13 October 2011

Why is the Math Wrong on the MSF Kidnapping Story? (Doesn't 2+2=4)

UPDATE: I have jumped the gun on this post and wrote it based on very early reports that have yet to be completely substantiated.  See my follow up post here about how I came to fail.


The headlines say that two Spanish nationals working for MSF have been kidnapped.

AFP: Two Spanish aid workers kidnapped in Kenya
News24: 2 aid workers kidnapped in Kenya
Financial Times: Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Kenya
Capital FM: Two aid workers kidnapped in Dadaab
The Guardian: Two aid workers kidnapped from Kenyan refugee camp
and so on...

Problem is that two Kenyan aid workers were also kidnapped during the raid on a car and the driver was shot in the neck (no mention of nationality of the driver but I would hazard a guess that he is also Kenyan). Some of the articles do not even mention the two Kenyans. So why are the reports mentioning only two of the four people? Don't the other two matter just the same? Don't they count as aid workers? Note that Capital FM is included with is a Kenyan news source, so it does not just the international press.

Fortunately the Kenyan Standard does a better job reporting:
Somalia gang strike again abducting four people in the world's largest refugee camp, Dadaab.

Two of the victims worked with Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) Spain and were in the company of two locals when they were attacked.

Police said the attackers were suspected to have come from neighbouring Somalia, and both military and police are pursuing them by land and air.

Reports said there was a shootout in the area between the gunmen and another group before the victims were taken away.

The gunmen had hijacked workers’ vehicle and shot the driver in the neck.

North Eastern PPO, Leo Nyongesa said a major operation was underway to rescue the victims.
I could put out a few thoughts on why the reporting is skewed, but that seems to obvious. The better thing to discuss is how to change it. Maybe some will think that it is perfectly fine. Jump in the comments to share what you think.

I look forward to participating and hearing your thoughts.