Saturday, October 08, 2011

Dept. of Making Shit Up

Fox News:

Honduras Led World in Homicides in 2010; 4 Latin American Countries in Top 5

Honduras led the world in homicides per capita in 2010, according to an international study.

The Central American country was not the only Latin American country listed among the most dangerous places in the world, according to the first United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's Global Study on Homicide. In fact, four of the top five countries are from Latin America.

The other Latin American countries are El Salvador, Panamá and México; the former British colony of Belize, which is geographically in Central America but which is classified along with the British West Indies, was the other country to round out the top five, the study found.

This is, of course, not even remotely true. It's hard to believe that anyone with an ounce of common sense wouldn't have looked over the copy and thought, "Really? The five deadliest countries in the world all border each other?" But then no one with an ounce of common sense would work for Fox News. Mystery solved.

Fortunately, the article includes a link to the actual study [pdf]. Honduras does in fact lead the world - though not with a rate of "82.1 for every 1,000 people in the country," as Fox believes, but 82.1 per 100,000, followed by El Salvador at 66. Belize is [surprisingly, to us] 6th, which is not, last we checked, in the "top five." Panama is around 28th (the report doesn't actually list countries by order of homicide rate, so we may have missed one or two).

At this point, we start wondering how Fox could botch this one so badly. Having made a number of honest mistake in our lives, we like to give the benefit of the doubt. At first we thought the reporter simply read the section on Central America and mistakenly though it was the whole world:

But even this doesn't hold up. Guatemala has an astronomically high murder rate (though slightly lower than Belize's, and therefore also not in the "top five"), but it isn't even included in the story. So we'll just have to go with "making shit up" as the reason.

And what about Mexico, which rounds out Fox News's five deadliest nations in the world? Well...

Mexico had a homicide rate of 18.1 per 100,000 people last year, among the lowest in the region, although the 112 million-person nation dominates headlines for its brutal killings and bloody drug gang turf battles.

Mexico ranks around 40th - nothing to brag about really, but a good 35 places behind the "top five."

1 comment:

Dave said...

It simultaneously amazes and scares me that there are so many people that see Fox News as the only valid news source. Not suprisingly they're also amongst the most ignorant...don't expect them to doubt anything...