirement I watch it for something to stimulate me, and I become so angry and heated, that a cyclone develops over Tipperary, moves eastwards causing floods in Dublin and severe storms over the Irish Sea, and inundation in Liverpool.

    • In reply to #8 by Roedy:

      Hi Roedy,

      Letting them get away with this is letting destroy our planet. We regret taking insufficiently vigorous action.

      What, in a democracy, would count as sufficiently vigorous action?

      Peace.

  4. ” Watching Fox News makes people distrust science “

    Journalistic excess?

    Watching Fox News may influence the less intelligent to distrust science. Better, I think.

    But then who watches Fox News?

    • In reply to #12 by Neodarwinian:

      Hi Neo,

      Journalistic excess?

      I don’t understand that comment – could you please explain? It seems to me that the headline is amply supported by the evidence?

      But then who watches Fox News?

      Voters.

      Peace.

      • In reply to #19 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

        In reply to #12 by Neodarwinian:

        Hi Neo,

        Journalistic excess?

        I don’t understand that comment – could you please explain? It seems to me that the headline is amply supported by the evidence?

        But then who watches Fox News?

        Voters.

        Peace.

        ” Watching Fox News makes people distrust science “

        This is absolutist BS and not supportable by the evidence regardless of the outcome. Assume I watched Fox News, ( if I had a TV, which I don’t ) would I be ” made ” to distrust science? Doubtful.

        Voters? Obviously not enough of them do.

        • In reply to #44 by Neodarwinian:

          Hi Neo,

          [The headline] “Watching Fox News makes people distrust science” … is absolutist BS and not supportable by the evidence.

          Given that the study being reported on did exactly that …

          • Investigated previous scientific papers to inform the study

          • Gathered evidence and collated it with an eye to reducing observer bias

          • Studied the results and made conclusions

          • Submitted a paper identifying the context (previous science), evidence and their conclusions for peer review …

            … I don’t understand what you mean?

          I have tried to make a succinct summary of the Studies’ final report at Comment 23.

          You appear to be saying, Neo, that you have conducted a study that has come to a different conclusion. Please share it with us.

          Assume I watched Fox News, ( if I had a TV, which I don’t ) would I be ” made ” to distrust science? Doubtful.

          You base this assertion on what evidence?

          Media manipulation works. If it didn’t commercial companies would not be spending vast resources on it, and politicians wouldn’t be competing to work with PR and Marketing people. QED.

          In your Comment # 12, you said that:

          Watching Fox News may influence the less intelligent to distrust science [is a better headline].

          I wouldn’t argue with that. Science reporting should, in my view, try and avoid sensationalism – it tends to detract from the basis of a lot of science which is not helpful.

          Voters? Obviously not enough of them do.

          I didn’t understand this comment either. The study being reported on was clear that one of the Team’s motivations was to understand why, when climate change science is settled, there is skepticism in the General Public.

          Right-wing media have lost the scientific argument so, according to this report’s findings, they are engaged in a long series of ad hominem attacks in order to try and discredit the whole scientific community. Their motivation is that any political argument is never decided.

          It is a well known fact that commercial interests have long sought friends, even direct influence, over media for exactly this reason – it works. Politicians don’t just stand up and spout pseudo-science because they like the sound of it. They do it because they can see that the great unwashed are persuadable, and persuaded.

          If you’re saying that the persuaded are not voting, then I’m even more confused. Are there no right-wing, climate-change-denier, candidates, Councilmen, Senators, Representatives, Governors … ?

          I just don’t understand any of your comment #44. You’re welcome to your opinion – it just doesn’t seem to me to be based on any reality?

          I’m sorry if that comes over as negative, preachy, or School Ma’am-ish, I just genuinely don’t understand what you’re saying.

          Peace.

  5. I hope someone is keeping some sort of ongoing log or documentation of each and every ignorant comment. This is history in the making – awful as it is. Generations from now, historians can look back and see the attitudes and people that are responsible.

  6. Fox news regular audience don’t value science anyway,nor could they reason with it,too complicated for them.Fucks news is about all what their distorted brains can deal with,well, beside being capable to read antient books.

    • In reply to #15 by kamel:

      Just a small correction

      Fox news regular audience don’t [think they] value science anyway,nor could they reason with it,too complicated for them.Fucks news is about all what their distorted brains can deal with,well, beside being capable to read antient books.

      They fucking love every little bit of the big (science) screen TV and every other way modern life and the scientific method treats them (with the single exception of making their imaginary friend even more imaginary).

  7. I think the First Amendment is seriously due for an update to put a stop to the abuse of it: The right of freedom of speech and press should also demand the responsibility of being truthful.

    • In reply to #17 by godsbuster:

      Hi godsbuster,

      I think the First Amendment is seriously due for an update to put a stop to the abuse of it: The right of freedom of speech and press should also demand the responsibility of being truthful.

      Who’s truth?

