April 14, 2007

Katie Couric and CBS Perpetuate Undercount of Iraqi Civilian Deaths

So, how many inaccuracies can be found Katie Couric's Video Notebook? Here's another.

On March 19, 2007, Katie Couric reported 50,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, despite the well-known Lancet study citing an estimated 654,965 additional deaths in Iraq between March 2003 and July 2006 (the low end of the estimated range was about 400,000).

A Johns Hopkins School of Public Health web site states:

The mortality survey used well-established and scientifically proven methods for measuring mortality and disease in populations. These same survey methods were used to measure mortality during conflicts in the Congo, Kosovo, Sudan and other regions.

The Guardian reports:

Scientists at the UK's Department for International Development ... concluded that the study's methods were "tried and tested". Indeed, the Johns Hopkins approach would likely lead to an "underestimation of mortality".

The Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser said the research was "robust", close to "best practice", and "balanced". He recommended "caution in publicly criticising the study".

We know that people are buried quickly in the Islamic tradition, leading to lower reporting of deaths to officials. We know that the mass media is unable to report on vast areas of Iraq due to increasing violence, again leading to under reporting.

So, why does Katie Couric and CBS continue to report a number that is an order of magnitude lower than the best available estimate? Partly because of the human capacity for denial. Partly because corporate media insiders live in a celebrity bubble; they and their wannabe helpers are isolated from realities that would allow them to believe the numbers of additional civilian deaths could be so high. Perhaps to avoid accepting responsibility as a democracy for such a gross crime against humanity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm more disturbed that George Stephanopolus at ABC put total Iraqi deaths at 100,000 last month. Clearly the jhu study has credibility issues