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THE TINY TRAP

No word is more misused by news and media people than "tiny", in reference to countries or geographical areas, which by any objective evaluation are not. We have compiled these gaffes for a long time in Review of International Broadcasting and elsewhere, and now propose to keep track of them on this webpage.

I was too slow to turn off the TV as one of my unfavorite programs came on, The McLaughlin Group on PBS and OETA, Sunday June 19; just as well, since at 1904 UT, Eleanor Clift referred to Vietnam as ``a tiny country``!!! In total area, today`s SRV is slightly larger than New Mexico, but its population, mid-1999 per Time Almanac 2000 was over 77 mega. If she was referring to South Vietnam, 35 years ago, those figures would be less than half; but I can`t imagine anyone who has ever been to Vietnam considering it ``tiny``, a superlative, or rather diminutive, which should reserved for the really, really, small, such as Monaco. Actually, one doesn`t need to go there but use one`s head and consult easily available references (Glenn Hauser, DX LISTENING DIGEST 5-101, June 21, 2005)

Ian Watson, Beirut, referred to Lebanon as ``this tiny country`` on NPR News at 1402 UT March 5. How long has he been there? Yes, it`s small, half the size of Israel (including Palestine) in area, somewhere between Connecticut and Rhode Island, but tiny? 5,333 and a third Monacos could fit into Lebanon (Glenn Hauser, OK, DX LISTENING DIGEST 5-040, March 5, 2005)

THE TYRANT OF TOGO DIES AFTER HEART ATTACK By David Blair, Africa Correspondent (Filed: 07/02/2005)

After beggaring his people and basking in the plaudits of Paris for almost four decades, the last of West Africa's Francophone tyrants died at the weekend, bringing to an inglorious end an era of Machiavellian French statecraft. President Gnassingbé Eyadema of Togo, who gloried in France's "special relationship" with Africa, suffered a heart attack at the age of 69, hours before he was due to leave his tiny domain for Paris. . . http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/02/07/wtogo07.xml (the writer is not to be confused with RCI's David Blair) (via Bill Westenhaver, DXLD)

At 21,925 square miles, per Time Almanac 2000, Togo is almost as big as West Virginia. Certainly one of Africa`s smaller countries, but definitely not tiny! (Glenn Hauser, DX LISTENING DIGEST 5-024, Feb 8, 2005)

On ABC`s Primetime Live, UT Dec 30, a special tsunami edition, anchor Charlie Gibson referred to ``tiny Sri Lanka`` twice within two minutes, at 0305 and 0307. Sure glad to know it`s tiny, because that must mean its humanitarian problems must also be tiny! (Glenn Hauser, OK, DX LISTENING DIGEST 4-191, Dec. 31, 2004)

At the conclusion of AWR Wavescan #500, the next edition was promoted, including ``Radio Andorra, a small station in a tiny country``. Andorra is small as countries go, but with 450 km squared, it is 231 times the size of Monaco, which is undeniably tiny. Other countries in the 400s of land area are: Barbados, Palau, Seychelles. Andorra is also quite mountainous, high in the Pyrenees, and I daresay one would not casually stroll from one end to the other or circumnavigate it without a very strenuous hike. Data from the Time Almanac 2000 (Glenn Hauser, DX LISTENING DIGEST 4-118, Aug 3, 2004)

There is a Page One story in the Globe and Mail which begins like this: "Tiny Georgia, a country that has seen lttle but chaos and conflict in its 13 years of independence, took a big step away from its past last night as a renegade regional leader was peacefully forced from office, taking the country away from the brink of civil war." Last time I checked, Georgia is about the size of Massachusetts. "Tiny Georgia" would make any South Pacific island microscopic. Cheers, (Ricky Leong, May 6, 2004, DX LISTENING DIGEST 4-079)

May 9, 2004: NPR Weekend Edition Sunday had a report about the Graf Spee which sank off Uruguay. First it was a ``little country`` but around 6 minutes in, it became ``tiny``, according to reporter Martin Kaste (gh, DX LISTENING DIGEST 4-079)

July 10, 2003 at 2206 UT: CNN`s Charlayne Hunter-Gault referred to ``Botswana, that tiny country...``. And she`s been based in South Africa for years. You know the drill...

