A recent New York Times poll found 45% of Republicans believe Barack Obama was born outside the country. The mainstream media are taking this up as a challenge, to try to inform their readers and combat the increasing lunacy of the birthers. The New York Times, deserving of the name “newspaper of record,” has published a major article on The Psychology of the ‘Birther” myth.
I’m putting this article up as fast as I can, before I have even had time to read the Times piece. I’m sure, however, that we’ll have a lot to talk about.
One of the seven authors of the Times segment, David P. Redlawsk professor of political science at Rutgers University, said:
The reality is that “facts” are unlikely to mean much to those who believe in their gut that Obama is not American. Political psychologists call this “motivated reasoning.” It goes something like this: I dislike someone; I learn something positive that should make me feel better about him; instead, I dislike him as much or even more. This is clearly irrational, but our feelings about people are complicated, and we tend to hold on to them even in the face of contradictory information. This is not unique to those who dislike Obama.