Jun
08
2012

Does Fox Hire Uninformed Pundits—or Does Being on Fox Make You Uninformed?

On the popular Fox News show the Five (6/6/12), co-host Eric Bolling blasted Muslim advocates who are suing the New York Police Department over its spying program targeting Muslims, saying that in the last 15 years, "Every terrorist on American soil has been a Muslim."

In fact, Muslims are responsible for a tiny fraction of terrorism in the U.S.; as a Rand study pointed out in 2010 (Extra!, 5/11), of the "83 terrorist attacks in the United States between 9/11 and the end of 2009, only three…were clearly connected with the jihadist cause."

Bolling has made a habit of broadcasting false information about terrorism in the U.S.  Last year (7/13/11), he bizarrely claimed that there hadn't been any terrorism on American soil when George W. Bush was in office. He later (7/14/11) amended that to say "in the aftermath of 9/11"–which is equally untrue (FAIR Blog, 7/15/11).

Studies have suggested a correlation between primarily relying on Fox News for your information about the world and ignorance about basic facts. Those studies do not address whether the relationship is causal—in other words, it isn't clear if watching Fox News makes one ignorant, or if less-informed people are somehow drawn to Fox News. Eric Bolling's popularity on Fox does not clear up that question.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.