Who Is To Blame?

A Harris poll on Iraq, 9/11, Al Qaeda and Weapons of Mass Destruction: What the Public Believes Now came out last week and, not surprisingly, Americans are stunningly misinformed:

  • 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).
  • 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37% in November).
  • 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38% in November).

Normally when I hear stories like this, or that X% of the population can’t name the vice president, I think “that’s funny,” or perhaps, “that’s sad.” But I think Slacktivist has the better take on this:

This Harris poll, in other words, is more damning of those of us in the news biz than it is of the hoi polloi that Leno so enjoys holding up to ridicule.

If you were, say, the head sports editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer and poll results indicated that, say, 47 percent of your readers erroneously believed the Eagles won the Super Bowl, then you should probably consider tendering your resignation.