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Gee... could media and government leaders have been... *wrong*?

Category Everything Else

In a follow-up to my Katrina death toll post, we have this from Yahoo News:  Katrina death toll still a question

Estimates of the death toll from Hurricane Katrina have run as high as 10,000 but the actual body count so far is much lower and officials who feared the worst now hope the dire predictions were wrong.

The recovery of Katrina's victims speeded up in the last two days. As of Thursday, Mississippi had recorded 201 deaths and Louisiana 83, while other affected states had much lower numbers.

"I am thinking we are better off than we thought we'd be," said Louisiana state Sen. Walter Boasso, who represents St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans, parts of which still sit under 8 feet of water.

In the first week after the disaster, officials and politicians discussed the possible death toll reluctantly, often only after being pressed by journalists.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin offered up a figure as high as 10,000 under such questioning. Louisiana U.S. Sen. David Vitter said his "guesses" started at 10,000, but made it clear he had no factual basis for saying that.

"No factual basis for saying that"...  But it didn't stop him from saying it, did it?  And every media report since then has offered up statements like "perhaps up to 10000 deaths expected by officials".

It's still bad, and it's still disturbing to find 30+ people dead in a location like a nursing home.  But it's also irresponsible to report estimates that are no more than SWAGs ("silly wild-@ss guesses") as if they were fact...

Comments

Gravatar Image1 - What´s up Tom? Did you run out of books to review? ;) Hopefully nothing serious keeps you from blogging!

Gravatar Image2 - Some wag will undoubtedly come up with "So few bodies have been found because most were consumed in cannibalistic acts," as an explanation. Everything coming out of the disaster zone should be taken with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Gravatar Image3 - Is 'speeded' a word that anyone not in elementary school actually uses?

Sean---

Gravatar Image4 - I have to admit, it is starting to be harder to believe there are so many dead (as reported) without the confirmed death toll being much higher at this point. We'll have to wait and see, but I agree that they should not be brandishing these numbers around without some more basis for believing them.

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