      I see nothing wrong with the 1st, other than the US Government’s ambivalence towards it. It would be wonderful to see the US not only celebrate a part of its constitution that makes it great – but also to vigorously promote its principles across the World.

      I could agree that media reform in almost all ‘democratic’ countries is greatly overdue?

      Peace.

      • In reply to #24 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

        In reply to #17 by godsbuster:

        Hi godsbuster,

        I think the First Amendment is seriously due for an update to put a stop to the abuse of it: The right of freedom of speech and press should also demand the responsibility of being truthful.

        Who’s truth?

        I see nothing wrong with the 1st, other than t…

        “Who’s truth?” Seriously? How about whomsoever’s is backed by evidence, facts and reason, the good stuff that on a good day holds sway in a court of law, the halls of academe and the labs of science? And on a really good day even on these pages.

        If you see nothing wrong with the 1st then you haven’t consciously read it. It guarantees freedom of speech and press carte blanche with no hint you can’t just make shit up and act like it’s true. Maybe it harks back to an era -that of the founding fathers- where the concept of a man of honour was simply at odds with publicly bald faced lying in everyone’s face.

        • In reply to #48 by godsbuster:

          Hi godsbuster,

          “Who’s truth?” Seriously?

          One of my weaknesses is that I’m nearly always serious.

          How about whomsoever’s [report] is backed by evidence, facts and reason …

          We should hold media to account for reporting facts honestly and openly – yes I agree.

          Note that I said we – you and me. It is the duty of the citizenry to hold the powerful to account – not the State. In your Comment #17 you said:

          The right of freedom of speech and press should also demand the responsibility of being truthful.

          I may be guilty of extrapolating too far but, in the context of the overall discussion, you appeared to be proposing that some media controls were a good idea? If I misinterpreted that, I apologise.

          … the good stuff that on a good day holds sway in a court of law, the halls of academe and the labs of science? And on a really good day even on these pages.

          Evidence may only tell a part of the story. This in no way undermines the factual basis of many kinds of evidence. Think of it this way; are there Courts of Appeal, are academic papers ignored (receiving no or few citations) are they sometimes withdrawn, argued over, or superseded and do new Labs review old questions … Clearly, our experience shows us: What is true today may not be true tomorrow.

          When we speak of media controls to force out truth we must be extremely cautious.

          If you see nothing wrong with the 1st then you haven’t consciously read it. It guarantees freedom of speech and press carte blanche with no hint you can’t just make shit up and act like it’s true.

          I did read it, and I came away with exactly that impression. Perfect.

          Seriously (just in case you were wondering): The United States Constitution’s 1st Amendment is so outstanding that it shines as the beacon, the blazing light of hope to the oppressed. The 1st is our greatest example of what it means to make a political statement of moral principle, empowerment of the people and democratic equality. I know of no political statement made in all the World’s sorry history since it’s adoption that even comes close. The vast majority of politicians in power today – assuming they could read it and understand its full import, clarity and power – would bow their heads in shame, so pathetic would they realise are their machinations in its shadow. The United States has given many good things to the World and the 1st Amendment is, in my humble and considered judgement, the United States’ greatest gift of all – a gift to all Humanity – greater than any Moon landing or US leadership in the defeat of Fascism and Communism (in which, in any case, the 1st played its part) … greater even than Jazz.

          Maybe it harks back to an era – that of the founding fathers – where the concept of a man of honour was simply at odds with publicly bald faced lying in everyone’s face.

          Thanks for that. The idea that the 18th Century was some kind of moral oasis is just so funny.

          Seriously (again, just in case your were in any doubt): I was reminded by your comment of the founding father Thomas Paine. I have always found his life story instructive when it comes to considering the balance of opinions and truth. Wikipedia has an article on him which is better than most of their entries.

          Peace.

          • In reply to #51 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

            In reply to #48 by godsbuster:

            …I was reminded by your comment of the founding father Thomas Paine. I have always found his life story instructive when it comes to considering the balance of opinions and truth. Wikipedia has an article on him which is better than most of their entries.

            Tom Paine is one of my heroes. There’s a radio programme you can download free here about the ‘stinking atheist old troublemaker’ which I think you might enjoy:

            The Mark Steel Lectures, Series 1 – Englishmen Who Changed the Course of History: Thomas Paine

            Or right-click on this link to download it directly.

            Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.

            The Age of Reason.

            They don’t write ‘em like that anymore.

          • In reply to #51 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

            In reply to #48 by godsbuster:

            Hi godsbuster,

            “Who’s truth?” Seriously?

            One of my weaknesses is that I’m nearly always serious.

            How about whomsoever’s [report] is backed by evidence, facts and reason …

            We should hold media to account for reporting facts honestly and openly – yes I agree.

            Not…

            “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

            Meanwhile, however, sounding very much like what I am recommending, from the Federal Trade Commission website:

            “When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.”

