Fox News Viewers Outperform CNN, MSNBC Watchers on News Knowledge

May 23rd, 2021 3:26 PM

Stephan Dinan at the Washington Times reported that Fox News viewers outperformed viewers of CNN or MSNBC on several policy issues. Those favoring the liberal networks are much more likely to believe the "climate emergency" media hype that we are "on pace for extinction within 100 years."

Relatively few people could place the federal government’s total debt at $20 trillion to $30 trillion, but Fox viewers were about twice as likely as CNN viewers to do so, Heartland found in the polling, which Rasmussen Reports conducted.

On taxes, 36% of Fox viewers knew the top marginal tax rate was 30% to 40%. Just 23% of CNN watchers and 22% of MSNBC viewers knew that.

Most striking was climate change. More than half of CNN viewers and 58% of MSNBC viewers said at the rate the globe is warming, humanity is on pace for extinction within 100 years. Heartland said that is decidedly not the scientific consensus. Just a quarter of Fox viewers believed doom is looming.

“If you watch [CNN and MSNBC], you’re maybe twice as likely to hold that view than people who are getting their news from other outlets,” said Justin Haskins, the editorial director for Heartland. “That means there are people answering that question who believe they will live through the climate apocalypse.”

The Heartland Institute’s poll surveyed 2,000 likely voters. It was conducted from April 29 through May 3.

But what about the hot topic of police shootings? CNN and MSNBC viewers vastly overstated the number of unarmed black people killed by police each year. But Fox viewers were more likely to overstate the number of unarmed white people.

The Heartland Institute’s Mr. Haskins said it’s the nature of television news to tell narratives rather than give facts, and that can lead viewers astray.

He pointed to the nearly 25% of CNN viewers who said at least 500 unarmed Black people are killed by police each year.

“Why do they believe that? Is it because CNN tells them it’s 500 a year? No. It’s because CNN doesn’t tell them how many are being shot by police, but they’re coming to that conclusion because [of] the narrative CNN provides to its viewers,” he said.

The numbers matter. “If you believe there are 500 unarmed African Americans being killed every year, 5,000 a decade, you believe this is a crisis,” Mr. Haskins said. “But if the number is only 18, and you know it’s only 18, you might not view it the same way. So the narrative has less impact, or more impact, when you know the facts.”