Don’t you dare admit to watching Fox News in the presence of a pack of liberals. If you do, there will surely be hell to pay. Fox News, affectionately known as “Faux News” by the left, is a cancer in the otherwise happy land of modern journalism.
(Free debate tip: If you post a Fox News story in defense of any argument, you will be eviscerated. It is, however, acceptable to quote the same exact AP news article using an MSNBC link.)
Anyways, a hoax study found that Fox News viewers have an average IQ of 80, which is about 20 points lower than the national average. Of course, the study went viral and liberals gloated in the glory of the moment. Finally, they were vindicated in their long-held beliefs that Fox News viewers are knuckle-dragging idiots.
Here’s what the study found:
The results of a 4 year study show that Americans who obtain their news from Fox News channel have an average IQ of 80, which represents a 20 point deficit when compared to the U.S. national average of 100. IQ, or intelligence quotient, is the international standard of assessing intelligence.
Researchers at The Intelligence Institute, a conservative non-profit group, tested 5,000 people using a series of tests that measure everything from cognitive aptitude to common sense and found that people who identified themselves as Fox News viewers and ‘conservative’ had, on average, significantly lower intelligent quotients. Fox Viewers represented 2,650 members of the test group.
Charlie Martin over at PJMedia.com promptly debunked the study. He sums it up the best with the following:
So there you have it. A four-year study sparked by the outcome of the recent election, from an institution that’s admittedly a fake, from a company that won’t identify itself, supposedly funded by a Republican PAC trying to “cut off” the Tea Party like a cancer, using a sample that was chosen with a particular result in mind, with a contact number that’s an anonymous free Google Voice number.
Of course, the news release for the study was published as fact on various left wing political blogs and news websites as esteemed as Yahoo News. Yahoo has since taken the page down, but you can find the cached version here and a screenshot here:
What I find funny about this whole debacle is how hard these enlightened liberal bloggers and upstanding news organizations fell for the hoax. The study wasn’t even believable. An IQ of 80 is considered borderline deficit.
Did nobody think that such shocking results warranted a closer look? The number for the “research institute” was published right there on the news release for crying out loud. This was not a complicated hoax.
This is a perfect example of why I my skeptical hairs stand up on end any time I hear the phrase “according to a recent study…” Statistics can be used to promote untruths just as effectively as outright lies. Statistics have numbers, and numbers look official.
Any time someone points to statistics in an argument, check the source first-hand and see if the underlying study was performed correctly. Find out who conducted the study, who commissioned the study and how the study was performed.
Likewise, make sure you check your own statistics before you use them in defense of your own positions. The last thing you want to do is quote a bad stat and then lose reputability when someone calls you out on it.
Check out the book Damned Lies and Statistics sometime for help in spotting bad statistics.