If you've ever thought that the sheep who get all their information from watching Fox News couldn't be very smart, then you are right. At least that's the conclusion of a study done by the researchers at The Intelligence Institute (a non-profit conservative organization). In a comprehensive four year study, the group tested 5,000 people with a series of tests measuring everything from cognitive aptitude to common sense. Among this sample of people were 2,650 people who depended on Fox news for all of their "news".
Not surprisingly, they found that the Fox news viewers were not as smart as the other group (which got their news from other sources, or didn't watch news programs at all) -- and the gap was a pretty large one. The average IQ of the Fox-only viewers was 80, while the average IQ of those who watched other news sources (or none at all) was 104. For reference, the IQ of the average American is 100, and the level below which a person is generally considered to be mentally retarded is about 70.
While the researchers said people with an IQ of 80 can lead happy and fulfilled lives -- it is still significantly below the IQ of the average American. Here's the interesting way the lead researcher put it:
"Less intelligent animals rely on instinct when confronted by something which they do not understand. This is an ancient survival reaction all animals, including humans, exhibit. It's a very simple phenomenon, really; think about a dog being afraid of a vacuum cleaner. He doesn't know what a vacuum is or if it may harm him, so he becomes agitated and barks at it. Less intelligent humans do the same thing. Concepts that are too complex for them to understand, may frighten or anger them. . .Fox News' content is presented at an elementary school level and plays directly into the fears of the less educated and less intelligent."
There was one question the study didn't answer though -- Is Fox News only watched by less intelligent people, or does watching Fox News make people less intelligent? I suspect it may be a bit of both.
NOTE -- It seems that this is a hoax, or a bad prank (even though several real studies have shown virtually the same thing). I apologize, since I really don't care for pranks of this sort and should have checked it out better. I am leaving the post up though, since I deserve to look stupid for posting about it. Here's some of what News Corpse had to say about it:
A press release was published this morning on Yahoo! News with a provocative headline declaring that an“Intelligence Institute Study shows Fox News viewers have an IQ that is 20 points lower than the U.S. National average.” The article went on to assert that “Americans who watch Fox News have an average IQ of 80.”
The underlying conclusions of this “study” are affirmed by research conducted by a number of reputable organizations including the University of Maryland,NBC/Wall Street Journal, and the Sunlight Foundation. Unfortunately, this study, and the “Intelligence Institute,”appear to be figments of some prankster’s imagination. There is no evidence that the institute exists and the sole source for the Yahoo! item is a press release that contains no verifiable identifying data. . .
[Update:} The Huffington Post contacted the “PR guru” who is responsible for the phony press release. He admits that much of what is in the release is false, but maintains that a study of some sort was actually conducted. I doubt it. The misstatements to which he admits pretty much kill his credibility, and his alternate explanations are no more believable than his original BS. It is nonetheless, pretty funny.