            Apparently, Congress already made a law, amazingly and uncharacteristically even recognizing science’s stature. Now, if protecting your populace from false advertising is important enough to thumb your nose so flagrantly at the first amendment surely protecting them from false claims, say, justifying military adventures resulting in $trillions wasted and thousands killed or denying the ecological threat to life as we know it on our only planet should be even more compelling.

          • In reply to #61 by godsbuster:

            Hi godsbuster,

            Your juxtaposition of advertising ‘standards’ and freedom of expression is very interesting.

            Should advertising be taken as a model for how we ‘manage’ limits to free speech?

            Advertising standards is a title using the word standards because using the word censorship would simply tell everyone what the politicians are doing.

            Therefore the question before us is: Is advertising censorship a good thing?

            On the face of it advertising is a form of witness statement. To the extent that we can identify witness statements in advertising we should police them and charge those bearing false witness – such an approach is as old as civilization itself.

            Aside from witness statements advertising is about marketing: image, stirring the emotions and attachment. It seems to me that there is a broad grey area between image and witness statement – it all depends on context. Anyone who has seen a courtroom character study and cross-examination (even a fictional one) will know what I mean.

            I’m open to ideas but, until I actually receive some workable suggestions, I see no clear-cut way to separate these aspects of public discourse. Let us be clear on this point; advertising is only one aspect of the larger set of public messages – it is, in some respects, inseparable from news.

            Advertising ‘standards’ are therefore, without prejudice, censorship by the back door. Here is a good case study.

            Once advertising ‘standards’ are in place, sooner or later, political censorship will follow.

            It seems to me that it is not, therefore, a case of whether advertising standards should be applied to other forms of speech but rather whether politicians have failed to apply free speech principles to advertising. The evidence clearly demonstrates the latter.

            Also, getting back to nuances in cases of witness statements, I will repeat what I said in Comment #51:

            Evidence may only tell a part of the story. This in no way undermines the factual basis of many kinds of evidence. Think of it this way; are there Courts of Appeal, are academic papers ignored (receiving no or few citations) are they sometimes withdrawn, argued over, or superseded and do new Labs review old questions … Clearly, our experience shows us: What is true today may not be true tomorrow.

            Assume, for the moment, that we attached advertising censorship norms to news reporting. Every apparent case of falsehood would have to be taken to a tribunal and tested against the evidence. Given the millions of news stories generated by you and me – note; not by the news agencies and reporters – this is clearly unworkable. Even if we could justify the enormous expenditure of resources we would get, by and large, ambiguous results.

            Applying advertising censorship to news media would have the effect of killing it. While I share your disgust at the addition of spin to every news item today we must remember that it is almost impossible not to apply observer bias to news reporting.

            The thing about free speech is that it is an idea, and a principle. It’s not like a car where we can build it and, when the Customer drives it away from the Dealer’s lot, we can say “job done”. Free speech requires eternal vigilance – we should question every government policy and every commercial policy that might undermine it – daily.

            At best then, we are constrained; we can only look to policies that will tend to reduce news bias. The most obvious one is education. It has been my constant irritation through life to be one of only a very few people who studied media at a young age. In the OP the most common fallacies are:

            • The audience judging that trust can be placed in someone who simply demonstrates they know their prejudices

            • The audience accepting ad hominem attacks as a legitimate way to judge scientists

            • The audience accepting the logical fallacy that scientists are science

            • The audience’s failure to apply simple logic to news reports – and their subsequent failure to question reported ‘facts’, and spin

            Correcting this failure only requires education in logic and a short course in media studies.

            The next problem highlighted by the OP – and pertinent to your advertising model – is news sources. Partly because advertising is censored, commercial interests have sought a way around advertising ‘standards’. Welcome to Public Relations. PR offers those who want to spin a story two avenues:

            • Ownership

            • Channels

            In the Ownership model someone wishing to push a particular view simply buys a publisher (or broadcaster).

            In the Channel model the person wishing to push a particular view does the Reporter’s and Sub-Editor’s jobs for the publisher.

            Since the Second World War, in the West, ownership of many publishers has passed from high net worth individuals and families, political parties, clubs, co-operatives and trusts to commercial owners.

            Commercial ownership of media has had the effect of concentrating attention on the bottom line and this has, in turn, driven cross-media ownership – conglomeration – to cut costs. In addition there has been increased pressure to move from news as a separate form of communication to news as entertainment – the result of relentless commercial pressure to increase audience figures to improve bottom lines, at the expense of honour, veracity and rectitude.

            When it comes to objectivity and factual reporting we should question the results.

            In addition, the news media landscape is changing. Like King Canute, commercial interests are managing the decline of their assets’ value by resisting the tide of change.

            We should question the democratic effects of commercial media enterprises disenfranchising citizens by, for example, the way they report on ‘bullying by the Net’ – note; not bullying via the Net.

            All of these points are covered – however vaguely – by the OP. However, it is simply the latest piece of evidence for those of us who have studied media for a while. If you feel in need of an introduction I highly recommend Nick Davies’ book Flat Earth News.

