No, not really. I mean, there wasn’t a specific study that sought to establish and quantify what “traditional news” and “trusted” mean, and then apply both of those defined measurements to John Oliver and random CNN hosts. But there was a Variety piece back in January that talked about what a great journalist Oliver is, and quoted a woman who studies media and gave some definitive opinions on it. In fact, it’s the same researcher who named Jon Stewart the Most Trusted News Anchor back in 2006. And if you think that’s not a substantive enough link to declare that Oliver is the person we want to get our news from, you probably missed Time Magazine’s headline about how smelling farts cures cancer.
Yes, Time did have to correct the article and change the headline. The correction reads:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly summarized the findings and implications of this study.
And while farting away cancer makes for a really amusing bit of party trivia, it means that a significant portion of the population is essentially science illiterate. We don’t understand how scientific studies are conducted or performed, we don’t care about small but important conclusions that most studies offer, and probably worst of all, we’re completely unwilling to believe even impeccably performed studies when their conclusions contradict our own personal experiences. I have to imagine unless we do a better job of teaching science in school and demanding transparency in studies, things will only get worse.
But I won’t believe any of it until America’s most trusted news man tells us.