this is your brain on ‘fair and balanced’

This is a wee bit old, but I thought I’d link to it anyway. A new study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes shows that the majority of Americans have held at least one of three misperceptions about the war in Iraq. The three misperceptions are: that the US has found WMD in Iraq; that Saddam was connected to the September 11 attacks; and that people in foreign countries generally backed the invasion. The more interesting part of the survey is that there was a relationship between these incorrect perceptions and the major news source of the people polled: 80% of Fox viewers held at least one of these misperceptions, as opposed to 47% of newspaper readers and only 23% of NPR listeners. There is also another interaction between mistaken perceptions and whether or not a person was likely to support the war:

Among those with one of the three misconceptions, 53 percent supported the war. Among those with two, 78 percent supported it. Among those with three, 86 percent backed it. By contrast, less than a quarter of those polled who had none of the misconceptions backed the war.

Although many in the pro-war crowd wanted the war simply because of regime change and not because of these perceptions, I think it’s still a significant finding that those who were misinformed were more likely to support the invasion.


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