February 4th, 2005

Gully Foyle

not KDAW: why anyone believes a word coming out of Bush's mouth

Got this from a friend. If you're wondering how anybody in possession of a cerebral cortex can still believe a word Bush says, science writer Sharon Begley offers a possible explanation. Fascinating article, and is applicable in a lot of contexts not re: Bush. Here's the money quote, in which she sums up the conclusions of the new study she is discussing:

"The news media would do well to keep in mind that once we report something, some people will always believe it even if we try to stuff the genie back in the bottle. For instance, six months after the invasion, one-third of Americans believed WMDs had been found, even though every such tentative claim was discomfirmed. The findings also offer Machiavellian possibilities for politicians. They can make a false claim that helps their cause, contritely retract it - and rest assured that some people will nevertheless keep thinking of it as true."

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Chris