            Godsbuster, when you ask if advertising censorship should be used as the model for managing news media I assume you can now see the problem.

            Now, getting back to rolling back censorship in advertising …

            Peace.

  8. Reading the comments, I’m disappointed. Correlation is not causation. The statistics show that people who are distrustful of science tend to watch Fox News more, and vice versa. They do not explain why. From the way the article is worded, it does not seem to me that they took a population of people, quantified their belief in science, then make them watch Fox News for a while, checked their beliefs again and then noted a decrease.

    To godsbuster:

    I think the First Amendment is seriously due for an update to put a stop to the abuse of it: The right of freedom of speech and press should also demand the responsibility of being truthful.

    And how do you propose we verify thruthfulness? Would you trust a judge with that?

    Journalistic ethics should be enough. It is frightening to watch how those have eroded over the last decades.

    • In reply to #18 by Zombiev6:

      Hi Zombie,

      Reading the comments, I’m disappointed. Correlation is not causation. The statistics show that people who are distrustful of science tend to watch Fox News more …

      That’s true, from the original story:

      Conservative news programs, the authors hypothesize, create a rapport with their viewers based on a shared ideology.

      (my emphasis)

      My view is that this is poor science reporting. The researchers are clearly saying that more research is required to explore the validity, or otherwise, of their hypothesis.

      Nevertheless, they are also saying – as the people most involved with the studies – that the above hypothesis is the most likely. They’re saying, in effect, that the evidence indicates – on the balance of probabilities – that some news outlets are driven by ideology and that this is having a negative effect on the distribution of true information. They do not say that their hypothesis is proved, they’re saying that this is the area that needs to be most urgently studied because their own study indicates that this is the way to go.

      … it does not seem to me that they took a population of people, quantified their belief in science, then make them watch Fox News for a while, checked their beliefs again and then noted a decrease.

      They didn’t do that because it was not useful. The OP clearly spells out that these scientists were not exploring the effects of media on people with a science education.

      They do not explain why.

      Yes they do.

      The scientists explain what they were doing (follow link from the OP) thus (I have provided a breakdown as, in common with many academics, they appear to have written their paper with the goal of winning a prize for gobbledygook):

      Prior research suggests that the American public’s reliance on partisan media contributes to this gap.

      However, researchers have yet to identify intervening variables to explain the relationship between media use and public opinion about global warming.

      Several studies have shown that trust in scientists is an important heuristic many people use when reporting their opinions on science-related topics. Using within-subject panel data from a nationally representative sample of Americans, this study finds that trust in scientists mediates the effect of news media use on perceptions of global warming.

      More succinctly: Because science is important for learning truth, trust in science is important. Therefore; how much the people trust science will affect their understanding of (example) global warming.

      In addition, the studies’ leaders also say:

      There is a growing divide in how [people] understand the issue of global warming. Prior research suggests that the … public’s reliance on partisan media contributes to this gap.

      However, researchers have yet to identify intervening variables to explain the relationship between media use and public opinion about global warming.

      Précis: Building on previous research, we have looked at how the kinds of media people use affects their understanding of the facts. We tried to discover what these effects are.

      No relationship between audiences and their science knowledge was assumed, or required.

      The studies authors are saying that previous studies are vindicated and that they can draw additional conclusions:

      • Statistically: Using certain news outlets will lower your trust in science

      • Those news outlets (consciously or unconsciously – they point no fingers) do this because they are ideologically driven. The authors may not say so – I didn’t have time to read the full study – but it seems to me that, by inference, we can therefore conclude: Those news outlets are not driven to tell the truth.

      • Even though news outlets may not directly attack scientists, they do attack the audience’s trust in science and scientists. This has an effect on opinions even if the audience member uses other, more fact-based, news sources.

      Doesn’t democracy deserve better?

      Peace.

    • In reply to #18 by Zombiev6:

      I think the First Amendment is seriously due for an update to put a stop to the abuse of it: The right of freedom of speech and press should also demand the responsibility of being truthful..

      And how do you propose we verify thruthfulness? Would you trust a judge with that?
      Journalistic ethics should be enough. It is frightening to watch how those have eroded over the last decades.

      You are on a science oriented website and you ask how we are to verify truthfulness, really? Gosh, I don’t know what to tell you.

      Journalistic ethics clearly doesn’t seem to be cutting it. On the “left” it’s hobbled by political correctness, on the “right” spurred by shamelessness and the middle plies the pretense that both sides are equally guilty of fibs and distortions .

    • In reply to #28 by Tyler Durden:

      The researchers were able to show that this influence occurs over time, as the years of tuning in accumulate.

      The median age of Fox News viewers is 65, according to Nielsen.

      That’s because booze and age have caused our brains to atrophy.

