A study by a University of Maryland center concluded, “Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions” about Iraq. For example, in 2003, 67 percent of those who relied primarily on Fox wrongly believed the U.S. “found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization.” Only 40 percent of those who relied on print media harbored this illusion, debunked thoroughly by the 9/11 Commission.
Instead of providing “fair and balanced” reporting, Fox has created an audience ignorant of the facts, but fully supportive of management’s ideology.
An audience that decides for itself, based on “fair and balanced” coverage, ought not to reach monolithic conclusions. Yet, in our 2004 polling with Media Vote, using Nielsen diaries, we found that Fox News viewers supported George Bush over John Kerry by 88 percent to 7 percent. No demographic segment, other than Republicans, was as united in supporting Bush. Conservatives, white evangelical Christians, gun owners, and supporters of the Iraq war all gave Bush fewer votes than did regular Fox News viewers.
In a way, as a business model, FoxNews has been a great success.
However, as a political vehicle I haveto wonder if the long-term effect will not turn out to be a huge negative for the GOP. By enabling its far-right wing, by not challenging Bush or his war, nor questioning his policies the GOP with the great assistance of FoxNews has driven itself off a cliff.