Ignorance, fear and loathing in America

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence or taste of the American public. – H.L. Mencken (attributed)

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. – Albert Einstein

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

These observations are a necessary preface to the "big story" for the mainstream corporate news media on Thursday: a series of polls which demonstrate just how willfully ignorant the American public is — and they claim that the reason is they got their information from the media. It was epic media fail day!

According to a new poll from Pew the poll finds that 18% of Americans say the president — who, it should be said for the record, is a practicing Christian — is a Muslim. That's up from 11% who said the same thing in March of last year. Poll: Number Of Americans Who Think Obama Is A Muslim Nearly Doubles:

At the same time, a new poll from Time magazine shows a widespread distrust of Islam among Americans, and an overwhelming opposition to the Cordoba House project in Manhattan. The Time poll also found that 24% of Americans say Obama is a Muslim.

No group is more convinced of the president's Muslim faith than conservative Republicans. The Pew poll found 34% of them say Obama is a Muslim, which is an increase from 18% in the March 2009 survey. The number is not that much different from Republicans overall — 31% of all Republicans surveyed by Pew said Obama practices Islam, and 24% of "moderate and liberal" members of the GOP said the same thing.

But the mistaken view of Obama's faith is up among Democrats, too. Ten percent of Democrats surveyed said Obama is a Muslim, up from 7% in March 2009. The breakdown of those numbers: 12 percent of "conservative and moderate" Democrats say Obama is Muslim (up from 9% last year) and 6% of liberal Democrats do (up from 5%).

The number of Independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also nearly doubled. Back in March, 2009, 10% of Independents had the view; today the number is 18%.

The Pew poll finds that the less you like Obama, the more you're likely to call him a Muslim. "The view that Obama is a Muslim is highest among his political opponents," the pollster writes. "31% of Republicans and 30% of those who disapprove of his job performance express this view."

You get the gist of what the mainstream corporate news media spent an entire news cycle talking about and analyzing endlessly on Thursday.

Note to the mainstream corporate news media: the "Obama is a secret Muslim" meme was ginned-up in wingnuttia conspiracy land and has been debunked over and over again, just like the Obama birth certificate meme. When the mainstream corporate news media does polling on wingnuttia lies and spends all day talking about wingnuttia lies, it only serves to reinforce the lie in the minds of the willfully ignorant public. This is how the "big lie" technique of propaganda works: repetition and reinforcement. If the media were to poll the public again today after their media frenzy on Thursday they would find that those poll numbers are up yet again.

The question is, is the dog of the mainstream corporate news media being wagged by the tail of wingnuttia and their right-wing noise machine? Or is the mainstream corporate news media a complicit partner and accessory to this propaganda crime? Now there's a story the corporate news media tools should be reporting on.

There is also a more fundamental issue that arises out of the polling data. More than one-quarter of those polled responded that a Muslim should not serve as president of the United States. Odd how none of these polls paired this poll question with a single question about a fundamental principle of American constitutional law:

Article VI, Section 3 provides: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

In all of the media frenzy coverage of this wingnuttia propaganda story on Thursday I do not recall a single media villager or Beltway bloviator even mentioning this fact. So what if president Obama was a practicing Muslim? What's wrong with that? There is no religious test for public office. End of story.

The fact that more than one-quarter of Americans reject a fundamental constitutional principle — as they do First Amendment religious freedom (for others), 14th Amendment birthright citizenship, 17th Amendment popular election of senators, and so on and so forth, is the real story here.

We have a so-called conservative movement which claims to support the Constitution but only those selective parts with which it agrees. Otherwise, these so-called conservatives choose to disregard inconvenient language or seek to amend the document to reflect their far right-wing ideology. These Anti-Constitution radicals are tearing apart the very fabric of our long-cherished American values and constitutional principles in favor of a political ideology that is quite foreign to our American experience, and is not truly "conservative" in the traditional sense of the word.

Instead of focusing on a wingnuttia propaganda meme about president Obama, maybe it is time for the mainstream corporate news media to examine the Anti-Constitution radicals of the far right-wing and the threat that they pose to the ideals of our constitutional democratic Republic.

Constitution

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