Thursday, November 30, 2006

One of the key elements common to modern journalism, blogging, and political activism is the need to maintain a state of perpetual outrage over trivial matters. Since the election, we liberals have let our outrage slip. Meanwhile, the conservatives are well into the war on Christmas season--the most outraged time of year for them. Those who aren't as deeply motivated by public symbols can still get outraged by a children's movie daring to support a well established scientific theory. We're falling behind. We cannot have an outrage gap.

On Tuesday's Rush Limbaugh Show, the loud-mouthed drug-addict's guest host Roger Hedgecock decided to become outraged over a news program daring to say what everyone already knows, NBC's decision to call the civil war in Iraq a "civil war".
It's now a civil war. Boy, I'm glad we've clarified that. Let's see. Did they call Bosnia and Kosovo a civil war? Huh?

Why, yes, I believe they did. I'm not sure what the point of that is supposed to be.
Did they -- did they call what's going on -- and by the way, the murder rate -- whatever you hear, whenever you hear a story about Baghdad about blowing up, about -- you know, today two car bombs went off in the entire country. The murder rate in Baghdad, the people being killed in Baghdad, is lower than the murder rate of Washington, D.C. Is Washington, D.C., in a civil war? NBC has not called it, so I dare not say.

Let's go back to that claim about the murder rate in Baghdad. According to "estimates from the Brookings Institution's Iraq Indexes from January 30 and November 27 indicate that about 13,300 Iraqi civilians were killed in Baghdad by violence in 2006 through October 15." According to the FBI, Washington, DC had 195 murders in 2005. The entire United States had 16,692 murders in 2005. That means there is a very good chance that the city of Baghdad will have slightly more violent killings this year than the total number of muders in the entire United States last year. Let clarify for those who are hopelessly innumerate, like Mr. Hedgecock (by unlike any of my readers). This does not mean living in Baghdad is just about as safe as the US. The population of Baghdad is around five and a half million and shrinking. The population of the US is around three hundred million and growing. If you live in Baghdad you are fifty-four times more likely to die a violent death this year than if you live in the United States, even if you live in Washington.

Hedgecock's misrepresentation of the facts (a nice way of saying "lying") is, well, outrageous.

No comments: