One of the many factual errors in Parkinson’s piece on deaths in Iraq was the claim that the Lancet study only surveyed 788 households (actually it was 988 households). I did a Google search to see who else had made the same error, and what do you know, it first appeared in a error-filled May 25 article by Andrew Bolt:
Lancet surveyed 788 Iraqi households. The UN surveyed 21,668 — or almost 30 times more. You figure which is more accurate.
Parkinson’s column was drafted just two days after Bolt’s, and like Bolt he failed to mention that the ILCS only covered the first year of the occupation and was just measuring those directly killed in the fighting and not including the increased deaths from disease and murder. There doesn’t seem to be any other source for the 788 number so it looks like Parkinson got his information from Bolt.
And where did Bolt get his story from? Mostly likely this Tim Blair post. (Bolt says that Blair’s blog is “daily reading” for him.) Like Bolt, Blair gets the size of the Lancet survey wrong, saying that it only covered 808 households. Blair goes out of his way to avoid mentioning that the surveys covered different time periods. He quotes from an email I sent to him that explained that the surveys covered different periods, but chose not to include that part of my email in his post.
The circle was completed when Blair approvingly quoted Parkinson’s comments on the Lancet study (which were derived from a Bolt column which was derived from a Blair post.)
Spooner’s cartoon (shown above) that accompanied Parkinson’s article insinuates that anti-war people were glad to find that the war had killed 100,000 people. Bolt makes a similar claim in his column:
no story about America’s evil is too improbable for many leading commentators, who gleefully repeated these exaggerated figures.
However, if you read what war opponents have written about the Lancetfindings, it is perfectly clear that they are not “gleeful” about the loss of life, but saddened and angry. It is disappointing that Spooner and Bolt would draw/write such a blatant falsehood.