Claim that Fox News viewers are uninformed is unfounded

Paul DeWitt /


A recent In My View by Lynette Sheffield cites PolitiFact as the source for her contention that “Fox News viewers are the least informed” of those who watch news channels, and “even less informed than those who don’t watch any news at all.” She goes on to accuse Republicans of making false claims far more frequently than Democrats, once again using PolitiFact as the basis for her claim. Ms. Sheffield uses a biased source for her information.

According to Media Trackers, “PolitiFact Florida, a self-appointed political fact-checking group employed by the ultra-liberal Tampa Bay Times, has a glaring record of political bias ... (and) gives strikingly more negative rulings against Republicans than Democrats, often employing twisted logic and flat-out falsehoods to justify its rulings.”

At best, Ms. Sheffield’s accusations can be attributed to a dearth of factual information. At worst, they are the product of a mentality afflicting many liberals: a hatred of Republicans, tea party members and anyone who does not share their views.

Following the calumny about Fox News viewers being ill informed, Ms. Sheffield attempts to cite examples of false Republican claims. She focuses on statements by Republican leaders regarding the economy, specifically the growth in the federal deficit under Obama and the adverse impact of Obamacare.

Ms. Sheffield asserts that these statements are lies based on her contention that the deficit is actually decreasing, the stock market has improved, and Obamacare will reduce spending.

A few facts are in order to correct the distortions in Ms. Sheffield’s article.

While the deficit is indeed projected to decrease below the trillion-dollar deficits experienced in each of the first four years of the Obama administration, thanks to increased revenues and the sequester, the accumulated debt will continue to increase at an unprecedented rate and is approaching $17 trillion. The debt was $11.9 trillion when Obama took office and is projected to be $20 trillion by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

The stock market has indeed improved in the last two years, not due to any Obama economic initiatives but the fact that businesses have reduced costs and increased profits, and the Fed has kept inflation at near zero by “quantitative easing” (printing money to increase liquidity) while unemployment remains at unacceptably high levels.

The performance of the stock market is in spite of the Obama administration’s economic policies, not because of them. The economy is experiencing the weakest recovery since World War II.

Ms. Sheffield’s defense of Obamacare is surprising given the fact that the administration is selectively delaying implementation, and even some of its most fervent supporters, the labor unions, are begging for Obamacare to be modified or repealed now that they understand the impact it will have on their members. Among the unintended consequences of Obamacare are a dearth of primary care doctors and those willing to treat Medicare patients as the effects of the Affordable Care Act begin to be felt.

Furthermore, the Obama “recovery” is jeopardized by business reluctance to hire full-time employees and the reduction of hours of current employees to part-time to avoid having to comply with Obamacare regulations.

Interestingly, to close her diatribe, Ms. Sheffield uses a quote by Thomas Sowell regarding the importance of public understanding of the difference in whether the media are “reporting news or manufacturing propaganda” and should “choose their news sources accordingly.”

Mr. Sowell is a conservative commentator and senior fellow with the Hoover Institute at Stanford. Mr. Sowell was writing specifically about the well-documented liberal bias of the mainstream media, a primary reason many conservatives and others who wish to have a more objective news source turn to Fox News.