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« Idle Thought | Main | It's Mars Day! »

Brain-Dead Media

I've heard three references today (from NPR this morning, from Greta on Fox, and from Cici Connally on Brit Hume's show) that today is a "milestone," because the number of US military casualties since President Bush declared major hostilities over is now equal to casualties in Iraq during the war itself.

Can someone explain to me why this is a significant number?

Two points.

First, to make such an equation is to engage in an exercise of irrational numerology. I can't imagine why the number, or the ratio of the two numbers, is of any significance.

Second, it seems to me that, like Warren Buffet's comparison of California with Nebraska property taxes, this makes exactly the opposite point from that intended. To wit, rather than implying that California's taxes are too low, it really implies that Nebraska's are too high. Similarly, for those who complain about the "high" number of deaths since the end of major combat ops (less than the murder rate of any major city in the US), it simply points out how low our casualties in the war itself were.

But leave it to the liberal...errrmm...excuse me, "progressive" media to attempt to make good news seem like bad...

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 26, 2003 10:00 PM
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The Left's infatuation with body counts is truly morbid.

The real milestone will be when the number of casualties in Iraq exceeds the number of law enforcement officers throughout the US killed in the line of duty.

Posted by Raoul Ortega at August 26, 2003 10:22 PM

You'd think they'd understand that the natural tendency of the human brain to make patterns, even when there is none, is one of the most common ways in which we fool ourselves. Why aren't the media more accountable for being professional enough to avoid this trap. Good call, Rand.

Posted by ken anthony at August 27, 2003 02:30 AM

Why, at this rate, we might only be able to support the operation... indefinitely, with virtually no loss in manpower.

I'd like to hear how Army recruitment has gone during the same time period, and likewise retention of trained personnel.

Posted by Jon Acheson at August 27, 2003 10:58 AM

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