Sunday, March 14, 2004

Leap year strikes again

Since the deadly train bombings in Spain last week, there has been much speculation on who's responsible: ETA or al-Qaeda?

Among the reasons al-Qaeda's being mentioned? The eery coincidence that March 11, 2004, was exactly 911 days after Sept. 11, 2001. Hundreds of publications have repeated this.

Guess what? It's not true. It was 912 days later. Check it out for yourself.

Now, you could argue: "Nine hundred eleven, 912? Who cares? Close enough!" Or maybe the terrorists just forget to factor in that crazy, crazy leap year. That's fine if you're trying to convince your dog. But it won't work for newspaper reporting.

I noticed that some of these publications are saying "911 days in between" the two events. I guess that's technically accurate, but it seems disingenuous to me. We never report the days "in between." People are doing so now only to fit their point.


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