Eric Alterman is the latest pundit to make the unproven claim that Fox News reduces the information levels of its viewers:
I've got a new "Think Again," called "Modest and Respectful No More," here, and the reason I idiotically went to New Hampshire in the first place, a Creative Coalition panel on the debates I did not witness, is here on the invaluable fora.tv.
Note, by the way, how angry Frank Luntz gets when I note that Fox News cannot really be considered a news source since studies by the University of Maryland and elsewhere demonstrate that its viewers are consistently misinformed about the news by its ideologically slanted and frequently false reports.
But as I've noted before, the finding that Fox News viewers have lower information levels than, say, New York Times readers isn't necessarily an indictment of Fox News. It could just be that people with lower levels of information tend to watch the channel.
To take a converse example, Weekly Standard readers probably have higher knowledge levels than, say, people who watch Good Morning America, but that doesn't prove that the Weekly Standard is a superior news source.
Of course, there's a good chance that Fox News misinforms its viewers, but to establish that claim, we'd have to randomly expose people to Fox News or another source, then compare what they learned.