Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Perceived Reality vs. Reality

Here's an interesting statistic for starters: In 2003, University of Maryland researchers studied the public’s belief in three false claims — that Iraq possessed WMD, that Iraq was involved in 9/11, and that there was international support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The researchers stated, “The extent of Americans’ misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions.” Fox News viewers were “three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three "

Interestingly there is still a knot of folks who believe one or all of those lies. Propaganda is a powerful force and when the 'source' seems to emanate from 'the government' its credibility is enhanced. Is that why so many Americans voted a second term for Bush/Cheney? Does 'perceived reality' trump reality? No one called my house for a survey, but I would have answered 'no' to all three questions. So would have many of my friends.

Did Americans want to believe those three lies? I think so. I contend that deep inside the psyche of so many Americans was a desire for revenge for the 9-11 attacks and they were willing to believe anything that would sate this desire. We are an easily duped lot of people.

Just think of the 2004 election: people re-elected a president who failed to do what he promised to do. Not only did he fail, but he began another war that had no end in sight. Facts not withstanding, the people gave him a 2nd chance and, four years later, not only did he continue to fail on both of those fronts, but his lack of leadership has moved the nation into massive debt and a recession.

Nonetheless, 28% of Americans still think he's doing a good job as president. Some would vote for him a 3rd time if the Constitution didn't stand in the way.

What's this overt ignorance all about? Is it rampant and infectious? Will Americans make yet a third major blunder this fall? There is little evidence to the contrary. Already the media and the pundits are hyping nonsense issues to the voters, issues that matter so little to good governance.

We are a gullible and ignorant lot.

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