Media outlets such as Fox News and MSNBC have a negative impact on people’s current events knowledge while NPR and Sunday morning political talk shows are the most informative sources of news, according to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s newest PublicMind survey.
Researchers asked 1,185 random nationwide respondents what news sources they had consumed in the past week and then asked them questions about events in the U.S. and abroad.
On average, people correctly answered 1.6 of 5 questions about domestic affairs.
Because the aim of the study was to isolate the effects of each type of news source, they then controlled for variables such as other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors.
They found that someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer 1.04 domestic questions correctly compared to 1.22 for those who watched no news at all. Those watching only “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” answered 1.42 questions correctly and people who only listened to NPR or only watched Sunday morning political talk shows answered 1.51 questions correctly.