Monday, January 31, 2005

How "Successful" Were the Terrorists?

Paul Boutin's blog puts election-day attacks in context. Link.

Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05)

Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)

Context helps a lot. Think of how US media coverage of Iraq compares with your local TV news. If it's like most local TV news, it follows the rule, "If it bleeds, it leads." If some alien on another planet picked up those signals, he (naturally that is the gender of the alien with control of the remote) would think that life in your city consisted of rapes, murders, robberies and fires. He has no context to shape his view. You live there, so you know that the reports are covering the rare exceptions, not normal life there. It is the same with Iraq. You are only seeing the car bombs, but those are the rare exception, not normal life there.


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