Skip to comments.Questions Over Counting and Credit (WashPosts Phony 1300 Iraqis dead after Samarra blast)
Posted on 03/07/2006 1:26:08 PM PST by pissant
Washington journalism has about it a peculiar insularity. Who gets credit for groundbreaking reporting is not important to most readers, but Washington editors often try to knock down each other's stories and want to be credited when they think they've broken a story first. I know; I've done it.
So a memo from Knight-Ridder's Washington bureau that criticized The Post, leaked to a popular media news Web site Friday, was not viewed with equanimity in The Post's newsroom.
The most serious issue was Hoyt's questioning of figures cited in a front-page story in The Post on Tuesday -- that the death toll in recent Iraqi violence had hit 1,300 -- and of where that information came from.
In his memo, Hoyt said, "Our reporting in Baghdad -- and reporting by other news organizations -- so far has been unable to verify the Post story.
"The Post quoted officials at the city morgue in Baghdad as saying that they had logged 1,300 bodies of people killed as a result of the sectarian fighting. But when our correspondent examined the books at the morgue, he could find only about 250 bodies logged in as killed in the violence. Our story, quoting the Iraqi Cabinet, said the death toll was 379, which would have included those 250."
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
1300, 250, 379? What's all the fuss about? /sarc
I guess they don't need to know algebra, either.
The memo went on to say that a Post article on Wednesday "quoted Gen. Ali Shamarri of the Interior Ministry's statistics department as saying the toll was 1,077. . . . In Baghdad, our correspondents attempted to interview Gen. Shamarri to confirm the Post's account of violence more widespread than previously believed. They were told that no person by the name of Ali Shamarri worked in the statistics department, nor anywhere else in the ministry."
She meant... Genoa Salami.
When did Mary Mapes start working for the WaPo?
ROFL! Or was that Gentlemen's Safari?
Maybe the good general is just Lucy Ramirez in drag.
"...no person by the name of Ali Shamarri worked in the statistics department, nor anywhere else in the ministry."
These "reporters" are so used to getting their facts from press conferences, that they just assumed this guy was an official of some sort and printed what he said before checking things out. Granted, it must be difficult to know who is in charge over there, but my guess is that they "liked" the numbers....and were "conned" by the enemy... and willingly so!
You know I heard John Gibson on FOX radio (the day the Wapo headlined with that number) repeating the 1300 number and declaring, "How can this be anything but civil war?" Then he had Col David Hunt call in, and he reiterated, "Yep, 1300. It's civil war." I was listening to the re-broadcast of the show later that night, so I knew that number was skewed, but was disgusted that they would be so quick to jump on a story coming from the Wapo. I really wanted to e-mail Gibson and ask him "How do you like the feeling of egg all over your face?"
This is not the first time Col. David Hunt has used some wild numbers, so anytime I hear his counts, I am skeptical.