Opinion by Patricia L Johnson
Take the Quiz at http://pewresearch.org/politicalquiz/quiz/ and compare your answers to those of 1,001 adults that were asked the very same questions during the last Pew Research telephone survey [July 2010].
Pew Research began questioning adults on their news knowledge back in the late 1980’s. Their 2007 report also contains an analysis of knowledge levels according to the news source people watch. The 2007 survey involved questioning 1,502 adults and provided the following results. Individuals whose regular source of news is TV, those watching the Daily Show /Colbert Report are going to obtain a higher score, but those watching Fox News as their regular source are going to score lower. Men scored higher than women on this particular survey, those more educated scored better than those less educated, and the elderly scored higher than the younger folks.
With all the technological advancements that have been made in this country during the period from the late 80’s through 2007, the public was not better informed on the news in 2007 than they were in 1989, in fact, on many of the questions the public did better in 1989 than in 2007.
54% [1 of every two people surveyed] that watched the Daily Show/Colbert Report were able to answer 15 of the 23 questions correctly that were asked on the 2007 survey, yet only 35% [1 of every three people] surveyed that watched Fox News were able to answer 15 of the 23 questions correctly.
Not all Fox News viewers did poorly however; those that watch the O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly did very well, and came in with a score of 51%.
“The full reports from earlier versions of the quiz are also available (See July 2010, January 2010, October 2009, April 2009, December 2008, February 2008, September 2007 and April 2007). The April 2007 report also includes an analysis of how knowledge levels vary according to people’s news sources.”