The Power of Propaganda

Study shows mistaken impressions about Iraq war fed by TV news

| October 16, 2003 Issue

A majority of Americans held at least one of three false perceptions about the war in Iraq, according to a recent study, and these contributed to popular support for the war.

The study, by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, also linked the misconceptions with TV news -- especially Fox. Frank Davies, writing for Knight Ridder Newspapers, reports that the three main delusions were: (1) weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, (2) clear evidence shows Saddam Hussein worked with 9/11 terrorists, and (3) populations in foreign countries backed the war or were divided in their support. As Davies notes, no WMDs have been found. Intelligence agencies have not found evidence Saddam worked with al-Qaida. Gallup polls showed majority opposition to the war in most countries.