October 12, 2003

"Uh, sorry guys, but that one is true"

You remember the recent study that found that Fox News viewers are much more likely to hold "misperceptions" about the invasion of Iraq than the socially-acceptable people who like NPR? As various bloggers noted, the kicker is that the list of misperceptions doesn't include any of those misperceptions that NPR listeners happen to favor. Some of them noted by Andrew Sullivan:

Imagine an opposite kind of poll asking, for example:
  • Did President Bush claim before the war that the threat to the US from Iraq's WMD was imminent?
  • Do a majority of Iraqis support the US invasion?
  • Did the US sell significant amounts of arms to Saddam Hussein?
  • Was the toppling of the Saddam statue at the end of the war staged?
A poll asking these or similar questions would doubtless find that Fox News viewers have the most accurate grasp of reality and NPR listeners the least.
Now Cori Dauber has had time to scrutinize the study. She says that some of the "misperceptions" aren't misperceptions at all!
....I've now had a chance to go through the thing with a fine tooth comb and its worse than that. The "misperceptions" the study wanted to know if people had internalized are themselves misperceptions. In their words: "Perhaps the most striking misperception is the belief that, not only were there links between Saddam Hussein and al-Queda, but that actual evidence had been found." Uh, sorry guys, but that one is true. A Toronto Star reporter found documents of a link in the burnt out shell of the Interior Ministry after the war. Is there evidence of joint operations ? No. Is there evidence that they were linked in some way? Yes, and I still do not understand the resistance to accepting that evidence. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard recently did an excellent piece rounding up all the evidence in one place, but this myth that there is no evidence continues....
She also notes that the famous poll showing 7 out of 10 Americans believed that Saddam was involved in 9-11 actually just asked if they thought this was likely. Not quite the same thing. But I'm sure that misperception will be cherished in the hearts of NPR types at least until the year 2055. Nothing makes them glow like the thought that ordinary Americans are morons...

Posted by John Weidner at October 12, 2003 9:13 AM
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