Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reasonable MSM's Math Delinquency

Captain's Quarters has the story here!
Apparently the Washington Post and CBS have their difficulties with mathematics these days. Earlier today, the Post reported that the death toll in Iraq from reprisals following the destruction of the Askariya shrine in Samarra had topped 1,300. Later today, most news organizations agree with Iraqi and American officials that the Post's numbers were greatly exaggerated, as Editor and Publisher reports:
Sectarian violence that followed last week's bombing of a Shiite shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis in the past few days, many times the figure previously reported by the U.S. media and the military, The Washington Post reported early Tuesday.

Later, however, Iraq Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari called such high death totals "inaccurate and exaggerated," without mentioning the Post.

In comparison, The New York Times reported Monday that the recent violence "brought the country to the brink of civil war and left at least 200 dead." Others had produced similar figures.

On Tuesday, the Times increased that number to "379 dead and 458 wounded, the nation's Council of Ministers said today. At least 246 people in Baghdad alone were killed, the top two city morgue officials said." ...

The Associated Press carried this on Tuesday: "The Post cited figures from the Baghdad central morgue, but an official there told The Associated Press that as of Sunday night they had received only 249 bodies tied to the violence. The Post figure appeared high based on police and hospital reports from the major population centers at the time of the attacks."

The Los Angeles Times, after noting the different figures today, added another, from Haidar Safar, a Ministry of Health official in charge of compiling data from hospitals and morgues across the country. He said 519 Iraqis have died from violence across the country since the blast occurred.

A Knight Ridder report from Baghdad late Tuesday stated that an American military official in Baghdad said U.S.-led coalition forces had been able to confirm only 220 such deaths since last Wednesday’s bombing.
No one argues that any of these numbers represent good news, but the report of 1300 deaths (which I used in a previous post) makes all of these counts pale in comparison. The methodology used by the Post appears somewhat suspect; their reporters counted dead bodies in a Baghdad morgue and assumed all of the deaths that appeared violent came from sectarian vendettas following the bombing. However, the morgue itself says that it has seen nowhere near the number of bodies claimed by the Post.
It's wonderful to know that I can count on the Reasonable mouth-foamers of the MSM to keep their Bush-hating, pacific biases out of their reporting. Great job, folks! Thanks for helping me buy the hype!

We need information, not propaganda, people! Try to remember that we're the ones with the right to know. OK?