Under the headline Best-Informed Also View Fake News, Study Says today’s New York Times reports:
Americans may have more news outlets today than two decades ago, but they still don’t know much more about current events than they did then, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
But here’s one big difference: the survey respondents who seemed to know the most about what’s going on — who were able to identify major public figures, for example — were likely to be viewers of fake news programs like Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”; those who knew the least watched network morning news programs, Fox News or local television news.
I think describing The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as “fake news” is a bit harsh and a bit inflammatory. These are parodies. They wouldn’t be nearly so funny if they weren’t based on real people and real events.
And perhaps those Americans who are best informed are also most in need of the sort of humorous relief provided by Stewart and Colbert.
Also worth noting: newspaper websites tied for first place on the list of news sources used by the best-informed.
Oh yes, the Pew Center study goes on to report that almost one third of Americans couldn’t name the Vice-President, and barely one third could name the president of Russia.