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It is a headline that will cause any parent with a pulse to look twice.

Wow. Yikes. Things are clearly off the rails if children are making up a majority of Iowa’s new COVID cases. We’re talking poor, innocent kids making up — well, a majority — so it must be, at the very least, 50.1 percent.

Click on the story. Read it…

“Children aged 17 and younger made up 29 percent of the positive COVID-19 cases reported in Iowa this past week and remain the top age group for positive cases.”

Wait. Scroll back up. Make sure the headline says what I thought it says…

Crud. With all the definitions for things like mom, breastfeeding, dad, boy, girl changing, did I miss the change in definition to the word “majority?”

Merriam-Webster makes it clear, I did not.

“Majority is a number or percentage equaling more than half of a total.”

Phew. What a relief.

But, that doesn’t change what the Gazette did. I mean, they doubled down with their own little graphic:

Nice. Clean. Simple. Colorful. But incredibly dishonest.

To be clear, I’m a product of the Des Moines Public Schools, but last time I checked, 29 percent is not quite a majority. It is hardly one-quarter or 25 percent.

It is important to understand that this mathematical miscue was missed by multiple people. Someone wrote the story that led to that headline. Someone came up with that headline. Someone made the graphic. Someone slapped that headline on the graphic. Someone edited the headline and the graph. Someone printed the paper for Pete’s sake.

Yet no one noticed the obvious error?

How is that possible? I mean, this is not one of those “the train left the station at this speed at this time and will do this…what time will it arrive in Pittsburgh” type questions.

This is pretty basic. Majority means 50.1 percent or more. Twenty-nine percent is not quite the majority.

Unfortunately, many people do not read stories on the Internet. Most will look at the headline and draw their conclusions. Surely those at the Gazette know this.

So what would prompt someone to write such an incredibly misguided and miscalculated headline?

An agenda. That’s the only logical explanation I can come up with.

Author: Jacob Hall