Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

1,300 Dead. Or Maybe 200.

Where did WaPo come up with the figure of 1,300 Iraqis dead in the last few days in sectarian violence?

Editor & Publisher did some digging and found:
  • Iraq's PM called the figure "inaccurate and exaggerated."
  • NYT reported 200 dead on Monday and revised the figure to 379 on Tuesday.
  • AP cited Baghdad morgue figures for a total of 249.
  • LAT came up with 519, citing a Ministry of Health official.
  • Knight Ridder cited the US military for a 220 figure and Iraqi officials for a 350-400 figure, and added that morgue officials told htem WaPo's 1300 figure "was nowhere close to what they'd seen. Many others, includign Shiite and Sunni politicians alike siad they had't heard of anything approaching that number."
Meanwhile, WaPo is more or less sticking with the number. E&P quotes WaPo reporter Jonathan Finer saying the number was obtained by another reporter -- but didn't name him or her -- who determined the number at the Baghdad morgue. The same morgue that placed the number in the mid-200's. Right.

There's no correction posted yet. It'll be interesting to see if one ever is.