  9. In reply to #30 by aroundtown:

    If you assume more of the same from these folks you will likely be right. They have turned their fantasy rhetoric into an art-form unfortunately and we all pay the price from their ability to muddy the waters for their behind the scenes taskmasters. It is not much, but at least we have a verifiabl…

    As bad as Fox is I actually don’t think they are the most responsible for the abysmal coverage of basic news in the US. For the most part everyone realizes that they are no longer a legitimate news source. The real harm comes from the CNNs and ABCs because they pick up stories by Fox and treat them as legitimate. So for example, rather than people debating in the news what we should do about global warming instead they are still debating if global warming even is real because “some people” (i.e. Fox) are still denying it.

    Chomsky wrote a great book on the US media with Edward Hermann called Manufacturing Consent. The examples are dates, mostly going back to Vietnam but its as relevant today as ever. He shows that its no conspiracy theory to say there is systemic pro-corporate bias in the media, to put it simply we should expect large media conglomerates to have a pro-corporate bias for the same reason we would expect the RCC to have a Catholic bias.

    • In reply to #31 by Red Dog:

      The real harm comes from the CNNs and ABCs because they pick up stories by Fox and treat them as legitimate.

      Leave that to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (and John Oliver).

  10. Climate change has been occurring during the entire life of our planet and in the present circumstances is a misnomer which plays into the hands of deniers.

    Only the term Global Warming should be used, because for the first time in over four billion years warming has exceeded all previous parameters by such a large margin that some with the requisite knowledge of the subject maintain that it will take a thousand years for things to stabilize even if all necessary measures had already been taken.

    And all this has occurred over less than two centuries.

    On that cheerie note I’ll go and make a nice cup of tea.

    • In reply to #34 by Stafford Gordon:

      Only the term Global Warming should be used

      I once overheard a young woman remark “what global warming, it’s f*ing freezing today!” I think the catch-all phrase ‘climate change’ should remain, less confusion.


      Curiously, the OP study did not include the Weather Channel. They are neutral with their news reports, and pepper broadcasts with serious pro climate change stories (matter of fact science). Also, I’ve noticed meteorologists acting goofy (other networks) turn serious about the serious situation of global warming/climate change when allowed to speak freely elsewhere.

      • I have heard that for meteorologists, acceptance of climate change correlates most strongly with political party affiliation. Acceptance of biblical creationism by science teachers is right near the national average (around a third), so there is far more at work than just the evidence.

        In reply to #35 by bluebird:

        In reply to #34 by Stafford Gordon:

        Only the term Global Warming should be used

        I once overheard a young woman remark “what global warming, it’s f*ing freezing today!” I think the catch-all phrase ‘climate change’ should remain, less confusion.

        Curiously, the OP study did not include the Weath…

  11. Might I suggest that the reason people are becoming more and more skeptical of self-proclaimed climate “scientists” is that they are constantly shooting themselves in the foot?

    First they claimed that “the science is settled,” even as they kept inventing ever newer and less plausible explanations for why the empirical observations failed to match the projections of their models.

    Then they claimed to see “hockey sticks” everywhere, and never retracted when the sticks got busted over and over again by competent independent reviewers. Most (like the IPCC) simply forgot to mention hockey sticks; some doubled down on the faith.

    Then they were caught red-handed conspiring to make science journals into propaganda organs – shutting out dissenting voices, pal-reviewing each others’ latest speculation, replicating each others’ dubious methods…

    Then they had to beat a hasty retreat after proclaiming that if the “pause” in warming lasted 10, then 12, then 15, then 20 years, this would disprove their models – at each step resiling from their earlier “settled science” as to how long the pause would last…

    I’d say the “climate scientists” have done enough damage to their own credibility that you don’t have to bring the impausible Fox news into it.

    In fact, the “scientists” who brought you this thesis failed in the first principle of science: look for falsifying evidence, not confirming evidence, of your thesis. People the world over are becoming more and more skeptical of CAGW – not just viewers of FOX news. Wow, epic fail!

    And oh, my, why not throw in the obligatory reference to the “97% consensus”! Does anyone on RDF even understand how weak that factoid really is? I mean, truly, you have to be an abject simpleton to think that number has ANY probative value. Sheesh.

    • In reply to #36 by Jesus86again:

      Might I suggest that the reason people are becoming more and more skeptical of self-proclaimed climate “scientists” is that they are constantly shooting themselves in the foot?

      Yes, you might. But it does not alter the evidence.

    • In reply to #36 by Jesus86again:

      Might I suggest that the reason people are becoming more and more skeptical of self-proclaimed climate “scientists” is that they are constantly shooting themselves in the foot?

      Nope the scientific research is solid even if denialsts like to dispute this with their cherry-picked ignorance!

      First they claimed that “the science is settled,” even as they kept inventing ever newer and less plausible explanations for why the empirical observations failed to match the projections of their models.

      The science has been settled for quite some time now.

      Then they claimed to see “hockey sticks” everywhere, and never retracted when the sticks got busted over and over again by competent independent reviewers.

