People who genuinely change their minds fascinate me partly because they seem so rare. Bribing politicians to switch their votes or coercing group members to conform are much more the rule, undermining the real thing through fear and selfish interest.
No, I'm talking about the exceptions -- those whose honest grappling with ideas and evidence causes them to adopt views they once rejected in whole or in part. That can require both courage and ego deflation.
The Boston Globe this week carried a piece by Joe Keohane(http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/) that looks like bad news for journalists: factual, in-depth reporting doesn't change minds. Those who are prone to agree with certain news accounts srenghthen their convictions; those who are inclined to disagree are likely to further harden their positions. There is little willingness to consider new evidence by either side.