PunditFact: Fox News wins battle for most-false cable network

Fox News has won the battle for most-false cable network.

A new survey by the Tampa Bay Times’ PunditFact, looking at the veracity of cable networks, found that Fox News won (or lost) the first prize for having the most falsehoods studied.

According to PunditFact, Fox News’ on-air talent were mostly false, false, or “pants on fire” 60% of the time.

MSNBC ranked second in falsehoods, at 46% of the time.

And CNN ranked a lowly (or uply) 18% level of falsehoods – meaning, CNN did a pretty good job getting it right.



fox-news-false-surveyNow, the survey admits that they only covered what they covered — meaning, they didn’t fact-check every fact ever said on the various networks.  But of the ones they checked, Fox lost.

The list of Fox-falsies is pretty stellar. Here are a few real doozies:

by default 2014-07-10 at 7.13.02 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.13.27 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.13.38 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.14.01 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.14.12 PM

by default 2014-07-10 at 7.14.38 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.15.14 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.16.05 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.16.15 PM by default 2014-07-10 at 7.16.28 PM

And here are a few of my favorite Fox-Falsies:

Fred Phelps’ anti-gay church is really “left wing.”

Fox on health care reform.

Fox on Libya.

And perhaps my all-time favorite: Fox on solar energy in Germany.

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68 Responses to “PunditFact: Fox News wins battle for most-false cable network”

  1. Mark says:

    This website itself has been shown to have false information on it over and over again mostly leaning to the left. Shameful to disguise yourselves as being for truth and accountability and duping the trusting individuals who would believe you have nothing but good intentions.

  2. Pat says:

    But… you believe they’re liars because they don’t tell the same story that Fox does, and the story Fox tells is demonstrably false–see above.

  3. oldwoman159 says:

    Well I don’t believe this guy, at least they tell the news, not like the other news channels trying to make us believe we are living in the land of Oz, and Obama and his cronies are doing a good job, Not. WHAT CLOUD DO YOU LIVE ON ??? Who do you believe, well I watch Fox, RT Television, BBC and other agencies. NOT abc, cbs, nbc, cnn, and msnbc.

  4. KarenJ says:

    1) Fox News is basic cable; MSNBC is the next tier up, which most bars, family restaurants, and nursing homes don’t bother paying for.
    2) Fox makes a deal with these major viewing audiences to give them a discount price to make Fox News their primary start-up channel, always on unless specifically requested otherwise by a viewer.

    So it’s no surprise Fox make claims about “most watched” and “popular”.

  5. AverageHomeboy says:

    But, how do you refute the quotes up there that have been proven false?

  6. Grandpas Delight says:

    And who do you think owns the Tampa Bay Times and thus controls the punditFact? I don’t trust any of them. I think for myself and as a whole the MSM has shown itself to be totally in the bag for the progressive left wing. Most people are waking up to that fact but they keep trying to gain back some respect but the have sold the American People out. Just look at who is running the country. The same group that run Detroit, Chicago and now NY City.

  7. treeher says:

    You’re an idiot. and that’s the truth

  8. dcinsider says:

    Everyone, I was being facetious. Jesus fucking Christ you people are ridiculous when replying. Relax the fuck up all of you. Wasn’t that obvious? Try not taking everything so literally.

  9. dcinsider says:

    60% of comments lack support.

  10. dcinsider says:

    My omniscient brain.

  11. dcinsider says:

    Good grief, folks. Sensitive, sensitive. Don’t get you tied dyed panties in a bunch, we all appreciate your leadership and I’m not THAT far behind you :)

  12. dcinsider says:

    I was being facetious. I guess that gets lost in the Interweb.

  13. antimarx says:

    What a typical liberal fool. “They don’t agree with me so what they say is false”.

  14. trmkc says:

    Great propaganda slur attempt by the liberal media.

  15. trmkc says:

    Talk about just making stuff up!

  16. gailimann says:

    Peyton . true that Jessica `s blurb is shocking, last
    monday I got a gorgeous Peugeot 205 GTi after having earned $6860 this past 4
    weeks an would you believe ten-k this past-month . with-out a doubt this is the
    easiest-job I’ve ever had . I actually started six months/ago and pretty much
    immediately started to bring in minimum $84… p/h . Read More Here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  17. carolynggarcia says:

    Josiah . although Jacqueline `s stori is surprising,
    last week I bought themselves a Chrysler from having made $5060 thiss month
    and-in excess of, 10/k last-month . it’s realy the easiest-work I have ever done
    . I started this 4 months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in at
    least $78 per-hour . why not look here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  18. 2karmanot says:

    Dam* right sister! :-)

  19. Colin says:

    I agree and most people with brains would also. However , that will hardly stop the wingnuts from using and twisting the Pew study when needed.

