Poll Proves Media's Influence on War

Three years ago, a study was conducted by the Program on International Policy (PIPA) at the University of Maryland about the media's influence on public misperception concerning the "war" in Iraq.

The study found that out of over 3,000 people polled:
  • 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda had been found.
  • 22% believed that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq.
  • 25% that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq.
Overall, 60% had at least one of these three misperceptions and it should come as no surprise that these misperceptions were "highly related to support for the war:"
Among those with none of the misperceptions listed above, only 23% support the war. Among those with one of these misperceptions, 53% support the war, rising to 78% for those who have two of the misperceptions, and to 86% for those with all 3 misperceptions.
Here's where it starts to get interesting:
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, “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.”

Now, which news source do you think had the viewers with the most misperceptions?

Big surprise:

"Those who primarily watch Fox News are significantly more likely to have misperceptions, while those who primarily listen to NPR or watch PBS are significantly less likely."
80 percent of Fox News watchers had one or more misperception, in contrast to 71 percent for CBS and 27 percent who tuned to NPR/PBS.

PIPA's entire 23 page report can be found here. (PDF)


Fair and balanced? Yeah. Right.

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