Media analysts are saying that they are baffled by a new poll showing that half the U.S. population continues to believe that Saddam Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction at the time of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Media critic Michael Massing, who was one of the first to condemn the New York Times and the Washington Post for their coverage of the lead-up to the invasion, told the Associated Press Sunday that he was "flabbergasted" by the poll's results. "This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence," Massing said. The wire service blamed talk radio, "die-hard bloggers," and what it called "a growing need for people, in their own minds to justify the war in Iraq." Opinion analyst Steven Kull told A.P. that in such circumstances people sometimes come to conclusions "independent of reality." In its report, A.P. pointed out that as recently as July 21, Fox News was suggesting, "with no evidence," that Saddam's illusory WMDs may have had a different destination, as it headlined, "ARE SADDAM HUSSEIN'S WMDS NOW IN HEZBOLLAH'S HANDS?"




07/08/2006