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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where is The Washington Post Getting Its Numbers for Iraq Deaths in Samara Shrine Unrest?

Where did The Washington Post get its figure of 1,300 Iraqi deaths as a result of unrest following the attack on the gold-domed Shiite Shrine, Askariya? Where did the Post get its figure of more than 100 Sunni mosques being burned, shot at or fire-bombed?

Gateway Pundit is asking some very disturbing questions about the Post's coverage. The Post story cites the main morque in Baghdad as its Feb. 28 story source for the 1,300 deaths figure, but the morque has since revised that figure downward signficantly. It is possible the discrepancy is a result of different counting methods or periods.

I've emailed Post reporter Ellen Knickmeyer asking for her account. On the same day the Knickmeyer story appeared, another Post reporter, Nelson Hernandez, answered an online question regarding the number:

"Our numbers came from a visit to the morgue and comments by morgue workers and Baghdad police. We have spoken to a member of the Interior Ministry again today and he said again that over 1,000 people died in the fighting that followed the bombing in Samarra."

Even so, a disparity of 300 deaths is a significant difference, so the confusion about what number should the Post have reported and where it got the 1,300 figure remains.