A third of the American public believes U.S. forces have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent poll. Twenty-two percent said Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons.
But such weapons have not been found in Iraq and were not used.
Before the war, half of those polled in a survey said Iraqis were among the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. But most of the Sept. 11 terrorists were Saudis; none was an Iraqi…
“It's a striking finding,” said Steve Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which asked the weapons questions during a May 14-18 poll of 1,256 respondents.
He added: “Given the intensive news coverage and high levels of public attention, this level of misinformation suggests some Americans may be avoiding having an experience of cognitive dissonance.”
That is, of having their beliefs conflict with the facts. Kull noted that the mistaken belief that weapons had been found “is substantially greater among those who favored the war.”
Pollsters and political analysts offer several reasons for the gaps between facts and beliefs: the public's short attention span on foreign news, fragmentary or conflicting media reports that lacked depth or skepticism, and Bush administration efforts to sell a war by oversimplifying the threat…
Several analysts said they were troubled by the lack of knowledge about the Sept. 11 hijackers, shown in the January survey conducted for Knight Ridder newspapers. Only 17 percent correctly said that none of the hijackers was Iraqi.
Draw your own conclusions. [The Doc Searls Weblog]