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Canadians who consume mainstream media likely to be misinformed research study finds

According to the report, Canadians who were exposed to traditional media outlets like CBC and CTV News, are more likely to be misinformed on basic policy issues.

A Liberal-connected think tank released a telling report indicating that the mainstream media is one of the main sources for misinformation among Canadians.

The research was conducted by the Public Policy Forum and is part of the group’s “Digital Democracy Project” which seeks to investigate the media landscape in the country ahead of the 2019 election. 

“Survey respondents who read or watched more traditional news media were less likely to express uncertainty about policy questions than those with low consumption, but more likely to give an incorrect response,” claims the report. 

According to the report, Canadians who were exposed to traditional media outlets like CBC and CTV News, are more likely to be misinformed on basic policy issues. 

Public Policy Forum has come under scrutiny in the past for its close ties with Liberal Party elite. According to Terence Corcoran from the Financial Post, a 2017 awards event by the group “turned out to be an all-star Big “L” Liberal event that essentially doubled as a fundraiser for the Liberal Party of Canada policy agenda.” 

Over 1000 Canadians were asked to participate in the study. They were then asked to answer questions on basic policy.

Respondents with high levels of traditional news media exposure reported uncertainty in the answer to our fact-based questions 2 fewer times than those with lower levels of media consumption,” says the report.

“They gave 0.9 more correct responses; however, they also gave 1.1 more incorrect responses, which means they gave 0.2 more net-incorrect responses than those with lower exposure.

At the same time, those who consume most of their news from social media are more vulnerable to misinformation. 

“The one troubling point seems to be that, while social media exposure is associated with higher levels of misinformation, so is exposure to traditional or mainstream media (though to a lesser extent),” states the report. 

The report comes at a time when the Liberal government has pledged millions in funding to fight disinformation and “fake news” out of fear of potential interference in the upcoming federal election. However, the report found that Canadians are still overwhelmingly consuming their news from traditional sources which is helping to spread inaccurate views about issues like immigration, the economy and the environment.

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