Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Almost Inconceivable Incompetence Of The New York Times

The rank incompetence that is now standard operating procedure at the New York Times is often obscured by the paper's overwhelming political bias and selectivity as to what it will report. But not always. Case in point: The Times has been running an article for the past two days under the headline Report Shows AIDS Epidemic Slowdown in 2005 by Lawrence K. Altman that contains this amazing passage:
India, for example, is at about the same level as South Africa as the country with the largest number of H.I.V. infections. India has 5.7 million infected people and South Africa 5.5 million, but India's population is far greater. Showing no sign of decline, South Africa has a prevalence rate of about 19 percent of 47 million people. In India, the rate is less than 1 percent of its population of 1.1 billion.

How difficult is it for the Times and Mr. Altman to figure out that 19 percent is about 20 percent, and 20 percent of 47 million is 4.7 million times 2, which is 9.4 million - not anywhere close to the 5.5 million the Times claims? Apparently, very difficult, since the Times has been running the error continuously for two days. Are they ever going to figure it out?

Good grief. And some (foolish) people actually rely on this rag as more than just a tell-tale of what the liberal world is thinking.

Update (June 1): Now three days.

Update (June 3): Still no correction. The reader can do the math to find the number of days this ridiculous error has been up, even though the New York Times is incapable of something so involved.

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