This is an interesting article.
I would be interested to hear what Scott has to say about your claims of sensationalism. He is a class V kayaker and I would think could cast a good light on the subject.
Who knows what the answer is but the point in the article about the people being on vacation and not thinking about the consequences is a great point. I feel that our society has become complacent about the consequences of our actions and this is a perfect example. Yes most of what you say during a safety talk goes in one ear and out the other (I used to guide so I have see it first hand) but it is really up to those people to listen and make the choice for themselves. How can you make someone understand what they have gotten themselves into when our everyday lives seem so safe and without consequence?
Take a look at this article to get an interesting look at this issue from the rafting customer's side:
Vail Daily News for Vail and Beaver Creek Colorado - Letters to the Editor
The letter in question is the second one down. I would like to say that the crux of the issue is how can you make the person that wrote that letter understand that rafting is dangerous and even in "easy" class III water someone could die?
I have never lost friends in a boating accident (thank goodness) but have lost friends in rock climbing accidents. The things we do are dangerous but we understand the risks and weigh those risks in light of the fun that is to be had. People that come here on vacation do not understand those risks nor can they determine the risk to fun ratio. How do we allow them to make the decision for themselves? For that, I do not have the answer.