      Ha! ha! ha! You have to be joking or clueless! ” Competent independent reviewers” – either stooges of the carbon industries or conspiracy theorists who could not even list the factors to put into climate calculations.

      Most (like the IPCC) simply forgot to mention hockey sticks; some doubled down on the faith.

      The climate graphs have been repeatedly confirmed.

      Then they were caught red-handed conspiring to make science journals into propaganda organs – shutting out dissenting voices, pal-reviewing each others’ latest speculation, replicating each others’ dubious methods…

      Science journals won’t publish crap, regardless of if the writers of crap make silly “pal-reviewing” claims.

      Then they had to beat a hasty retreat after proclaiming that if the “pause” in warming lasted 10, then 12, then 15, then 20 years, this would disprove their models – at each step resiling from their earlier “settled science” as to how long the pause would last…

      The pauses have been explained by factors such global dimming from industrial emissions.

      http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/642270-noaa-study-suggests-aerosols-might-be-inhibiting-global-warming

      I’d say the “climate scientists” have done enough damage to their own credibility that you don’t have to bring the impausible Fox news into it.

      In your “humble” and poorly informed opinion.

      In fact, the “scientists” who brought you this thesis failed in the first principle of science: look for falsifying evidence,

      No! You just didn’t look at, or understand the data.

      not confirming evidence, of your thesis.

      The theses have been confirmed independently multiple times by a whole range of methods.

      People the world over are becoming more and more skeptical of CAGW – not just viewers of FOX news. Wow, epic fail!

      Fox executives have had emails to staff exposed where they directed misleading uses of terms to sell their propaganda.

      And oh, my, why not throw in the obligatory reference to the “97% consensus”

      Why not? It is absolutely solid research!

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm

      In the scientific field of climate studies – which is informed by many different disciplines – the consensus is demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change – and that’s nearly all of them. A survey of 928 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject ‘global climate change’ published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused (Oreskes 2004).

      A follow-up study by the Skeptical Science team of over 12,000 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subjects of ‘global warming’ and ‘global climate change’ published between 1991 and 2011 found that of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming, over 97% agreed that humans are causing it (Cook 2013). The scientific authors of the papers were also contacted and asked to rate their own papers, and again over 97% whose papers took a position on the cause said humans are causing global warming.

      Several studies have confirmed that “…the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes”. (Doran 2009). In other words, more than 97% of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities.

      We should also consider official scientific bodies and what they think about climate change. There are no national or major scientific institutions anywhere in the world that dispute the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Not one.

      No specialist scientific bodies disagree with the consensus! .

      ! Does anyone on RDF even understand how weak that factoid really is?

      Weak?? 97% of 12,000 peer-revied studies? Are you scientifically illiterate??

      I mean, truly, you have to be an abject simpleton to think that number has ANY probative value. Sheesh.

      Have you heard of psychological projection ? – in addition to exhibiting it in this comment?

      Could I recommend the study of some real science on the links from this discussion:-

      Why the laws of physics make anthropogenic climate change undeniable

  12. Further to mine #36:

    The fact that climate “scientists” refuse to release their data and code, so that their work can be independently checked, also raises valid suspicions about their conclusions. Fail.

    The fact that climate “scientists” cherry-pick their data (and try desperately to cover up the cherry-picking) is legitimately mocked in videos (“Hide the Decline”) and jokes (e.g. “When you’ve seen one, you’ve seen Yamal.”)

    The fact that climate “scientists” state their conclusions – sometimes to the millionth of a significant unit of measurement – without noting errors bars, limitations of their studies, and other routine cautionary points also lends an air of incredulity to their five-bell alarms.

    …50 million climate refugees by 2010… …glaciers in the Himalayas gone by 2030… …Pacific islands going underwater… …like “where’s Waldo,” they are still in search of the “missing heat”?…

    Need I go on? (apparently so – the faithful are not easily deterred)

    • In reply to #39 by Jesus86again:

      Further to mine #36:

      Need I go on? (apparently so – the faithful are not easily deterred)

      Not really. You have proved beyond reasonable doubt that you copy rubbish from conspiracy science-duffer sites and have no idea what you are talking about!

  13. Watching ‘Fox News’ makes me distrust you’re human. More seriously though, Any study of English, the language, and the subject, say from high school, or college/universtity….Teaches one how to recognise and deal with sub-par journalism. This is topic 2 billion which could be summarised as “LEARN SHIT before assuming you’re an adult”. No members of this site, thank the universe, would find Fox news to be anything more than a joke. However, there are gripes to be had with the broadcaster, as those infantile minds Fox has ‘liberated’ from thought, should have been ours to propagate thought within. I do, however, still find it hard to ditch the “no hard loss” feeling.

  14. In reply to #18 by Zombiev6:

    Reading the comments, I’m disappointed. Correlation is not causation. The statistics show that people who are distrustful of science tend to watch Fox News more, and vice versa. They do not explain why…

    I think the answer to this is provided in comment #28 by Tyler Durden:

    The median age of Fox News viewers is 65, according to Nielsen.

