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Medialens’s embarrassing archive (part 5) November 3, 2008

Posted by dissident93 in Iraq mortality, Medialens.
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Medialens prompts its readers to send emails to journalists and others. The Medialens editors then copy the “best” of these emails to their message board, partly to show how rational, coherent, informed and polite their readers are. (They once wrote that their readers’ emails were “awesomely polite”).

An example is given below. It was an email sent to Iraq Body Count (in response to a Medialens “alert” on IBC). It’s fairly typical, and carries the seal of approval of the Medialens editors (who posted it).

It’s also so incoherent and irate that I’ve added a brief translation, to save you the strain of extracting meaning from the static.

First, here’s the email:

Dear Sirs,

I must say I am shocked after reading the Media Lens investigation into your reported figures, not so much by their apparent inaccuracy, but by the fact that you are not fighting your corner! I would expect you to loudly and angrily protest that your figures are indeed accurate and explain why. If you cannot do this then should be utterly ashamed of yourselves. Instead you are mumbling about changing things in the future. Why are you even bothering? If you can’t (or more likely won’t) produce even approximately accurate figures, what is point of continuing? To put it bluntly, you’ve been rumbled, but instead of closing down the site, or updating and explaining the gross inaccuracy of your figures, you’re just carrying on as normal. History doesn’t record what the Emperor did when it was obvious he was naked, but I bet he didn’t carry on with the procession.

Shame on you.

Martin Gibbons
(Posted by Medialens editors to the Medialens message board, 14/3/06)

Here’s my condensed translation:

Dear Sirs,

Your figures are apparently inaccurate.
I would expect you to loudly and angrily protest that your figures are indeed accurate and explain why.
Instead of explaining the gross inaccuracy of your figures, you’re just carrying on as normal.

Shame on you.

Mr Gibbons provides no examples of any figures, so it’s difficult to judge their accuracy or inaccuracy.* But as the Medialens editors explained, it’s really remarkably shameful that IBC didn’t interrupt their work on Iraqi deaths to provide a full response to Mr Gibbons’s “rational questions”.

*None of the studies on Iraqi deaths provide “accurate” estimates of the total killed. Unlike Medialens and their followers, most experts in the field have no problem with IBC’s figures, or the way they’re presented (as an incomplete count). For example, Beth Osborne Daponte (the renowned demographer), writes that “Perhaps the best that the public can be given is exactly what IBC provides – a running tally of deaths derived from knowledge about incidents.”

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