Alta minciuna gogonata a lui Bush-Impostorul a fost dezvaluita azi de
presa: cifra anuntata de Bush de 60% prezentare la vot in Irak a fost
masluita! Cifrele reale se invart in momentul de fata intre 20% si

Cand naiba o sa se opreasca sarlatanul asta din mintit? A mintit cu
razboiul, a mintit despre cum a dezertat din armata, a mintit despre
cum a fost arestat pt betie la volan, a mintit despre cum a furat
alegerile, a mintit despre cum si-a fortat amica sa faca avort in
tinerete, a mintit despre relatiile lui cu familia lui bin Laden, a
mintit despre relatiile lui cu seful de la Enron, si tot asa.....

UPDATE: Officials Back Away from Early Estimates of Iraqi Voter 

Everyone is delighted that so many Iraqis went to the polls on Sunday,
but do the two turnout numbers routinely cited by the press -- 8
million and 57% -- have any basis in reality? And was the outpouring
of voters in Sunni areas really "surprisingly strong"?

By Greg Mitchell

(February 02, 2005) -- Everyone, of course, is thrilled that so many
Iraqis turned out to vote, in the face of threats and intimidation, on
Sunday. But in hailing, and at times gushing, over the turnout, has
the American media (as it did two years ago in the hyping of Saddam's
WMDs) forgotten core journalistic principles in regard to
fact-checking and weighing partisan assertions?

It appears so. For days, the press repeated, as gospel, assertions
offered by an election official that 8 million Iraqis went to the
polls on Sunday, an impressive 57% turnout rate. I questioned those
figures as early as last Sunday, and offered the detailed analysis
below on Wednesday. Finally, on Thursday night, John F. Burns and
Dexter Filkins of The New York Times reported that Iraqi election
officials have quietly "backtracked, saying that the 8 million
estimate had been reached hastily on the basis of telephone reports
from polling stations across the country and that the figure could

Then, in Friday's paper, Burns and Filkins noted that one election
commision official was "evasive about the turnout, implying it might
end up significantly lower than the initial estimate." They quoted
this official, Safwat Radhid, exclaiming: "Only God Almighty knows the
final turnout now." They revealed that the announcement of a turnout
number, expected to be released this weekend, has been put off for a
week, due to the "complex" tabulation system.

I'll be delighted if that figure, when it is officially announced,
exceeds the dubious numbers already enshrined by much of the media.
But don't be surprised if it falls a bit short. The point is: Nobody
knows, and reporters and pundits should have never acted like they did
know when they stated, flatly, that 8 million Iraqis voted and that
this represents a turnout rate of about 57%.

Carl Bialik, who writes the Numbers Guy column for Wall Street Journal
Online, calls this "a great question ... how the journalists can know
these numbers -- when so many of them aren't able to venture out all
over that country." Speaking to E&P on Wednesday, Howard Kurtz of The
Washington Post -- one of the few mainstream journalists to raise
questions about the turnout percentage -- referred to the "fuzzy math"
at the heart of it.

Those with long memories may recall the downward-adjusted turnout
numbers that followed violence-plagued elections in South Vietnam in
1967 and in El Salvador in 1984.

And one thing we now know for sure: the early media blather about a
"strong" Sunni turnout has proven false. Adding a dose of reality, The
Associated Press on Wednesday cited a Western diplomat who declared
that turnout appeared to have been "quite low" in Iraq's vast Anbar
province. Meanwhile, Carlos Valenzuela, the chief United Nations
elections expert in Iraq, cautioned that forecasts for the Sunni areas
were so low to begin with that even a higher-than-expected turnout
would remain low.

In a rare reference to an actual vote tabulation, The New York Times
on Thursday reports that in the "diverse" city of Mosul, with 60% of
the count completed, the overall turnout seems slightly above 10%, or
"somewhat more than 50,000 of Mosul's 500,000 estimated eligible

This, of course, is no minor matter: Iraq's leading Sunni Muslim
clerics said Wednesday that the country's election lacked legitimacy
because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting.
Sure, many of them are simply sore losers (they lost an entire
country) but that doesn't make their reaction any less troublesome for
Iraq's future, especially with the cleric-backed Shiite alliance
apparently headed for a landslide win.

Dexter Filkins of The New York Times warned Thursday that the
widespread Sunni boycott "could even lead to the failure of the
constitution; under the rules drafted last year to guide the
establishment of a new Iraqi state, a two-thirds 'no' vote in three
provinces would send the constitution down to defeat. The Sunnis are a
majority in three provinces."

