To the broader point, the study about opinions regarding Ukraine vis-a-vis a person’s ability to locate Ukraine on a map is the entire issue in a nutshell. Our challenge is that it is a characteristic of democracy that the opinions of the ignorant carry the same weight as the opinions of the informed. Given that disenfranchising the ignorant has myriad problems of its own, then it stands to reason that ignorance, itself, should be the target.
I think you have hit on one way of stamping out ignorance, which is communication that registers with people, forcing them to incorporate new knowledge into their thinking. In light of that, perhaps there is truth to the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” or, more to the point, “a picture is worth a thousand numbers.” This is likely why the pie charts in USA Today have had such a good run, even becoming an unspoken synecdoche for the paper itself.
In the age of Fake News, information overload, and willful ignorance, methods of disseminating facts must find ways to establish concrete connections between readers and reality; it can’t just be numbers on a page. Had the same people who were for military intervention in Ukraine been given an opportunity to connect to images and information about Ukraine and Ukrainians first, would they have had the same opinion?