A recent poll revealed that 50% of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (see here for details)--prompting Charles Hanley of The Associated Press to suggest that people's beliefs somehow tend to become "independent of reality." Over at The Progressive, Amitabh Pal had the following to say about the truly staggering ignorance of half of the citizens of this country (see here for details):
On the other hand, maybe this isn’t so surprising. After all, in a poll last December, a full sixty-one percent of Americans said that they believed in the devil, forty percent of Americans admitted that they think that ghosts surround us, while one-third even accepted the existence of UFOs. Maybe there’s some overlap between these people and those who still believe in those spectral WMDs.
Seriously, let’s start apportioning blame for this state of affairs.
At the top of the list is the Bush Administration. It has mouthed this nonsense of “mushroom clouds” and “nuclear weapons” so insistently that it is hard for its supporters to admit to themselves that the White House took them for a ride. The closest Condoleezza Rice has come to admitting, for instance, that she and her colleagues were wrong is to say that WMDs were “perhaps” not present in Iraq. One hell of an admission.
Next on the list are the Bush Administration’s foot soldiers in Congress. Senator Rick Santorum and Representative Peter Hoekstra triumphantly released a report recently that supposedly proved that 500 chemical munitions had been gathered in Iraq since the invasion. The only problem was that these were long degraded and unusable.
Who pays attention to the likes of Santorum and Hoekstra? Who takes them seriously?
Of course, the Republican echo chamber in the right-wing media is also to blame for the mass delusion among half the American public. FOX News is the leading weapon of mass deception. As a poll famously revealed three years ago, forty-five percent of FOX viewers believed that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq and that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda and that global opinion supported Bush’s Iraq invasion. An incredible 80 percent believed at least one of these fibs.
What are we supposed to do to reclaim our democracy from the willfully deceptive administration that peddles nothing but lies and the willfully ignorant masses who accept them on faith? How do you go about shedding the light of truth into the fantastical black hole that is the mind of the average viewer of Fox News?