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Extended exposure to Fox News makes voters stupid, university study finds

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The troublesome record of spin by conservative television station Fox News has long been a cause for concern to many Americans, who frequently allege that the nation’s most viewed “news” network has the effect of dumbing down voters.

Turns out, they were right.

A University of Maryland study (PDF) published earlier this month found that people in the survey who had the most exposure to Fox News were more likely to believe falsehoods and rumors about national and world affairs when compared to those who paid attention to other news outlets.

In a summary carried by Alternet, the following falsehoods were most relayed by Fox News viewers:

91 percent believed the stimulus legislation lost jobs;

72 percent believed the health reform law will increase the deficit;

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72 percent believed the economy is getting worse;

60 percent believed climate change is not occurring;

49 percent believed income taxes have gone up;

63 percent believed the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts;

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56 percent believed Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout;

38 percent believed that most Republicans opposed TARP;

63 percent believed Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear).

The poll’s findings seem to sync with those of an NBC News survey (PDF) taken during the height of America’s health care reform debate, where Fox News viewers were found to be most likely to have believed wildly inaccurate interpretations of the legislation.

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While Fox News and parent company News Corporation have long been criticized cheerleading Republican causes and conservative-allied business interests, it has been under more intense criticism of late over high profile donations to Republicans, deceptive video editing on multiple programs and even on-air GOP fundraisers.

Though the station claims to run “news” programming during the daytime, liberal watchdog group MediaMatters recently revealed a leaked email that shows one of the network’s top editors ordering anchors to use terminology favored by conservatives.

In a follow-up, the media blog released a second leaked email showing the same editor, Fox News Washington, DC managing editor Bill Sammon, directing staff to cast doubt upon climate data, even when it was not in question. The revelation was hailed by former Vice President Al Gore, a champion of climate change activism, who argued it proves the spin coming from Fox News is straight from the top.

And it doesn’t help that one of their most-watched opinion hosts, conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck, is prone to making up outrageous falsehoods to scare viewers.

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The network has big plans to expand it’s brand into the future: According to anchor Chris Wallace, the 2012 Republican presidential primary elections will be “a production of Fox News,” not unlike the Fox network’s American Idol.

Virtually all the leading GOP candidates are paid contributors for the network, and over 30 Fox News personalities have endorsed Republicans in the past.

The Obama administration, similarly, has called Fox News “a wing of the Republican party.”

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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‘You’re scaring the children’: Nancy Pelosi says she got in Trump’s face with terms he can understand

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) revealed on Monday that she told President Donald Trump that he is "scaring children" with his family separation policy at the border.

"Children are scared," she recalled telling him. "You're scaring the children of America, not just in those families, but their neighbors and communities."

"You're scaring the children," Pelosi repeated. "Now we have to continue to keep that pressure on [the president] to remove all doubt that we in our country respect people for their dignity and worth."

"Families belong together," the Speaker concluded.

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BUSTED: Trump appointee’s leaked testimony documents Kellyanne Conway’s ‘complete disregard’ for the law

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Newly leaked testimony from the chief of the White House’s Office of Special Counsel will justify calls for ousting White House counselor Kellyanne Conway by documenting her "complete disregard" for the law.

The Daily Beast reports that Henry Kerner, whom President Donald Trump appointed to lead the Office of Special Counsel, has submitted testimony to Congress in which he accuses Conway of going out of her way to knowingly flout the Hatch Act, which bars most executive branch employees from engaging in political activity.

"Her conduct hurts both federal employees, who may believe that senior officials can act with complete disregard for the Hatch Act, and the American people, who may question the nonpartisan operation of their government," Kerner's testimony states. "Ms. Conway’s conduct reflects not a misunderstanding of the law, but rather a disregard for it."

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Meghan McCain compares herself to Trump rape accuser: ‘I’m going to get raked over the coals’ for doubting her

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Meghan McCain doesn't doubt E. Jean Carroll's "pain" -- but she has some possible doubts about her claims that she was raped by President Donald Trump.

"The View" co-host agreed with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who wants to open an investigation into the author and columnist's allegations, but McCain cast doubts on the story.

"I think, 100 percent, we should open up that investigation," McCain said. "I think she deserves that."

But McCain admitted she wasn't entirely convinced by her claims.

"I watched the entire CNN interview, and she said well, maybe -- maybe," McCain said. "She seemed -- she also seemed at the time of this interview sort of -- she didn't seem to realize how big of a thing this would be, accusing our president of rape. It's not that I don't believe President Trump isn't capable of sexual assault and raping women. of course, we all heard of the 'grab them in the blank' tape."

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