Ignorance, War, Lies, and Fox News


Study: Wrong impressions helped support Iraq war

"A majority of Americans have held at least one of three mistaken impressions about the U.S.-led war in Iraq, according to a new study released Thursday, and those misperceptions contributed to much of the popular support for the war

The three common mistaken impressions are that:

U.S. forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

There’s clear evidence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein worked closely with the Sept. 11 terrorists.

People in foreign countries generally either backed the U.S.-led war or were evenly split between supporting and opposing it.

Overall, 60 percent of Americans held at least one of those views in polls reported between January and September by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, based at the University of Maryland in College Park, and the polling firm, Knowledge Networks based in Menlo Park, Calif.
“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.”

The article is accompanied by a graph comparing news sources to relative ignorance quotient. Would it surprise anyone here to be advised that Fox News was the news outlet of choice for Ignorant-Americans. PBS/NPR, by comparison, is a veritable fount of truth. (As a daily devotee of the Leher Report, I indulge myself in smug satisfaction. Hey, only human.)

I am uncertain as to how to frame the debate, what resolution to put forward. Howzabout “Faux News: We Distort, You Decide!”

(Mods: Should this fail to meet your standards for a GD Thread, please feel free to slide it over to the Pit. Likely will end up there anyway.)

Well for someone being smug about others being under false impressions, it’s kind of ironic that you think this article suggests Fox News has distorted or falsified anything.

Correlation does not prove causality. Do you have any cites that FOX News reported any of the “three common mistakes” as fact?

Of course. You’re quite right. Correlation does not prove causality. But its mighty damned suggestive, don’t you think?

Of course, it might well be that the persons cited therein were utterly ignorant before exposure to FOX, and remained in that blissful state ever after.

(I remain entirely confident that you, yourself, are not a victim of any of those utterly vacuous premises.)

As to examples of FOX news reporting falsehoods, you would have to ask someone who would be caught dead watching it.

Since according to the poll 60% of respondants held at least one of the three misconceptions and only 18% listed Fox as their primary news source, one might wonder if maybe a different conclusion is warrented.

Of course, since the prior question about news sources failed to distinguish between sources of “news” and “information,” one might also wonder if the poll designers should go back to undergraduate work at Quinnipiac or UofM or wherever they came from and whether the poll doesn’t really tell much at all <i>vis a vis</a> Fox or any other news source.

Well, you’re right about one thing: This is a thread about ignorance.

Seldon does a GD thread original poster get so neatly hoist by his own petard… or his own canard, as the case may be.

The sources cited certainly invite the inference that popular support for the war was high amongst people who held inaccurate views about certain key facts.

As everyone else has noted, however, there is absolutely nothing here to support the conclusion that Fox News had anything to do with it.

But by phrasing the original post in this way, the original poster commits the very sin he would have his readers incorrectly infer Fox News did.

To borrow a phrase from Nelson Muntz, of the Springfield Muntzes: “Ha, ha!”

  • Rick

I commend your recent improvement in eloquence, however borrowed. I cringe to think how you might sting me with a quote from PeeWee Herman.

However, since you bring it up… Other posters, whose tastes are more liberal and encompassing than mine own, have noted in these very pages how often, in the Recent Unpleasantness, that Faux News rushed to advise a breathless public about the most recent discovery of the “smoking gun”, the absitively posolutely irrefutable proof of WMDs.

Oddly enough, when those claims proved to be unfounded, as they invariably did, such news was crowded out by footage of Fearless Leader jutting out his tremulous chin in manly defiance.

Truth be know, however, Fox’s craven fellation of GeeDubya and his cronies is less than the point. If Fox News is in no wise responsible for the drastic disinformation of our fellow citizens, who is? Unless, of course, you wish to put forth the proposition that those positions, as noted, were all true.

In which case, I should like to offer you brochures towards an career in typewriter repair.

Such a chain of thought requires a link or two.

Such a request requires us to believe you don’t remember…

Well, whether Fox News in particular or not is to blame, I think this study really shoots a huge gaping hole in the concept of the “liberal media.” At worst, the media here parrotted the conservative line or gave undue media coverage to those holding that line. At best, if you believe it was simply better propagandizing by the conservatives than the liberals outside of the media, then the media failed to provide the sort of analysis that would allow the public to learn the truth in these unambiguous cases.

