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More Dumb Numbers?

As we alluded to yesterday, there is some confusion over the Post’s death toll numbers following the bombing of a Shi’ite shrine. Today Slate’s Eric Umansky provides the best context:

    There’s still no corroboration of yesterday’s big Post report, cited to Baghdad’s morgue, that 1,300 Iraqis have been killed since last week’s shrine bombing. The NYT again points out that the two directors of the morgue recently put the figure at 246. The LAT says authorities have logged 519 deaths from “unnatural causes,” though that includes car accidents, suicides, and such.

    The Post doesn’t seem to be backing down. “PRESSURE SEEN ON PROBES AT BAGHDAD MORGUE,” announces the paper. And who saw that pressure? The U.N.’s former human-rights chief for Iraq, who recently left the job and spoke to the WP from … Sydney. The Post also quotes an interior ministry official putting the number at 1,077–except that again the other papers don’t have that. Meanwhile, the Post follows-up with the director of the morgue who basically repeated what he told the NYT: Only a few hundred bodies have shown up. The WP puts that in the 11th paragraph.

Is a clarification or explanation forthcoming?

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