KPFK Wed. 6/25: Stupidity in America

Politicians tell us how smart the American people are. But the evidence is overwhelming: American voters are ignorant, shortsighted and swayed by meaningless rhetoric. A Washington Post poll in 2003 found that 70 per cent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. A majority continued to believe this even after the 9/11 Commission reported that the claim was groundless. RICK SHENKMAN, author of the new book JUST HOW STUPID ARE WE? says we can blame the president and the media, but we also have to face the truth about the American voter. Rick teaches history at George Mason U. and founded the History News Network website.

Also: BARBARA EHRENREICH tried living on low-wage work — she tells that story in her classic book Nickel and Dimed, out now in a new paperback edition (originally broadcast May 22, 2003.

Plus: The ‘State Secrets Privilege’ allows the president and the executive branch to conceal conduct, withhold documents and block civil litigation in the same of national security. It didn’t always exist — it was created in 1953. BARRY SIEGEL, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has undercovered the facts that led the Supreme Court to create the privilege — a mysterious 1948 crash of an Air Force B-29 in Georgia, and the efforts of the families of the men who died in the crash to find out what happened. Barry�s new book is CLAIM OF PRIVILEGE: A Mysterious Plane Crash, a Landmark Supreme Court Case, and the Rise of State Secrets.