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