  20. Colin says:


  21. ChrisDC says:

    I’d say that’s probably about right but, as I’ve just seen Colin point out, below, MSNBC is quite open about their opinion shows. Their motto is “Lean Forward” (relatively recently selected, to be sure) while Fox’s is “Fair and Balanced.” Yeah. Right. (Like you’ll tip over if you’re any more “Right.”)

    Like a lot of people with political backgrounds, I’m kind of a news junkie. Although I am not a huge Chris Matthews fan, he said something once that was really quite telling and perceptive. He said, “Nobody should watch my show who hasn’t read a newspaper earlier in the day. If you haven’t done that, you won’t understand what’s going on.” (That’s a paraphrase, of course, but he was right.)

    I look at news throughout the day, including from outlets with a clear conservative bias. By the time evening rolls around, I’m ready for commentary from our side. To see how smart people with my same general political bent, but with different areas of expertise, are reading the same facts that I’ve already, independently, read.

    I don’t watch Chris Matthews or Ed Schultz all that much because I could pretty much write their shows. They’re totally predictable. The same with Al Sharpton. Rachel Maddow likes focusing on things that nobody else is paying attention to, and by doing that she, not infrequently reports actual news. Especially when it comes to infrastructure and defense policy. Lawrence O’Donnell has a background in tax and finance policy (which I don’t share), a background in health care policy (which I do share), and experience as a Senate staffer (while my experience was in the House). He spots stuff I might otherwise miss.

    And then I watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report so I can hear unexpected ways to laugh at the stupid stuff I’ve heard throughout the day, and go to sleep confident that the sun’s going to come up tomorrow.

  22. BeccaM says:

    The main thing is Fox News claims to be a news network, and furthermore assert their reporting somehow un-skews the biases of every other news network on cable or broadcast TV. They also claim to ask questions and report on stories other networks won’t carry.

    What’s especially insidious about all this is they really are a propaganda network simply pretending to be ‘fair and balanced’ news.

    Of the three networks, CNN is the one that can legitimately claim to be mosly ‘fair and balanced’ (although sadly they too often fail to refute bald-faced lies on the part of the right-wing guests). And while MSNBC makes no pretense at being anything other than a mostly-opinion network, they nevertheless will often invite conservatives on the various shows — and then get dinged as having failed to be truthful even when their hosts refute the lies of said guests. And then, like I said in yesterday’s comment, on MSNBC a host indulges in metaphorical hyperbole and is rated false or mostly false for it, whereas on Fox a host will flat out lie about something and earn no worse than a neutral rating.

    The problem, as ever, is Politifact appointed itself as an arbiter of truth, without necessarily deserving the trust that would go along with such a presumed role.

  23. emjayay says:

    You can also watch Steve and others at msnbc.com.

  24. emjayay says:

    But every Tea Partier and Antoin Scalia watch only Fox News

  25. emjayay says:

    msnbc gives opinion as opinion and facts as facts. Rachel Maddow has experts on something on, summares the issue, and then asks them if she got it right. Fox gives purported facts which are wrong and present them as facts, and in general news reporting ony reports on things that support or appear to support their opinions and presents them in a very slanted way besides. The Pew study results are meaningless.

  26. Houndentenor says:

    Fair enough. Sometimes some fact or part of a fact is misreported that makes no difference to the conclusion. That is still embarrassing for the news organization and usually results in the entire argument being picked apart and disregarded. We’ve seen this happen countless times. In the end, it’s a huge mistake for news organizations to allow these mistakes on the air or in print because they will be used against them. I guess it’s naive of me to think that anyone still employs fact-checkers or cares that facts are checked for accuracy. It’s rather obvious when reading or watching a news story about which you have some prior knowledge that there’s little effort to accurately report the news.

  27. rosariopwetzler says:

    Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
    on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  28. BeccaM says:

    Very good points.

