Briefly, from Editor & Publisher:
The results of the new Pew Survey on News Consumption (taken every two years and released this afternoon) suggest that viewers of the "fake news" programs "The Daily Show"and "The Colbert Report" are more knowledgeable about current events (as judged by three test questions) than watchers of "real" cable news shows hosted by Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and Larry King, among others -- as well as average consumers of NBC, ABC, Fox News, CNN, C-SPAN and daily newspapers.
From Pew Research, Key News Audiences Now Blend Online and Traditional Sources:
The public continues to express skepticism about what they see, hear and read in the media. No major news outlet - whether broadcast or cable, print or online - stands out as particularly credible.
There has been little change in public perceptions of the credibility of most major news organizations between 2006 and 2008. Over the last 10 years, however, virtually every news organization or program has seen its credibility marks decline.
In 1998, for example, 42% of those who could rate CNN gave it the highest rating for credibility (four on a scale from one to four). That fell to 28% in 2006, and remains low in the current survey (30%). Credibility ratings for several other television news organizations - including the three major broadcast news outlets - also have declined since 1998. Comparable percentages say they can believe all or most of what NBC News (24%), ABC News (24%) and CBS News (22%) report (based on those who can rate those organizations).
Credibility ratings for the Fox News Channel have remained largely stable in recent years. Currently, 23% say they can believe all or most of what they hear from Fox, down slightly from 2006 and 2004 (25%).
About a quarter (27%) who can rate NPR give it the highest credibility rating, up five points since 2006. NPR is viewed as somewhat more credible today than in 1998 (27% vs. 19%). The credibility ratings for local TV news also have gone up a bit since the last media consumption survey (from 23% to 28%). But a decade ago, 34% said what they saw and heard on their local TV news was highly credible.
On Jon Stewart and Rush:
Regular viewers of The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart are much more liberal than the public at large. More than a third of Colbert's regular viewers (36%) describe their political views as liberal and 45% of regular Daily Show viewers say they are liberal. The audiences for these two shows are roughly equal in size; 19% watch The Colbert Report regularly or sometimes while 23% watch The Daily Show.
Despite the ideological bent of many of these talk show audiences, majorities of the shows' viewers say they prefer to get political news from sources that don't have a particular political point of view rather than sources that share their point of view. Rush Limbaugh's regular listeners are among the most likely to say they prefer sources that share their point of view - 37% express this view while 53% say they prefer news sources that don't have a particular point of view. Similarly, 37% of Larry King's regular audience prefers sources that share their political views. Stephen Colbert's viewers are among the least likely to seek out sources that reflect their political views. Only 15% of regular viewers of The Colbert Report say they prefer news sources that share their point of view, while 79% say they prefer sources without a political point of view.
Check put the whole report here.