Saturday, July 29, 2006

Media: Too Many Americans Just Don't Know The Score

My brother-in-law sent me this:

Editor and Publisher reports: "Despite several years of official and press reports to the contrary, a new Harris poll finds that half of adult Americans still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when the United States invaded the country in 2003.

"This is actually up from 36% last year, a Harris poll finds. . . .

"In another finding wildly diverging from most expert opinion and media reports, Harris found that 64% said Saddam Hussein had 'strong links' with al-Qaeda, up from 62% in October 2004."

Clearly, there is something wrong here.

I mean, I expect the hardcore right wingers to go to their graves insisting that 1) Saddam was somehow partnered with Al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks, and 2) we were threatened by Iraqi WMDs when Bush invaded. I expect them to believe these lies to the end of their lives, because that’s the kind of people hardcore right wingers are. Acknowledging that their beloved conservative government and radio pundits misled them--and acknowledging that they were in the wrong--would cause their fragile glass menagerie brains to shatter.

But these poll numbers are not drawn exclusively from the hardcore right. They’re drawn from the great unwashed mass of Americans—not just the conservatives, not just the Rush Limbaugh audience. We're talking about what the general population thinks, here. Years later, after it’s been all over the headlines, after it’s been accepted by the White House and their investigators—these people still don’t know that Saddam wasn’t behind 9/11 and they still don’t know that Iraq posed virtually no threat to the US when we invaded.

These people, these tens of millions of Americans, are certainly “ignorant” (ill-informed.) But are they also “stupid” (incapable of being informed)?

I don’t know and I don’t care. But I do know the solution to this. It is not pretty. Prepare yourself.

The problem: at least half the people in the country are ill-informed idiots who no longer listen to or pay attention to the news as it is reported by the professional news media. If we want to reach these idiots, we will have to send envoys to the sort of folks that these idiots DO believe in. Yes, I’m talking about celebrities, goddammit. And I’m not talking about old-timer “B” list celebs like Warren Beatty and Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand, old Hollywood liberals and leftists who are overtly political and haven’t had a hit in years. Idiot interest in the opinions of celebrities like that is mild at best.

The kind of celebrities that we’d have to use to get out the truth to these idiots are the “celebrities of the moment”—the celebs that fools really do care about and listen to; the celebs that these idiots think are “cool.” I’m talking about celebs who are on the cover of those trashy little newspapers you see at the checkout line in supermarkets. Like that guy, that ‘N Sync kid who’s dominated the headlines for the past few days just because he’s come out of the closet, as if people ought to be following that “big story.” Let’s get him. Instead of just saying “I’m gay,” he could say “Yes, I’m gay, and not only that, there were never any links between Saddam and the guys who did 9/11.” Get celebs like him to say things like that NOW, while the cameras are on them and while stupid folks still think they’re cool—and then we stand a chance of getting the news out to the public.

You think I'm being facetious, proposing this strategy? Look who’s governor of California, chump.

And yes, goddammit, I’m talking about co-opting leading sports personalities, too—white male idiots will listen to them. If some superstar relief pitcher has two great innings and wins the game and then shows up on the post-game show for an interview and says “I was surprised by that win as I was when I found out that Iraq never posed a weapons-of-mass destruction threat to the US prior to the war—“ then the idiots will listen; they’ll have to, he’s their hero of the moment, and it’s on TV, and they’re watching.

They’ll be angry at first--but at least they’ll hear the truth, even if they won’t accept it.


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