As for the overall Iraqi turnout: the more the better, but why is the
press so confident in the estimates from an Iraqi commission with a
clear stake in a high number?

For several days now, many in the media have routinely referred to the
figure of 8 million Iraqi voters, following the lead of Farid Ayar,
the spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq. In
the original press citations, what Ayar actually said (hedging his
bets) was "as many as 8 million," which most reports quickly
translated as "about 8 million," and then, inevitably, "8 million." A
Knight Ridder report was among the few that characterized this as only
a guess.

Curiously, the day before the election, according to press reports,
Ayar had predicted that 7 to 8 million would turn out, giving him some
incentive to later spot the numbers in that neighborhood.

Also, one dares to ask: If the commission expected close to 8 million,
and that's what happened -- and there was less violence on election
day than anticipated -- why was the turnout greeted as such a
surprise? Especially since U.S. and Iraqi leaders have spent months
knocking the press for failing to report that the vast majority of
regions in this country are safe and friendly.

The percentage of turnout supplied by Ayar came to 57% (happily
rounded off by many in the press to 60%). This was based on what was
described as 14 million potential voters divided by those 8 million
who braved the potential bullets and bombs to go to the polls.

On Sunday, while hailing the millions going to the polls, I also
raised questions about the 14 million eligible figure: was that
registered voters, or all adults over 18, or what? Few on TV or in
print seem to be quite sure, to this day.

It's a big difference. Since Sunday, countless TV talking heads, such
as Chris Matthews, and print pundits have compared the Iraq turnout
favorably to U.S. national elections, not seeming to understand that
80%-90% of our registered voters usually turn out. The problem in our
country is that so few people bother to register, bringing our overall
turnout numbers way down.

Howard Kurtz at least looked into the Iraqi numbers. In a Tuesday
column, he observed that "the 14 million figure is the number of
registered Iraqis, while turnout is usually calculated using the
number of eligible voters. The number of adults in Iraq is probably
closer to 18 million," which would lower the turnout figure to 45%
(if, indeed, the 8 million number holds up).

To put it clearly: If say, for example, 50,000 residents of a city
registered and 25,000 voted, that would seem like a very respectable
50% turnout, by one standard. But if the adult population of the city
was 150,000, then the actual turnout of 16% would look quite

"Election officials concede they did not have a reliable baseline on
which to calculate turnout," Kurtz concluded.

He also quoted Democratic strategist Robert Weiner as saying: "It's an
amazing media error, a huge blunder. I'm sure the Bush administration
is thrilled by this spin."

Bloggers quickly questioned Kurtz's upgrade to 18 million, noting that
the population of the country, according to many sources, is 25
million or so, and the population is heavily teenaged and younger. But
other current estimates run as high as 27.1 million.

The critics also hit Kurtz for not providing a source for his 18
million figure. But Kurtz told E&P on Wednseday, "I talked to a couple
of experts, one of whom was Ken Pollack, from Brookings, and also ran
it by two of my reporters in Baghdad. But it is definitely an
approximation, just trying to give a sense that -- the one thing
everyone I consulted seems to agree on -- is that the 14 million, the
baseline, is a very fuzzy figure because there was no registration."

He said he thought it was Pollack, "who studies this for a living,"
who pegged the adult population of Iraq at 17 or 18 million. "Maybe he
leaned more toward 18 million," Kurtz added. "I don't know if this is
a definitive figure but I was just trying to explain the difference
between whatever that figure is and the 14 million that was so widely
used by all the media as if it were everyone eligible -- which means,
to me, everyone over 18. When in fact it was this concocted number
about passive registration based on who got rations. The point is,
it's all fuzzy math, and I was just trying to illustrate that."

He added: "This was my stab at just trying to tell readers the 60%
figure that had been so widely touted was hardly definitive, and it
may be lower."

All credit to the brave Iraqis who did vote, and in many places they
did turn out in droves. But it occurred to me, watching the moving TV
images on Sunday of people standing in line outside polling places in
Sunni hot spots, that maybe, as so often, the camera lied. In many
embattled Sunni cities, we'd been told, many if not most polling
places never opened. Wouldn't this likely cause a crush, by even a few
hundred voters, at the relatively few places that did open?

Not that anyone, that I know of, was asking.

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