  29. Naja pallida says:

    These are not entirely unknowable things. According to Nielsen, Fox Noise, during it’s peak viewership on any given night has somewhere around 3 million viewers. Only about
    half of which are over the age of 64. A ratio which repeats itself for CNN and MSNBC; about half their viewers under and about half over the age of 64. Even adding up all the cable news networks at their peak viewership, it only comes to around 4.5 million viewers. Twice as many people would rather watch a Big Bang Theory rerun.

    According to census data, people 65 and older make up about 13% of the population… so somewhere in the range of 41 million people. Simply put, cable news viewers do not make up a statistically significant portion of the country to specifically consider their opinion on much of anything.

  30. Colin says:

    The Pew study I spoke of below.

  31. BeccaM says:

    I heard it was 83%. ;-)

  32. Colin says:

    There was a Pew study that showed MSNBC to be more ‘opinionated’ than Fox . Here we go with the language again. MSNBC has always been up front with the fact that they lean to the liberal side. They are not the ones with the ‘fair and balanced’ tag at the same time they claim the President is a secret Muslim.

  33. Naja pallida says:

    PolitiFact offers no concrete methodology of how they come to the distinction, and seem to apply it completely randomly. Especially in the effort to seem less partisan.

    My personal take would be that “mostly true” is someone who is telling the truth, but got some some part of their statement caught up in hyperbole, without the specific intent to mislead. One area PolitiFact seems to fail horribly in is determining intent. They never make any effort to address the differences between someone who is obviously being intentionally deceitful versus someone who is just uninformed, ignorant and wrong.

  34. Zorba says:

    LOL! ;-)

  35. Houndentenor says:

    It was also the tone. I remember it well. Don’t try to snow me now.

  36. Houndentenor says:

    45% of statistics are made up!

  37. Houndentenor says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure what the difference is between “mostly true” and a lie. Does that mean they bent something true to make it sound like it meant something else? One is no more the truth than the other.

  38. Houndentenor says:

    The only one of them I actually miss is Steve Kornacki. (I recorded him. I did not get up that early on Saturday mornings!)

  39. Houndentenor says:

    It’s hard to lie when you don’t present any facts, just speculation. And they are all terrible about covering a story well past any facts and just sitting around guessing about what might happen next. I really don’t miss cable in my home. In fact I think I’m happier without it.

  40. Bob Munck says:

    Dittos, though I seldom agree with someone so much younger than I.

  41. BeccaM says:

    You might want to substantiate those numbers, otherwise it sounds like Barney Stinson on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ whose invented statistics always were 83%.

    Yes, most of Fox’s viewers are old people. But that does not mean most old people watch Fox News.

  42. Zorba says:

    Oh, really? How old are you, anyway?
    I am over 65, and I am still a far, far leftie. As are many of my friends and relatives of similar age.
    I was out on the streets, protesting the Vietnam War, protesting for Women’s Rights and Civil Rights, when I suspect that you were in grade school, in diapers, or a gleam in your parents’ eyes.
    Don’t make assumptions. It’s an insult.

  43. Bill_Perdue says:

    It was part and parcel of long term racist attack on Obama by the Clintons.

    Obama is a terrible president but racism just solidifies support for him.

  44. Naja pallida says:

    A question asked not because they want the answer, but because they want the reaction. No matter what she said, even if she refused to answer, they’d use it against her.

  45. Naja pallida says:

    Yeah, I can’t stand him either. About the only host on any network I can watch is Maddow, but only very specific segments.

    But if they’re going to rank things, it would be better to do it show by show, than just a blanket “whatever aired on this network” while completely ignoring that many of the lies told aren’t representing the network – but told by a guest on the network, espousing their personal opinion. They even fact checked Jay Leno. Seriously, a comedian making a point for no other reason than to get a laugh, with no actual intent to commentate, nor remote suggestion of being a political authority?

    PolitiFact is just trying to get up page views, with a blatantly skewed ranking system, which continues to perpetuate the myth that everyone lies and misrepresents basically equally. On that I give them a “Mostly False” ranking.

  46. nicho says:

    80 percent of those over 65 lack that capability? Do you have objective evidence for that or are you relying on your omniscient brain?

  47. nicho says:

    Too much trouble to figure that all out, which is why I don’t watch any of them. I’ve never been able to watch Matthews. He’s like someone on speed. I just can’t take it. It’s like the old John McLaughlin show where he spent the whole show interrupting people, yelling out things like “Wrong!” And generally being an asshole.

