Big Surprise: Bushies Are Bushies

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How people respond to the U.S. government’s attempts to censor some war-related images comes down to whether or not they are supporters of President Bush, a new study suggests.Researchers at Ohio State University surveyed 600 people and asked them if they were interested in viewing photos or videos of the caskets containing dead U.S. soldiers arriving in the United States from Iraq and Afghanistan .The catch was that, prior to being asked whether they wanted to view the images, half of the survey respondents were told about a U.S. government policy which prevents the widespread dissemination of such images through the media.One prominent psychological theory suggests that when people are told they can’t see something, they want to see it even more.”This is not at all what we found,” said Andrew Hayes, an associate professor of communication at Ohio State University and one of the authors of the study.In general, Bush supporters expressed less interest in viewing these images than respondents who didn’t support Bush in the 2004 election. However, how Bush supporters responded was affected by whether they were first told about the policy.Among Bush supporters first told about the policy, only 28 percent expressed some interest in viewing the images, after adjusting for the influence of such factors as the respondent’s age, sex, and education. However, among Bush supporters who were not first told about the policy, 49 percent expressed some interest. So being told about the policy reduced rather than increased Bush supporters’ interest in seeing the images, Hayes said.In contrast, 70 percent of people who didn’t support Bush in the 2004 election expressed interest in seeing the images, regardless of whether or not they were told about the policy.[Source: OSU Press Release]

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One thought on “Big Surprise: Bushies Are Bushies

  1. I’m sure he’s onto something, but I don’t understand why he didn’t (as appears to be the case) gather other data than just support of Bush. It suggests he’s more interested in making a political statement than actually finding out something interesting about political psychology.Also, he seems to overstate the results, by saying people’s attitudes “depend” on their feelings towards Bush, which suggests a relationship of causality.

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