Tag Archives: El País

Bin Laden hidden in a football field

Some weeks ago I read in the newspaper one of these mistakes that you may find so often with some journalists (apologies for journalist friends who may feel criticized). I checked some weeks later and it hasn’t been corrected, so I’ll let you know.

The article is about a plan to capture Bin Laden. It says that he is hidden in a region of 11.585 square meters up in the mountains… I checked the cables (6) mentioned in the article and in no one it says the size of the region. I haven’t been there in Waziristan, but I know the figure is wrong. I say I know, not I suspect. That’s the problem with some journalists they just don’t know nevertheless they write about it.

11.585sqm is the size of the garden of my parents’ neighbour. It is a square of 107 by 107 meters, a football field so to say. Do you believe that Bin Laden is succeeding in hiding himself in a football field from an army of thousands? Then he could have just titled it “Bin Laden hidden in a football field!”, a much more catchy headline to attract readers.

I am sure that in your respective fields of knowledge you have seen plenty of similar cases that make you doubt about everything you read in papers.

I believe the guy took the info from the Wikipedia. There it says 11.585 square kilometres (a region the size of Madrid region) and he just copied it wrongly… don’t know what is worse: whether copying without understanding or copying without caring about mistakes, you name it.

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