BBC News and the Misleading Headlines

Actually this should probably be titled “BBC News and the Blatant Shameless Lies”, and would probably make for a better paperback release.

I recently commented that BBC News was my former resource as far as news of the world was concerned, and that still remains mostly true. However, there are times when giving Silvia breakfast that I stumble on to the horribly laid out web portal that is BBC News and see if things have improved. Sadly, no they haven’t.

The headline in question is “HIV epidemic halted, says UN”. Now firstly, they fail miserably to include any quotes from the UN that contain the soundbyte in question… quite the contrary in fact: “Investments […] are paying off, but gains are fragile.” Well that doesn’t sound like halted to me!

In fact the figures they quote are a 20% drop since the peak in 1999. So that’s the like saying that the Ferrari “halted” at the pedestrian crossing when it actually skipped a red light and knocked half a dozen pedestrians at 56mph.

An alternative source, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (right up there with CNN, true story, bro… first Google search result, anyway…) has a more fleshed-out quote. But infection rates are falling, particularly in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Michel Sidibe says the statistics show the spread of HIV has halted in some places. There is a mixed picture in other parts of the world. Eastern Europe and central Asia show sharp rises in new infections and AIDS-related deaths.

Amazing what taking a word completely out of context will do.

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