Media: 365-Day Error

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It was a difficult decision.

I hate starting off a new year with a complaint. But I hate ignorance in media even more.

Headlines in a number of internet media–including–proclaimed that revelers were celebrating the beginning of a “new decade” on January 1, 2010.

Not so fast.

The “new decade” will begin with 2011. The year 2010 is the last year of the first decade of the 21st century. This is due to the elementary fact that there was no year “zero”. The first decade of our Common Era (C.E.) comprised years 1 – 10. The second decade consisted of years 11 – 20. Do the math and you’ll see where we’re going.

Perhaps it’s just another example of declining journalism skills. First the words, then the math.

Accuracy? That was a casualty that succumbed long, long ago.

Happy New Year.

1 thought on “Media: 365-Day Error

  1. J.N. Kish

    Interesting, I just had this discussion with a friend last night. I tried to explain- “A decade consists of 10 years. We are just beginning the tenth year.” She responded- “But, CNN is celebrating a new decade… You are wrong.”

    So much can be said about this conversation. But let’s stick to the facts.

    The situation is explained well on Wikipedia-
    “The third millennium of the Gregorian calendar began on 1 January 2001, rather than the popularly-celebrated 1 January 2000. This is a direct consequence of the absence of a year zero in the anno Domini era. Had there been a year zero, which might be considered part of the first millennium, then 1 January 2000 would indeed mark 2000 years since the year numbering datum and be the start of the third millennium. This also applies to centuries and decades. Thus, the 20th century began on 1 January 1901; and the 21st century began on 1 January 2001.”

    … And this decade begins on 1 January 2011.

    For those who follow the facts: “Happy New Year”.

    For those who follow CNN: “Happy New Decade… Sorry, no, you can’t break my ten if you only have nine dollars”.

    Links: Wikipedia-

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