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Study: Pro-war Americans ignorant, Fox News audience ignoranter

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Yes, there is a group of people stupid enough to get most of their news from the Fox News Channel.

Now a new study confirms that not only are these people stupid, but they’re also ignorant:

Study: Wrong impressions helped support Iraq war
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON – 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.

“While we cannot assert that these misperceptions created the support for going to war with Iraq, it does appear likely that support for the war would be substantially lower if fewer members of the public had these misperceptions,” said Steven Kull, who directs Maryland’s program.

In fact, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. U.S. intelligence has found no clear evidence that Saddam was working closely with al-Qaida or was involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Gallup polls found large majorities opposed to the war in most countries.

PIPA’s seven polls, which included 9,611 respondents, had a margin of error from 2 to 3.5 percent.

The analysis released Thursday also correlated the misperceptions with the primary news source of the mistaken respondents. For example, 80 percent of those who said they relied on Fox News and 71 percent of those who said they relied on CBS believed at least one of the three misperceptions.

The comparable figures were 47 percent for those who said they relied most on newspapers and magazines and 23 percent for those who said they relied on PBS or National Public Radio.

Fox tops the Chart of Ignorance, but other TV stations follow close behind. It’s worth noting, however, that Fox News watchers are three times more likely to suffer from all three delusions than the next nearest group. Hardly any of the NPR/PBS group possessed all three insanities.

Check out the study.

Oh, and for you Fox News watchers who don’t understand any of the above, let me translate it into Foxspeak for you:

Fox News watchers are the most obedient and patriotic of all U.S. citizens.

U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

(Good graphic and comments over at CalPundit.)

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About Brian Flemming

  • Eric Olsen

    I am certain that anyone, including those rabidly anti-war, can see how a) skewed this report is, and b) how even more skewed this particular report of the report is.

    Please read Phillip’s discussion of the Kay report to see how misleading it is to say flatly that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq – it’s technically true at this moment, but …

    There is no evidence that Saddam worked with the 9/11 terrorists, but he supported other terrorism including the first WTC bombing, Palestinian terrorists and their families, practiced the vilest of terrorism on his own people – in short, he is a terrorist. People are absolutely not wrong to see this as the same war.

    Those who thought the rest of the world supported the war are clearly mistaken – maybe wishful thinking.

    Responsible citizens should never rely on one source of information, whatever it may be. People shouldn’t rely exclusively on Fox News anymore than they should rely on al Jazeera.

  • Chris Arabia

    What qualifies this poster to impugn unrelentlessly the intelligence of people who disagree with him? Does he possess a PhD in Omniscience?

  • Natalie Davis

    He is stating his opinion, something every person is entitled to do.

  • Chris Arabia

    That’s an answer in search of a different question. Questioning the content of his expression is NOT the same as questioning his right of expression.

    I was merely asking whether he has any qualifications for INCESSANTLY insinuating that those who diverge from his views are stupid.

  • Natalie Davis

    The only requirement necessary for making those insinuations is that he has the desire to do it. Now, if he wants to have his opinion deemed credible, *then* he needs to support what he says. For the record, I don’t think people who watch Fox News are necessarily stupid. At the same time, I agree with Eric that people do themselves a favor when they peruse a variety of news sources that cover many different viewpoints. This radical liberal, for example, makes a point of checking out conservative media, including Fox and Rush Limbaugh, every day.

  • Brian Flemming

    I go to every morning, mostly for the fairness and balance.

    I referred only to people who get most of their news from Fox as “stupid.” itself is constantly providing evidence that it considers its audience stupid. One example is Fox’s straight-faced claim in the Franken lawsuit that the Fox News audience would think that Franken’s book was a product of Fox News. Only stupid people would think that.

    Another example is the banner headline on right now:

    Homicide Bomber Kills 19 in Haifa Restaurant

    Only a stupid person would consider credible a news outlet that used the made-up, less-descriptive, purely political term “homicide bomber” in a straight-news headline.

    Non-stupid conservatives generally agree.

  • Chris Arabia

    Or as I wrote on August 23:

    “No, I prefer the term “suicide bomber,” although I did not write the headline. Any maggot who murders by use of a bomb is a “homicide” bomber. What distinguishes these maggots is that they take their own lives in the process of slaughtering innocents. Therefore, the term “suicide bomber” is pretty clearly more accurate and informative than the Foxnewsism “homicide bomber.” Of course, any term this side of Santa Claus beats “militant.”


    8 posted on 08/23/2003 9:33 AM PDT by chrisarabia ( — Author of the Article)

  • Chris Arabia

    But #6 is still non-responsive and conclusory. I find rather perplexing the constant allusions to stupidity and other hostile terms, across an array of pasts. I was simply wondering if any program of study, work history, life experiences, or anything else has especially blessed this poster with the omniscience that might explain the tendency.

    Good weekend to all.

  • Paul

    Chris, it ain’t hard. It’s just the extreme on one side picking on the extreme of the other side, unaware that there’s no fundamental difference between the two, save the subsitution of nouns and pronouns. It’s just like Mad Libs.

    The hallmark of both extremes is an irrational contempt for everyone else who’s not “of the body.” You’ll often see both sides exclaiming the stupidity of all but the chosen few who’ve seen the light. To them, the rest of us are merely sheep whom they chide for our ignorance and at the same time plea with to see things their way. They save most of their vitriol for those whom they perceive to be on the other side. At any rate, they’re nothing more than obnoxious evangelists trying to win souls for their Cause.

    Such as it has always been with zealots.

  • Phillip Winn

    From Best of the Web:

    Unfair and Unbalanced
    “Heavy viewers of the Fox News Channel are nearly four times as likely to hold demonstrably untrue positions about the war in Iraq as media consumers who rely on National Public Radio or the Public Broadcasting System, according to a study released this week by a research center affiliated with the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs,” reports the Baltimore Sun.

    This “study,” however, turns out to be pure propaganda. (It’s here, in PDF form.) The “untrue positions” the survey measured are these:

    • “Saddam Hussein has been directly linked with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.”
    • “Weapons of mass destruction have already been found in Iraq.”
    • “World opinion favored the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.”

    Here are some demonstrable untruths the survey didn’t ask its subjects about:

    • President Bush said Iraq posed an “imminent” threat.
    • Bush claimed Iraq had bought uranium from Niger.
    • America’s intervention in Iraq was unilateral.

    Would not a fair survey have included examples of the misperceptions on both sides?