Jon Stewart Was Flat-Out Wrong About Fox News Viewers

On Sunday, Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and claimed that Fox News viewers are ill-informed.

But in an embarrassing moment for Stewart, it turns out that he himself isn’t terribly well informed. Politifact has done some fact checking, and it turns out that Fox News viewers are actually better informed than the viewers of a lot of other news content.

…we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets — such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks — often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows — such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show — actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.

Meanwhile, the other set of knowledge surveys, from, offer mixed support for Stewart. The 2003 survey strikes us as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has been critiqued for its methodology.

The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are “consistently” misinformed — a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that “every poll” shows that result. So we rate his claim False.

I wouldn’t expect Stewart to retract his comments. But there is some irony in this.

Stewart, clearly, hates Fox News. But he loves going on Fox to promote his books and stuff.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • headward

    “Stewart, clearly, hates Fox News. But he loves going on Fox to promote his books and stuff.”

    Go where the ratings are.

  • realitybasedbob

    Yes, Stewart should have said many polls have Pox viewers at or near the bottom of the barrel, not every poll.

    • Wayne

      Anti-realitybasedboob, the person that knows all about Fox News but never watches it.  He doesn’t have to watch it, the democrats and the biased MSM competition tells him all he needs to know.

  • Ggulrud

    Back when I viewed the news on TV,  Fox was more substantive than the others.   Nonetheless, anyone who gets the bulk of their news via the legacy MSM is going to be comparatively uninformed.

    The only viewers of Stewart I know personally are range billy’s.

    • LastBestHope

      ok…I did a Google but no help. What are “range billy’s”?

      • VocalYokel

        I can’t claim to know in what context Ggulrud used the term, but I first heard ‘Rangebillies’ while visiting my Mom’s people (Hillbillies) in the Ozarks some years ago.
        There it was apparently used to refer to what we in Minnesota called ‘Flatlanders’…i.e. folks who inhabited the Great Plains, for us, especially ND.
        Since I lived in an area with some resorts, they usually arrived in the summer to populate camping and swimming areas that we would rather have had to ourselves.
        Of course their presence was ameliorated by the fact that they brought tourist dollars, teenage daughters, and would sometimes even buy us beer.

  • DopeyDem

    It must be hard to do polls on CNN, MSNBC, MTV and Comedy Central viewers. Moms don’t always install phones in their basements.

  • awfulorv

    Sarah’s got it right. Have as little as possible to do with sickos like Stewart who is such a stand up guy, yet feels the need to hide his Jewish name. Next he’ll be converting to Islam in order to attract a few more viewers.  Did someone say Shallow?

  • Guest

    I’d like to see the questions that were asked to make the determination of what “well-informed” means. Because they are certainly not being informed from the likes of Hannity or O’Reilly. Of course, they are not being informed via the main stream media in general. All you get on the networks and cable is propaganda – so in reality you need to change the definition from informed to programmed (and delusionally so).

    • Rob

      Right.  I guess we should all b like you and get info from…where?

      Are you mind reading these people?

    • robert108

      “Because they are certainly not being informed from the likes of Hannity or O’Reilly.”

      Better informed than by Rather, Maddow, Cronkite and Couric.

      • twoplanker

        Nobody learns anything from Cronkite.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    I have it on good information that Jon Stewart is a douchebag

    • Fred

      You, my good man, are extremely well-informed as well as astute.

    • headward

      many polls show that he is

  • Goon

    Hey Rob you know that facts don’t matter to Liberals.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Fox News viewers are actually better informed than the viewers of a lot of other news content.

    News content? Sounds like you are carefully avoiding words in order to not embarrass yourself or others.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Turns out Politifact does a report on uninformed people via pop quiz regarding things like: who is our VP and things of that nature.  Stewart was talking about misinformed people who are getting lies fed to them…and generally are being informed incorrectly on issues.


  • Gil


    Yes, you are, pansy.

  • borborygmi