The PointBy Daniel Greenfield

FACT CHECK: Trump is Right, The Media's 3,000 Puerto Rico Death Toll is Inflated

The media falsely claims that the 3,000 death toll estimate is a fact. It’s not. 

Trump falsely claims nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico ‘did not die’  —  CNN

Trump Rejects Puerto Rico Death Toll, Falsely Accusing Democrats of Inflating Numbers  – New York Times:

Why Trump’s tweets about Puerto Rico are obviously untrue –  Washington Post: 

The only thing obviously untrue is treating any of the studies claiming a hurricane death toll in the thousands as a fact. Fact checking President Trump for not accepting these estimates is a further abuse of the very idea of what a ‘fact’ is.

“Nearly 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. President Donald Trump denied this reality as a hurricane barrels toward the Carolinas,” CNN’s Betsy Klein shrieks.

By aftermath, Betsy means from September to February of next year.

The reality is that people died. The idea that they died in February of next year because of the hurricane is nonsense that’s being spread by the media for partisan reasons.

Here’s the actual wording of the study that CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post are using to “fact check” Trump.

“Results from the preferred statistical model, shown below, estimate that excess mortality due to Hurricane María using the displacement scenario is estimated at 1,271 excess deaths in September and October (95% CI: 1,154-1,383), 2,098 excess deaths from September to December (95% CI: 1,872-2,315), and, 2,975 (95% CI: 2,658-3,290) excess deaths for the total study period of September 2017 through February 2018.”

A “preferred statistical model” is not a fact. It’s a projection.

What the study, like previous studies did, is ‘guesstimate’ Puerto Rico’s population, compare average death rates, assume that based on the guesstimated population, that the number of deaths from September to February were 2,975 in excess of what they should have been.

These are not facts. Even if you agree with them, they’re basically guesses with some math behind them.

They don’t represent a factual list of deaths caused by the hurricane, but, assuming that the various guesses are correct (and they aren’t necessarily right) represent a statistical spike for a particular period overlapping with the hurricane and then for months and months afterward.

There’s over 800 excess deaths from December to February. How could the hurricane manage to kill 1,271 people in the first months, but then consistently go on killing some 800 people in the next two periods?

Don’t expect the media fact checkers to answer that one. The study, like many others, is a guess. The media’s bias and its mendacious insistence that its agenda is unbiased and fact based… however is a fact.

The media falsely claims that the 3,000 death toll estimate is a fact. It’s not. 

The media is fake news. And that is a fact.