At any rate, if one believes the purpose of the media in a democracy is to make the public better informed, it clearly failed here. This should be of way, way more of a concern to people than whether the term “ultraconservative” is used more than “ultraliberal” or some such nonsense that these media debates have tended to focus on (with lots of help from the Media Research Center, “Bias” author Goldberg and other perveyors of this bullshit).

Fox is at least very slow and reluctant to remind its audience that Iraq didn’t have WMDs or that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. It presents little or nothing which is critical of the Bush or the war and the idiots on the opinion shows are all shameless cheerleaders for the same.

It’s gotten a lot worse lately. A couple of days ago I saw Linda Vester bending herself into a pretzel trying to smear Joseph Wilson and exonerate the White House in the Plame scandal. Tony Snow and Brit Hume are also unapolgetic lapdogs for Bush. The network is a joke. I can’t believe that anyone takes it seriously as a news channel. Intelligent people understand that it’s propaganda, don’t they? It’s not just “leaning” in the way that CNN was once alleged to be, it’s flat out, hard sell, GOP politicking. I think it requires a low IQ to believe that it’s any kind of a legitimate news outlet. FNC knows that it has an audience of mostly morons and does nothing to remove any ignorance by that audience which is helpful to their cause.

Hell, most Fox fans probably think Bush won the election in 2000.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about a populace most of whom cannot name their own Representative or Senators, probably can’t name the VP (no jokes about his being in hiding, please), and couldn’t locate Iraq on a map if their lives depended on it. We’ve all seen the poll numbers of how many people believe a literal interpretaion of Genesis and I hate to think how many people still think Elvis is alive.

“The General Public Is Ignorant of Some Important Facts” is, unfortunately not news. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit. And the fact of the matter is, the answers are there for anyone with the slightest interest in finding them.

My bolding.

With Bush standing in for Gore in all those Presidential appearances, it’s no wonder they’re confused.:rolleyes:

Nice try to divert our attention. But, the fact that they believe these incorrect “facts” in this case is correlated with the fact that our leaders and their supporters have consistently implied things that are not true or have used “bait and switch” techniques to sell the war on Iraq as the war on Al Quaida and so on. And, the media has done little to disabuse people of their ignorance.

The public is not ignorant by accident or neglect here…They are ignorant by design.

Let me guess, you think the New York Times or BBC are fair and unbiased news sources?

**Aw hellfire and damnation, the moment I saw this line, phrased in the way it was, I knew someone was gonna chomp on it. Sure enough, Johnny the Maceman pounced like a horny prom-boy.

Here lemme rephrase it in a way that John won’t find so objectionable (read: won’t be able to find a factual objection to).

See, Diogenes? You have to phrase it like a lawyer would: No loopholes, no wiggle room, no chances given.

Good point, The New York Times has become pretty right-wing lately…

As for the BBC, well, I have noticed that publicly funded, democratically run news organizations tend to be more accurate in their reporting than corporate news organizations. The reason for which should be obvious to anyone who isn’t blinded by free-market ideology: The former is run on the ideal that the public needs to know, and they try earnestly to inform the public with the best information they can find. The latter is run with only one motive, and that motive is profit. The best way to profit with news is to sell the news people want to hear.

It should come as no surprise that the people wanted to hear that their government is doing the right thing.

Brutus, I can’t ask you to agree with me. I can’t tell you what to think. But I can make one simple request: The next time you hear that little whisper of doubt in the back of your head, for God’s sake LISTEN!!!

Florida recount study: Bush still wins.

Of course, I do not believe the mere presentation of ‘facts’ will change opinions of the hysterical ‘Gore shoulda won’ crowd.

Side note: Did you know that every time a soldier dies in Iraq, PBS Newshour does a memorial to them? They show their name, picture, date of birth, and date of death. How’s that for supporting our boys in uniform?

I watch Fox News regularly, and I’ve never seen any mention of any names of dead soldiers, and sure as hell not their pictures. And if they did it would probably be accompanied by that graphic of an eagle swooping and turning into an F15 in mid-flight (honest to God graphic they used during the reporting of the war). Or better yet, they’d probably accompany it with a graphic of a man running from an explosion in slow-motion. But nope, so far their reporting of our soldiers who’ve been wounded or killed (reporting only the number who died, mind you) seems so distant as to make you wonder if the anchorman even realizes he’s talking about American soldiers.