Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Did Glenn Beck strangle a male prostitute to death? No he didn’t. But let’s talk about it anyway.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 2, 2010 in US Politics

One of the more disturbing things I’ve come across recently is this poll figure from the US saying that 18% of people polled believe that  President Obama is a Muslim. What’s particularly worrying, indeed surreal, is that the number of people who believe that he is a Christian (which he is, although I can’t believe we actually have to discuss this stuff) has dropped from 48% to 34%. In other words, people who actually were aware of the truth have now swung over to believing the lie.

What is truly scary about this is the Goebbels-size lie that it is, that no matter how much light is thrown on this nonsense it continues to grow, against all rational thought. It is hard enough trying to convince people of real things in the world, but for the President of the United States to actually have to expend time, energy and effort dealing with this nonsense is quite extraordinary. The other aspect of this thing is what a media created story this is. If you ran a poll asking whether Glenn Beck had once strangled a male prostitute to death (which he hasn’t, by the way) you will get a small percentage who will say that he has. If you then report that story, that creates attention for the ludicrous proposition, which almost guarantees that the next poll will show an even higher number of people believe that Glenn Beck once strangled a male prostitute to death. Then people start googling as to whether Glenn Beck strangled a male prostitute to death. Go on, do it now. Which now means that there is a media story that says that a growing number of people believe that Glenn Beck strangled a male prostitute to death, even though he didn’t, and the proposition is outrageous. This is how this crap gets traction. 

The one hope is the argument made by some pollsters that many voters tend to make an emotional call about a candidate, and then look for a rational reason to justify that belief. The fact is, the sort of people who believe that the President is Muslim regardless of the facts are people who will probably never vote for the guy even if he personally put a bullet ino the back of Osama Bin Laden’s head.  

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