I didn't plan to re-visit the subject of last night's post on America and "the Other" so quickly, but as soon as I hit the button last night there was powerful new evidence of growing numbers of citizens looking to tie together the disparate threads of Obama and Islam and immigration -- check this out:
The rise in Americans who say they believe Barack Obama's a Muslim say more about many Americans' hostility toward Islam than it does about the rising hostility to Obama on the right, which is hardly news.
I wrote a while ago that the belief that Barack Obama is a Muslim had gone, not viral, but chronic: It seemed embedded between 9% and 12% of the population, neither shrinking nor growing, since sometime in 2007. Now, though, Pew reports that a full 18% of Americans say Obama is a Muslim, and given that there's not exactly new evidence on the point -- indeed, many of its most aggressive purveyors have moved on to other topics -- it's hard to believe that this is a matter of new information.
Instead, I'd speculate, telling a pollster that Obama is a Muslim is just another way of expressing disapproval.
Just as happened several years ago with the bogus conflation of Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, we are seeing misinformation grow in a nation with the most pervasive if not the most sophisticated news media in the world. So how does this happen?