Well, slowly but ever so surely, the real story is coming out.
When I heard one reporter report to another reporter the staggering - and climbing - virtual death toll in New Orleans that resulted from Hurricane Katrina slamming into ... Mississippi, my thought was, "Wait a minute. New Orleans suffered a good bit of wind damage but structurally the city's buildings were comparatively sound. It was only after the storm passed that the levees gave way and the city's streets slowly flooded. Logically, there was no way that ten thousand people drowned when the water inundated New Orleans."
It seems that finally the water level ... and the hysteria are subsiding. Here's the latest "news" in the New York Times:
Death Toll in New Orleans May Be Lower Than First Feared118. In the entire state of Lousiana. A tragic number in itself but that's a far cry from 10,000.
By SEWELL CHAN and MICHAEL LUO
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 9 - The first organized effort to scour the city for its dead has turned up far fewer bodies than expected, officials said Friday. That raised hopes that the death toll from Hurricane Katrina might be much lower than the 10,000 that the mayor and others had predicted.
As the floodwater continued to recede, police officers, National Guard members and members of the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army began to canvass street to street and house to house in the first phase of a hunt to find, remove and identify the dead.
"There's some encouragement in what we found in the initial sweeps," Col. Terry J. Ebbert, the city's director of homeland security, said. "The numbers so far are relatively minor as compared with the dire predictions of 10,000."
The specter of a five-figure toll was raised this week, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered 25,000 body bags flown to a temporary morgue in St. Gabriel. The official state death count stood at 118. Mississippi reported 211. (link)
So, what is the lesson to be learned here? First, when the authorities tell you to run, run.
Second, when a "journalist" "reports" - in breathless intonations - anything, run.