  48. nicho says:

    I’m no fan of Bill&Hill, Inc., but think about it for a second. That’s an answer that leaves open the possibility that the person asking the question is about to sandbag you. They ask the question and she says a flat-out “no.” Then, they whip out a photo of Obama at the Haj. So, now she’s “lying to cover up for Obama.” I would have the same answer. I have no evidence that he is and can’t prove that he isn’t. So, the best I can say is “I don’t think so. I’ve seen no evidence to support that. So, as far as I know, no.” I don’t think that’s as bad an answer as many people have made it out to be.

  49. Bill_Perdue says:

    “Obama is a secret Muslim,” says someone (everyone?) on Fax. … Foxies will believe anything they’re told and don’t want to know the real story.

    They’re not the only ones.

    “Hillary Clinton’s Campaign IEDs (Insinuations, Exaggerations and Distortions) – The Clintons have built their entire political lives on the premise that if they can’t win pretty, they’ll
    settle for winning ugly. … “Is Obama a Muslim.” Hillary was asked on 60-Minutes. “No. Not as far as I know,” she replied”

  50. BeccaM says:

    Another important thing is to ask “Who is doing the lying on these networks?” And what does that do to Politifact’s skewed representation of what is happening.

    A conservative Republican lies on Fox. The hosts agree with the falsehood. Politifact rates it as ‘mostly false’ and moves on.

    A conservative Republican lies on MSNBC or CNN. The hosts point out the statement is false. Politifact rates the original statement as ‘false’, but doesn’t account for the refutation, and moves on.

  51. dcinsider says:

    Frankly, I don’t need “objective” evidence that Fox News is garbage. I have a brain, and I’m capable of seeing through BS. That is all you need.

    Sadly, about half the population, and approximately 80% of those over 65, lack that capability. Thus Fox News gets great ratings.

  52. BeccaM says:

    Um, we’re talking Politifact here, hardly an unbiased source of analysis. Their system of rating things true or false is all over the map, and skews heavily towards giving establishment conservatives a pass, while assigning ‘false’ ratings to things progressives say simply because there’s some small problem with how it was said.

    As Nicho says, Fox will take some ridiculous statement — like “government death panels will enact euthanasia” — add a few details that actually are true, such as panels of medical professionals providing recommendations for what treatments should be required to be covered under insurance standards, and Politifact will call it “half true” or “mostly true.” Same thing with their constant repetition of the BS claims that Obama isn’t a ‘natural born’ citizen or that he’s a ‘secret Muslim who hates America.’

    Meanwhile on MSNBC, some Democrat being interviewed will engage in hyperbole and earn a ‘false’ or ‘mostly false’. Rachel Maddow makes the metaphorical statement that Oklahoma’s new tax on solar energy installations –“It will essentially fine people for the crime of using solar power.” — and earns a “mostly false” rating. Worse, if you look at the actual quote list, know where most of the outright false or pants-on-fire remarks come from? Conservative GOP interviewees and pundits! Ralph Reed saying millennials are more ‘pro-life’, Larry Pratt claiming smart guns don’t work, Joe Scarborough demonstrating his clueless ignorance yet again on climate change, and so on. Others make no sense at all — like Michael Eric Dyson noting that the Sunday morning news shows have “usually been given over to conservative white men” (and the numbers bear this up), yet Politifact rated that observation as “mostly false.” (Media Matters did a rather thorough analysis: http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/01/30/report-the-demographics-of-the-sunday-morning-p/197783)

    The other night, Chris Hayes had on some GOPer Representative from Texas (forget his name) who flat out lied over and over about the border immigration situation down there — with Chris refuting him over and over on the details, usually with dropped-jaw incredulity. I’m sure Politifact looked at that and rated his show as racking up dozens of ‘mostly false’ and ‘pants-on-fire’ ratings, despite the fact it was a conservative GOPer doing all the lying, dissembling, and misrepresentations, and despite Hayes scrambling to refute the Gish Gallop BS.

    BTW, the same thing is the case over on CNN. If you look through their list of quotes, nearly all of the false statements came from conservative guests. The two pants-on-fire quotes in their list? Ted Nugent lying about being an undercover cop, and Nancy Pfotenhauer lying about the ACA causing skyrocketing insurance premiums.

    Meanwhile, back over on Fox, they’ll have a desk or sofa full of pundits openly talking about how much Obama the Seekrit Mooslim hates America, why oh why does he hate America so much won’t he have a photo-op at the border fence so we can berate him for having a pointless photo-op that also proves he hates America — and there’s nobody saying, “You guys are full of it.”

