We found out about this media whopper through a post by TusconSentinel.com. On Tuesday, Tucson’s KGUN-9 news station did a story about Latinos and HIV, since October 15 was National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day.
According to KGUN-9’s initial report, it claimed that 1 in 4 Latinos in the United States are HIV positive.
If that were the case, it would mean that 15,000,000 Latinos (15 million) would be HIV positive. Like the Tuscon Sentinel noted, “Real data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that there are about 1,140,000 total people living with HIV in the United States.” The real number for U.S. Latinos would be around 254,000.
After getting slammed online for its faulty reporting, KGUN-9 had to issue this correction: “EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story used the incorrect headline, ‘1 in every 4 Latinos are HIV positive and don’t even know it,’ which is obviously inaccurate. According to the CDC, one in six Latinos with HIV don’t know it, and one in four Latino gay or bisexual men are at risk for HIV in their lifetime. KGUN 9 has corrected the story and regrets the error.”
Even though they noted the error, that’s a pretty big error, and in the age of “fake news,” it just adds to the growing danger that media on all levels should always strive to be as accurate as possible. In addition, the botched-up and false headline just detracted from a report that actually try to help the community. So the initial intent of the piece is completely ignored because basic journalism failed.