NPR said to have most knowledgeable fans


PollAnd Fox News is pushing back against the latest installment of a Farleigh Dickinson University study that strives to identify the most effective media news sources. NPR fans did best on a brief news survey, and Fox News fans fared the worst.

FDU divided respondents into eight categories – those who relied on only one particular media source off a menu that included CNN, The Daily Show, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, Sunday shows, Talk radio, and none of the above. It asked five domestic and four international questions. In all cases, respondents averaged between one and two correct answers. Here’s how the rankings went down:

1.51: NPR
1.47: Sunday shows
1.42: The Daily Show
1.35: Talk radio
1.26: MSNBC
1.26: CNN
1.22: None
1.04: Fox News

1.97: NPR
1.60: The Daily Show
1.57: Talk radio
1.52: Sunday shows
1.33: CNN
1.28: None
1.23: MSNBC
1.08: Fox News

The questions included:
* Which party has the most seats in the House of Representatives right now?
* In December, House Republicans agreed to a short-term extension of a payroll tax cut, but only if President Obama agreed to do what?
* It took a long time to get the final results of the Iowa caucuses for Republican candidates. In the end, who was declared the winner?
* How about the New Hampshire Primary? Which Republican won that race?
* According to official figures, about what percentage of Americans are currently unemployed?

* To the best of your knowledge, have the opposition groups protesting in Egypt been successful in removing Hosni Mubarak?
* How about the opposition groups in Syria? Have they been successful in removing Bashar al-Assad?
* Some countries in Europe are deeply in debt, and have had to be bailed out by other countries. To the best of your knowledge, which country has had to spend the most money to bail out European countries?
* There have been increasing talks about economic sanctions against Iran. What are these sanctions supposed to do?

NPR fared very well in the survey, and Talk radio did very well too. However, Fox News had a very poor showing, and the results echoed those of FDU’s previous survey.

Fox was silent when the other one came out in November 2011, but this time it fired back. It cited a ranking of US colleges put together by Forbes which placed FDU in the back of the pack at #585 out of 650. The network suggested that the university work on improving its academic performance rather than spend its time producing frivolous polls.

RBR-TVBR observation: Out of nine questions, this reporter knew eight answers and was able to say “oh, yeah, now I remember” on the one he missed. One takeaway from the poll is that his vote will count the same as those from people who on average only managed to get between two and four questions correct.

BTW, Hollywood Reporter put together a list of correct answers:
* Republicans
* Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline
* Rick Santorum
* Mitt Romney
* 8.1 percent
* yes
* no
* Germany
* Dissuade them from pursuing a nuclear program

Thanks, Hollywood Reporter – and for the record, this particular reporter temporarily forgot about the tax cut/pipeline deal.



  1. Like the author of the article, I too got 8 of the 9 and forgot about the pipeline. But I get my news from both our local Houston NBC affiliate and Brian Williams. Why are none of the broadcast networks listed?

  2. The answer regarding the pipeline is not actually correct, as the President did not approve the pipeline, at least as it was then and is currently proposed. He was required to act on the pipeline proposal, at least as I recall it.

    What the survey really underscores, in addition to FOX remaining at the bottom, is the general lack of knowledge on current affairs of the average American, apparently regardless of their news source(s). It does not surprise me that NPR finished first. I might have been interesting had the survey included: local TV news; national TV news (e.g., weekday new broadcasts, not the Sunday shows); newspapers; and radio as the respondents’ only news source.

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