    Old, white people (not exclusively the former but almost always the latter), the sort who make up the Tea Party and Birther movements and whose reaction to the George Zimmerman acquittal, typified by Ann Coulter’s delightful Twitter response to the jury’s announcement that the stalking and killing of a 17-year-old is fine if said child is African-American, has been one of barely concealed glee (cf. any internet forum you care to name), are Fox News’s target audience.

    These people are bitter. It’s their defining characteristic. Bitterness and resentment are their… two defining characteristics. Bitterness, resentment and fear of change constitute their… three defining characteristics. I’ll come in again.

    They’ve been raised to believe the US is the greatest country on the planet, by divine proclamation no less. They bought into the idea that if you work hard, brush your teeth and say your prayers at night, everything will work out in the end.

    How were they to know that behind the scenes of this capitalist Utopian ideal, forces were at work; forces quite prepared to rape and pollute the planet if it increased their net worth; forces which consider human beings no different to machine parts; forces determined, like a dragon in something by Tolkien, to hang onto every bit of gold which came their way and take as much gold from others as the law allowed. And if the law doesn’t allow it… well, that’s what the political system is for.

    So, our… sucker seems a little mean… our churchgoing, taxpaying citizen finds his world changing. He’s losing his hair, his wife no longer talks to him or has split, his kids look upon him with contempt. He did everything right and yet he’s a failure in the eyes of society. Maybe… I mean, could it be possible… has capitalism failed him? Has God failed him? Has gulp the American dream failed him?

    Enter Fox News or similar:

    “No, it’s not your fault. Like you said, you’ve done everything right. You want to know what it is? Well, look at him over there. That’s right, the one whose skin color isn’t the same as yours. I didn’t want to say anything, but I caught him looking at your car earlier and checking to see if it was locked.

    “And see those two males holding hands. It’s not natural if you ask me. Yes one of them is about five and the other is almost certainly his father, but you can’t be sure. What’s that? No, it doesn’t make you think about the Catholic Church! It makes you think about the wrongness of sex between consenting adults of the same gender, how much it angers God, and why this may be the cause of your own and America’s current misfortunes!

    “Anyway, I see I’ve got your interest. Well, just wait ’til you hear what I have to say about Muslims, liberals and wetba… oops, I mean Mexicans. This political correctness is going too far, as I’ll make you… I mean, as I’m sure you’ll agree. As for doubting capitalism and God, bite your tongue. You’re not a communist, are you? Are you?? No, I didn’t think so.

    “Who do I work for? I work for Rupert Murdo… er, I mean I work for the forces of good. I’m a servant of the… of the Lord, certainly not the Devil. Ha ha. Definitely not the Devil. I work in the service of traditional Christian values.”

  15. A number of years ago there was a news report that the Journalism School at UCLA did a fairly elaborate study of the truthfulness and objectivity of all major news organizations. The winner was NPR. It was closely followed by…are you ready for this?…FOX NEWS! I personally like Newsmax, The Weekly Standard, The Drudge Report and The Heritage Foundation because I can always get stories that are seldom, if ever, carried by so-called “major” news organizations. I especially like Drudge because I can link to virtually every news organization and commentator from The Daily Coz to the Weekly Standard, all on one page. If it wasn’t for Drudge I would never have found out that Congress and its staff have been granted a 75% subsidy to help pay for their health care under Obamacare. I have yet to see that reported anywhere else.

    One wonders at the veracity of a number of people commenting on this thread…it’s like discussing Rush Limbaugh with a lefty who goes off on a rant about him and his “lies” and “obfuscations”. “How often do you listen to Rush?” I ask. The answer is invariably a highly insulted and distainful, “NEVER!” I never cease to be amazed at the prescience and indisputable expertise Lefties are able to absorb out of thin air. Ronald Reagan was correct when he said words to the effect that it’s not that the Left is ignorant, it’s just that everything they know simply isn’t so. Quite a number of comments here seem to bear that pithy observation out.

    • In reply to #45 by beest666:

      A number of years ago there was a news report that the Journalism School at UCLA did a fairly elaborate study of the truthfulness and objectivity of all major news organizations. The winner was NPR. It was closely followed by…are you ready for this?…FOX NEWS! I personally like Newsmax, The We…

      Source please.

  16. It’s a pity that #36 by Jesus86again and his other posts were pulled. I’m sure that the moderators had good reason, and from Alan4discussion’s posts, I have a good idea what was said. But there’s nothing like reading the whole thing, and we don’t want to give the opposition the chance to talk about censorship, being afraid of the Lord’s word, etc.

    I enjoy Alan’s writing, he demolishes other people well!

  17. In reply to #45 by beest666:

    Hi Beestie,

    A number of years ago there was a news report that the Journalism School at UCLA did a fairly elaborate study of the truthfulness and objectivity of all major news organizations.

    I couldn’t find a UCLA study that fits your description, though I did find Media Bias is Real. Do you know the location of your quoted study?

