Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fear of Math

Well as you all know by now there was a plane crash in a building on the Upper East side about two hours ago. The coverage is an object lesson in how the press works and thinks:

" NEW YORK - A small plane crashed into a 50-story condominium tower Wednesday on Manhattan's Upper East Side...The plane hit the 20th floor of the Belaire — a tower overlooking the East River, about five miles from the World Trade Center..."

Now, I'm hoping that this report, which hasn't been corrected in a couple of hours, eventually does get fixed. But when you look at all of the photos, you'll notice that if the plane crashed at the 20th floor of a 50 story building, then there would be 30 stories between the site of the crash and the roof. Clearly this is not the case. I suppose that it would have been too much to ask that someone actually count the floors of the building. My guess is that someone mentioned the numbers 20 and 50 and it just stuck. What's also interesting is that all of the reports, from CNN to ESPN to the NY Times are saying the same thing.

Obviously a quibble, but a good example of careless reporting that shouldn't be trusted. But what gets my ire is this line from the article:

"...The crash struck fear in a city devastated by the attacks of Sept. 11 five years ago..."

Blow me. I know that the administration banks on there being eight and a quarter million people in this fair town cowering in basements and having flashbacks every time they hear a plane engine, but that is far from the truth. Far, far from it. I'm so tired of this insane story line.

Now they are reporting that the plane was piloted by Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle. Not their best postseason.