The event was bad enough: an earthquake that devastated portions of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India early yesterday. Claims of death tolls of 30-thousand or more are circulating in Kashmir alone, with upwards of 42-thousand reported injured in that region. In the old days my first thoughts on hearing that would have been, ..."that's terrible." But the reaction I have now when I hear such reports is, ..."really? How do they know that yet?" That's one fall-out from an out of control media here in the "good-old USA".
Just last month we heard first-hand stories of such gruesome behavior following Hurricane Katrina one might have imagined the devil himself had whipped those perpetrators into an out of control herd of animals. The often brutal descriptions were unlike anything most would have imagined in these United States. And we were told to get ready for a death toll in five figures when all was said and done. It turned out to be hysterical nonsense which had been given creedence simply on the basis of who it was passing those rumors on as facts. Elected officials and members of the news media were equally at fault for not "fact-checking" what they were presenting as truth. Now we know the feeding frenzy was just that -- an insane hunger for some kind of terrible news to report. We also know it was false and misleading.
So, how do we know we can believe the numbers coming out of Pakistan? Just because the local politicians and news media there say it's so? Hopefully, this too will turn out to be hyped-up. Unfortunately, their politicians and news media probably aren't operating with an eye on portraying their fellow citizens in the worst possible light. Meanwhile, I am hoping things turn out better for those affected by yesterday's earthquake than we've been hearing.