A study released last week claims that Fox News viewers have an average IQ of 80 - which is 20 points lower than the national average.
The study has won national media attention via Yahoo News, where it's been Tweeted 500+ times and gained over 600 comments. It's become one of the top ten "hot" politics topics on Reddit, and it was also written up at the Daily Paul.
Unfortunately, the study looks a lot like a hoax.
The Yahoo story is based on a press release supposedly published by the "Intelligence Institute," a supposed think-tank that doesn't exist. The press release provides no links to the "Institute" or to the study – the only link takes you to an unrelated study published by Fairleigh Dickinson University in May.
The study's alleged author, P. Nichols, told a remarkably unconvincing story when reached by phone. He explained to PJMedia's Charlie Martin that he couldn't release the study because of a confidentiality agreement. And he confessed to a very dubious method: he collected data by calling households in rural areas where he suspected residents would be ill-informed and uneducated. In other words, he deliberately chose study participants likely to seem "low IQ."
"Nichols" also cited a spurious-sounding motive for his study: he told PJMedia that it was commissioned by a Republican group who wanted to discredit the Tea Party (and presumably Fox-watching) sector of the GOP.