Comments: More Fantasticness!

Hey! Our Fantasticness is not ironic!

But thanks for the link, and the sobering statistics. I wish there would be more surveys of what it is that readers get from the media, and more effort to directly link that to what is done in the media. I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by Saheli at February 24, 2007 08:47 PM

Wolffe has a point. The new journalistic standards (updated since Bob Woodward discovered that wolfing down puff pastries in the Oval Office is more fun than cavorting in dank basements with shady characters) consist of taking the low-volume crap that's fed to journalists by the centers of power and regurgitating it verbatim at high volume.

And so, thanks to a strict adherence to these new journalistic standards, we now know that only Americans have died in Iraq because Iraqis are too stupid to learn what Americans are trying to teach them, which is, to die. We now know that Iran has nuclear missiles aimed straight at Bush's bathtub.

And even today the NYT editorial told us that Putin is having a hissy fit because of the US decision to install anti-missile batteries in Poland. Why? In order to divert attention from his lack of popularity. Which makes perfect sense after all since Putin has a paltry 80% approval rating at home.

I say it's just fantasticoterrific! I think they should hand out Pulitzers every month. Just so much fantasticness to reward.

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at February 24, 2007 09:11 PM

Fish wrap and asswipe.

Posted by at February 24, 2007 11:05 PM

And even the article you quoted still screwed it up. 654,965 was a median estimate for the Lancet study.

The maximum was over 900,000. So 654,965 was not "as many as" but the most likely number.

Posted by Gar Lipow at February 25, 2007 12:19 AM

Something that surprises me is how people take John Hopkins studies as absolute gospel...except when it comes to estimated Iraqi deaths. Bizarre.

Posted by SPIIDERWEB™ at February 25, 2007 01:02 AM

It's slightly worrisome to me that people haggle over whether 600,000 Iraqis have been killed, or 60,000, or 6,000 or some other number. That suggests that, if it's "only" a few thousand, the war is justified, murder of a relative handful being okay.
It isn't.

Posted by Rosemary Molloy at February 25, 2007 06:19 AM

The number is worth haggling over. If the true death toll were 9000, then it's entirely possible that Iraqis would think it a worthwhile sacrifice to be rid of Saddam. In fact, my impression from reading Aaron Glantz's book on Iraq (I forgot the title, but Glantz is a leftwinger who works for Pacifica) is that Iraqis were intially willing to accept the thousands killed in the invasion phase as a price worth paying. This feeling quickly dissipated as the chaos and brutality of the occupation soon made them realize things weren't going to get better.

As for numbers, even the conservative IBC number is six times higher than this median American guess. And the American quoted was pretty blase about it all--people die in wars, he said. I think Chomsky is a little optimistic when he blames the deception of the press and politicians for the lack of outrage among ordinary Americans over what we do.

Posted by Donald Johnson at February 25, 2007 12:31 PM

the invasion was not done for the iraqis, though. it was done for, among other things, oil.

which is probably somethign that a lot of americans might feel is worth the iraqisacrifice

Posted by almostinfamous at February 25, 2007 01:01 PM

>Something that surprises me is how people take John Hopkins studies as absolute gospel...except when it comes to estimated Iraqi deaths. Bizarre.

Not really. People don't want to believe we've killed that many for lots of reasons. For many people the larger numbers are outside the range of acceptable discourse. It is just harder to buy that we are a clumsy good hearted giant, hurting people in the course of honest errors when the numbers get that high. You have admit cruelty, malice or criminal indifference - which is outside the range of criticism of the U.S. considered respectable. Among the punditry and foreign policy establishment, this is sometimes quite explicit. This trickles down to ordinary people who hear the large numbers in the form of "600,000? 900,000? That kind of number just does not pass the smell test." The logic is: The U.S. is a great and virtuous nation. Great and virtuous nations don't cause the deaths of 600,000 innocent people in the course of liberating them from a tyrant. So the 600,000 figure must be wrong. That really is responsible for a great deal of the ignorance. High numbers, or even common sense conclusion drawing from what they see on the news has to pass through a wall of willed ignorance.

Posted by Gar Lipow at February 25, 2007 01:05 PM

Either way you look at it, since there were NO WMDs, then essentially ALL THE DEATHS AMD INJURIES are over the killing of three people, SADDAM AND 2 SONS. If you add in the whole DECK OF CARDS (remember the cards?) that means a possible 1,000,000 people had to die in order to kill or capture 52 people or some percentage of 52 people. (Who knows how many have been wounded and or tortured or made sad and crazy) All that for 52 people, what a waste.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 25, 2007 01:51 PM

To be fair, the current argument is that the purpose was to create a democracy in Iraq, which I think was their purpose all along (WMDs being a canard), NOT merely to depose Saddam and his regime. So the equation isn't quite 52 people vs. 600,000 dead.

I have a question about the AP poll: presumably it offered a range of choices to those polled, rather than asking them to give a figure. Surely no one said '9890 iraqis died.' Anyone know how they come up with median estimates in this situation? Weighted average of points around the median?

Posted by saurabh at February 25, 2007 02:56 PM

Just popped over from Tom Tomorrow's site where I read this item.

One thing to bear in mind about the fantastic job the press is doing is the origin of the word "fantastic." It originally meant "something from a fantasy," the same way "fabulous" meant "something from a fable."

Yes, the media have been doing a fantastic job, haven't they? Also fabulous. And wonderful (causing wonder-- at their idiocy), and marvelous (causing one to marvel-- that they can still call themselves journalists). And sometimes even terrific (inspiring terror-- over the fate of our democracy).

Jana C.H.
Saith Alexis de Tocqueville: A false notion that is clear and precise will always have more power in the world than a true principle which is obscure or involved.

Posted by Jana at February 25, 2007 06:49 PM

I DO believe Regime change and the removal of Hussein to keep him from using those WMDs against US, (mushroom cloud) was the reason we attacked.

Posted by Mike Meyer at February 25, 2007 08:35 PM