In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don't Matter : NPR
Thanks to Greg Weeks and his blog Two Weeks Notice: A Latin American Politics Blog for pointing to this NPR program on "backfire"—Brendan Nyhan's term for the tendency to cling even more firmly to your beliefs when you are faced with contradictory evidence. A major example right now is the outrageous and utterly false campaign in Arizona blaming illegal immigrants for crimes that aren't even occurring.
One curious thing about this transcript, if you get down to where they take calls from listeners: Every listener, it seemed to me, was eager to demonstrate that he or she, unlike ordinary prejudiced mortals, had changed views on some important issue after considering other arguments. And in each case, had ended up just as stubbornly convinced as before of his or her new "truth". Ah, well, maybe there's no hope for rational discourse!