Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Still No Evidence 9/11 Nuts Rule

I will never refer those who think the US government is behind the attacks on our country on September 11, 2001 as "9/11 Truthers" because from a messaging point of view, the term yields the high ground to the disgusting whackos. So, I'm not happy to pass along this bit of news:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government had warnings about 9/11 but decided to ignore them, a national survey found. ...

Sixty-two percent of those polled thought it was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that federal officials turned a blind eye to specific warnings of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Only 30 percent said the 9/11 theory was "not likely," according to the Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll. (NYPost)

Of course, the poll is useless because it phrased its questions to sensationalize rather than gain understanding. It certainly doesn't show that 62% of Americans accept the insane, paranoid, anti-American rantings of the Truthers. Specifically:
  • What percent of those answering yes believe a routine transmittal within the intelligence agencies may have been lost in the paperwork?

  • What percentage of those answering yes believe a source that wasn't credible provided information that was ignored for seemingly good reason?

  • What percentage of those answering yes are aware of the many, many threats against America made by bin Laden and others; threats that seemed like huff and puff at the time, but turned out to be significant?
Unless polls ask follow-up questions like that to discern what percentage of people who answer "yes" to the question really think that senior U.S. officials knowingly allowed 3,000 people to die because it furthered their foreign policy and personal wealth objectives, and that the legions of operatives required to carry out the diabolical scheme have remained silent, we will not know what percentage of Americans have sadly fallen into the grip of the Truthers.

Designing polls right so they yield this level of understanding is not the exception; it's the routine. But this poll was designed by the Scripps Howard newspaper chain, so sensationalism clearly was more important than objectivity.

Scripps Howard has not posted a link to the survey instrument itself, which used to be fairly routine, but now stands out as particularly guarded and lacking transparency. If we dig deep into the Scripps Howard coverage of the poll, we find down in paragraph nine that "16 percent of Americans speculate that secretly planted explosives, not burning passenger jets, were the real reason the massive twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed."

That's a fairly good indicator of crazed conspiracy buy-in, but the one Truther I'm friends with believes explosives were planted, but doesn't necessarily believe that the U.S. was the one planting them ... so even a 16% whacko factor may well be nothing more than poor polling resulting in overstatement.

Still, the poll undeniably shows that a significant percentage of Americans believe in anti-government conspiracies. It shows, for example, a narrow majority believes the government is aware of the real truth of the Kennedy assassination and is keeping it secret, and about a third believe the government is keeping knowledge of UFOs and aliens secret.

These likely Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich voters can never answer the question "Why?" Why would no one ever break the silence -- especially on Kennedy or Roswell after all these years? Why did Bush want war in Iraq when he didn't campaign on it?

And most important of all, why would people who have dedicated their lives to serving the most freedom-loving, most transparent government on the planet suddenly stop loving freedom and create elaborate cover-ups of crimes against the country they serve?

Don't count on Scripps Howard to provide any answers.

hat-tip: memeorandum

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