Reuters describes of the poll:
A majority of Americans believe that Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan last year amid negotiations to end the war, and more than half want to respond with new economic sanctions against Moscow, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.
As an example of how some of the very outlets which pushed the story hard have since walked back many of the central claims, consider the following line from The Washington Post last week, which was certainly awkward for them and the Times:
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that White House officials were first informed in early 2019 of intelligence reports that Russia was offering the bounties to kill U.S. and coalition military personnel, but the information was deemed sketchy and in need of additional confirmation, according to people familiar with the matter.
“Sketchy” and yet the avalanche of headlines are still out there. The Pentagon has flatly denied its accuracy many times over to boot.
Yes, this is how propaganda is supposed to work. When the ‘Russia boogeyman’ is invoked, especially related to Trump, the threshhold for evidence is low to non-existent.
Overall, 60% of Americans said they found reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers to be “very” or “somewhat” believable, while 21% said they were not credible and the rest were unsure.
Thirty-nine percent said they thought Trump “did know” about Russia’s targeting of the U.S. military before reports surfaced in the news media last month, while 26% said the president “did nsot know.”
As AntiWar.com points out, such fake stories and the American public’s gullibility has real-world and potentially very dangerous consequences: “The poll shows that they view Russian President Vladimir Putin as a ‘threat,’ and support a new round of US sanctions against Russia. Alarmingly, 9% even supported attacking Russia outright.”
“This is undercut by the strong evidence that this plot isn’t true, and never was. The danger is, the US could escalate hostilities and the majority of the public is fine with it,” AntiWar aptly concludes.