    I personally like Newsmax, The Weekly Standard, The Drudge Report and The Heritage Foundation because I can always get stories that are seldom, if ever, carried by so-called “major” news organizations.

    Whatever works for you … I use Prozac.

    One wonders at the veracity of a number of people commenting on this thread…it’s like discussing Rush Limbaugh with a lefty who goes off on a rant about him and his “lies” and “obfuscations”. “How often do you listen to Rush?” I ask. The answer is invariably a highly insulted and disdainful, “NEVER!”

    I’m so underwhelmed by an ad hominem attack that’s so generalized its even anonymous! You don’t work for Fox News by any chance? Name names, point to inaccuracies, give people a chance to respond. Teach us your great wisdom, oh mighty Beestie.

    I never cease to be amazed at the prescience and indisputable expertise Lefties are able to absorb out of thin air. Ronald Reagan was correct when he said words to the effect that it’s not that the Left is ignorant, it’s just that everything they know simply isn’t so.

    Wow, when it comes to sweeping generalizations that takes the biscuit.

    Quite a number of comments here seem to bear that pithy observation out.

    Oh, another ad hominem without a subject! Beestie wins at avoiding the argument, swerving the counter-argument and poking his eyes out to blind himself to the facts!

    What’s-a-matter Beestie, too scared of us wee commentators using big words on the lil’-ole Internet? What, a great big Beestie like you?!

    Come on tell us where someone in this thread is wrong, just one. You know you want too …

    Peace.

  18. Concerning Jesus86again comment
    ” In fact, the “scientists” who brought you this thesis failed in the first principle of science: look for falsifying evidence,”

    It never ceases to amaze and infuriate me -how these enemies of reason always bring up falsification in their arguments against whatever part of science they don’t like.

    99% of the time -These troglodytes seem to believe falsification means you must find a contrary explanation that holds equal weight to the original hypothesis for any hypothesis to be valid.
    In their bizarre world this would mean that to prove gravity exists … you must also prove it doesn’t exist at all.

    By the way , this study on Fox isn’t something ‘new’
    There have been a quite a number of interesting studies done on Right Wing Authoritarians (RWA)
    These are the type of people whose confirmation biases make them come pre-packaged for believing that FOX News is actually ‘Fair & Balanced:

    Here’s a link to an earlier mini-study that lo & behold found that FOX viewers were very uninformed about the issues they seem to care about .( FYI- Just click on the hi-lited word study to download it)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/fox-news-less-informed-new-study_n_1538914.html

  19. I distrust mainstream science after I found out how the peer review process can be corrupted and exclude papers which go against a particular agenda or dogma. I also find Guardian and Independent readers just as uninformed and manipulated as any other TV viewer.

    • In reply to #59 by PsychoPigeon:

      I distrust mainstream science after I found out how the peer review process can be corrupted and exclude papers which go against a particular agenda or dogma. I also find Guardian and Independent readers just as uninformed and manipulated as any other TV viewer.

      Anyone who has ever tried to submit a paper to a journal or conference probably has a story about how bias or politics got in the way. Of course in a lot of those cases its as much the individual trying to rationalize that the paper just wasn’t good enough but in some they will definitely have a point. Scientists are human too. To expect that somehow peer review could be completely free from politics and bias is just irrational.

      In fact the whole point of things like peer review is because we realize that scientists are human. So in some sense you are correct to not completely trust “main stream science”. In fact I would go so far as to say that any good scientist always remains skeptical, just because a community has reached a consensus doesn’t mean it still can’t be challenged.

      But I would like to know what your alternative to “main stream science” is and why you think its any better. Because compared to say holistic medicine or self help movements or religious movements the track record for science is amazing. When you hear about scientific mistakes or scandals its not an example of science not working its an example of it working at its best. Because if you are a holistic doctor, or a preacher, or a new age teacher you can pretty much just say anything you want and no one will really challenge it because the stuff you are saying is so vacuous it can’t even be tested in the first place and even if it could there is no equivalent to peer review in such disciplines.

    • In reply to #59 by PsychoPigeon:

      I distrust mainstream science after I found out how the peer review process can be corrupted and exclude papers which go against a particular agenda or dogma.

      Do you have some evidence to support this, or is it just another story from incompetent authors who resent rejection when they fail to meet the high standards of scientific journals?

      It is a song oft repeated by creationists, IDiots, and AGW deniers who are trying to gain credibility for nonsense they are trying to publish.

    • In reply to #63 by atheistboy:

      Wait…who watches FOX news?

      Atheist Boy – It is Never productive to marginalize your enemy.

      46% of adult Voting Americans don’t believe in Evolution
      A sizable chunk more are agnostic on this issue.
      Then taking into account the studies that show a large proportion of this 46% …don’t believe in Global Warming , equal rights for women ..etc. etc. etc.

      These are the people who not just watch Fox news …they believe what they’re hearing.

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