    But again, Nicho is right: It’s the stuff that Politifact will give a ‘mostly true’ rating to that are the most troublesome, because of the damage they do.

  53. Naja pallida says:

    It’d probably be as close of a comparison as this is.

  54. Naja pallida says:

    I kinda wish they’d do the same thing, but rank individual shows. How do you suppose Sean Hannity stacks up to Chris Matthews? Or simply narrowed it down to only hosts and paid contributors, and not did very selective picking and choosing of guests and comedians.

  55. Naja pallida says:

    Exactly. PolitiFact flushed it’s credibility down the toilet long ago by being entirely subjective in which “facts” it chooses to represent, and which rating to give them. I applaud the concept, but they’ve fallen prey to the same thing media companies like CNN have… assuming there’s always two sides to every story, and treating blatant bullshit as a valid counterpoint to reality.

  56. Colin says:

    Faux News is not there to disseminate information and they couldnt care less. That is not their mission.

  57. nicho says:

    Actually, the patently false and “pants on fire” don’t bother me as much as the others. They’re easily debunked and proven false. The worst are actually the “mostly true.” This is the area where the propagandist works best. You take a thread of falsehood and weave it tightly into something that is mostly true. Many people, most people, don’t have the ability to unravel that to get at the lie. And even if you can, trying to explain it to people takes a time and patience and the average person doesn’t have the attention span to follow that argument.

    Yes, Fox has a lot of false and pants on fire, but that’s because their readership doesn’t care about the truth. So even if you can easily debunk it, they won’t believe you. Also, they frame it in such a way that, in trying to refute it, you have to prove the negative, which is impossible.

    “Obama is a secret Muslim,” says someone (everyone?) on Fax. How do you refute that? There’s no way. Even if you point out that he’s never been to a mosque, that’s because he’s a “secret Muslim.” But it doesn’t matter. Foxies will believe anything they’re told and don’t want to know the real story.

    The falsehoods that scare me are the ones that are “mostly true,” because they do a lot more damage, and suck in well-meaning people of all political persuasions.

  58. countervail says:

    Umm, let’s be clear here. Giving credibility to Politifact as an actual, disinterested fact checking organization is like saying the pundits on 24/7 news channels are just there to discuss the facts. This organization goes out of it’s way to shade their evaluations in a way that’s completely unacceptable. They often score something “true” despite larger concerns or questions, and score other things “false” when they decide some smaller concern or questions negates an entire larger argument. They are not to be considered legitimate.

  59. bkmn says:

    The reason CNN didn’t do worse is that they just stick to one story and run with it 24/7 like they did with the missing Malaysian flight.

  60. Bill_Perdue says:

    They’re part of the kept press. Fox lies for Republicans, MSNBC for the Democrats and for Putin and CNN for everyone. They’re largely worthless.

  61. Elijah Shalis says:

    here here

  62. nicho says:

    Yes. This shows how statistics can cloud the issue. Truth is binary. It’s like being pregnant. Either yes or no. The sad fact is that the truth of statements on the cable news chatter channels doesn’t rise above 8 percent. This is why the only time I watch them is for an ongoing news event. Even then, when they run out of facts, the need to keep their lips moving means they bring people on to make shit up. “Well, Bob, given that you used to work in the front office of an oil company 10 years ago, what do you think might have made the refinery blow up?”

  63. Houndentenor says:

    But even CNN only got a 20% “True” rating. “Mostly true” is still a lie. A cleverer lie, perhaps, but still a falsehood. I guess with the bar this low, that’s a win but CNN should be embarrassed by that figure. They won’t be, but they should, and that tells you everything you need to know about the sorry state of the modern news media.

  64. Jonas Grumby says:

    Explains why in raw numbers, if cable “news” was serialized TV it wouldn’t get beyond 2 episodes. No one watched that drek.

  65. Silver_Witch says:

    Fox is just a propaganda disbursement organization. It is where they get their talking points for the day.

  66. Bill_Perdue says:

    Why didn’t they ask which was most homophobic.

  67. bkmn says:

    Completely unsurprising. People who watch Fux Snooz say they want that fair and balanced thing they made up at Fux. What they really want is to hear news that fits in with their twisted world view. Wouldn’t want to pop that bubble after all.

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