The Fox Effect

Sarah Palin again. Rather than the CNN Effect, perhaps its better to call it the Fox Effect. In her ABC interview, Palin linked Iraq to the 9/11 attacks in the US. Despite a complete lack of supporting evidence, it seems that this is still common understandig in the US. A Harris poll of US citizens in October 2004 found that:

– 62 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (a claim which Vice President Cheney has made more than President Bush).

More surprising perhaps are the large numbers (albeit not majorities) who believe claims which the president has not made, and which virtually no experts believe to be true:

– 41 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001.
– 38 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded.
– 37 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis.

An in-depth analysis of a series of polls conducted in 2003 by the Program on International Policy (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and Knowledge Networks found three significant misperceptions among the US public:

– 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda have been found,
– 22% that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and
– 25% that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq.

The polls also found that the level of misperception correlated to the main source of news. 80% of Fox news viewers voiced at least one of these three misperceptions:

So, if the CNN Effect leads policy makers, the Fox Effect leads viewers who elect politicians… and sometimes apparently politicians themselves.


3 Comments to “The Fox Effect”

  1. Did anybody say that Russia hasn’t a civil society?! They demonstrate for “South Park”.

  2. There are enough polls that claim that more than 2/5 of all Americans believe 9/11 was an inside job. It’s probably all that footage showing the Iraq warrior Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam and the Bush-Laden connection and common contradictions that make those numbers possible. The good old American paranoia is what keeps that country healthy, or maybe not.

  3. More than 2/5 is a fairly large number indeed. Somehow still less than the proportion who initially believed Iraq was linked to al Qaeda. Would be very interested in seeing concrete polls.

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