March 11, 2003 at 2307 UT: CNN`s Money Line had Kitty Pilgrim referring to Guinea and Cameroon as `tiny African countries`. At least she didn`t include Angola. The area of Cameroon is 475,440 sq. km, almost exactly the same size as New Mexico. Tho relatively small on the map of huge Africa, Guinea is 245,860 sq. km, a bit smaller than Wisconsin. Would either of those states ever be called ``tiny``?

{There were no entries in year 2002.}

``The tiny community`` of Delray Beach, Florida, wrapped up a report on terrorists-among-us, Inside Edition, Sept. 17, 2001. The 2000 census says the city had 60,020 inhabitants. That`s considerably more than the World Trade Center had on an average day, not counting visitors, so would they ever have referred to the WTC as ``tiny``? (gh)

``The tiny Caribbean nation of Belize``, introducing a report on beetle infestation, NPR Morning Edition, Friday, August 3 at 1324 UT. It`s incomparably bigger than most Caribbean nations, many of which actually qualify as tiny islands.

Nepal, in the news again thanks to the ``accidental`` killing of his entire family by the crown prince, inevitably gets called a ``tiny Himalayan nation``, such as by AP in the Enid News & Eagle June 2, 2001; and by Chris Wyndham, NPR News at 1201+ UT June 3. At 140,800 square kilometres, Nepal is larger than: Bulgaria, Greece, or Cuba, for example, and only slightly smaller than Bangladesh, Cambodia or Tajikistan. And that doesn`t consider the vertical element as Nepal is home of Everest and others of the highest mountains in the world. Compared to states, Nepal is almost precisely the same size as New York. In terms of population, over 24 million, 1999 estimate, isn`t exactly ``tiny`` either. Nearby Sikkim, no longer independent thanks to Indian imperialism, might have been a much better candidate for ``tiny Himalayan nation``. (data from the Time Almanac 2000).

Georgia, a ``tiny country``, says John Ydstie (spelling confirmed on NPR website -- what kind of a name is that???) introducing a piece on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday at 1424 UT March 17, 2001. Usual remarks: Georgia may be a small country compared to Russia (which has been cutting off its power, affecting SWBC), but it is hardly tiny. This should link to it: http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/wesat/20010317.wesat.12.rmm (gh)

``Her tiny country, Nepal,`` said Bernard Goldberg of a woman brought to the USA to ooh and aah at a non-tiny country. But Nepal is NOT tiny, horizonally or especially vertically, as we have pointed out before and before. This was on A&E`s Travels with Harry, Sat Nov 4 at 1600+ UT. We aren`t down on this show -- it`s just one we always try to watch and would like to admire.

"Tiny, homogeneous nation" -- Paul Kennedy`s description of Ireland, introducing CBC Ideas July 27.

The daily VOA half-hour at 1730-1800 is called ``Zimbabwe Forum`` and on the inaugural program June 19 was referred to as a ``special program on the African service of VOA for the next two weeks``. The info minister Comrade Chen was interviewed on the show objecting to it, since ``Zimbabwe is a tiny bit of Africa`` (VOA Communications World June 24)

Area of Zimbabwe is 390,580 square km; population (1999 est.) 11,163,160 per Time Almanac 2000. In area, that puts it between our third and fourth largest states, California and Montana. In terms of Africa`s area, Zimbabwe is only 1.3 percent, however. But a number of other African countries are a lot smaller, and all but the very smallest, Gambia, 11,300 square km, hardly deserve to be ``tiny``. Chen was trying to minimise the importance of Zimbabwe -- why should VOA broadcast especially to it rather than Africa in general? Listen about 3 minutes into the June 24 CW via http://www.wrn.org/ondemand

``The tiny Baltic nation of Lithuania`` -- Liane Hansen, NPR Weekend Edition Sunday, June 25, 2000, first airing at 1320 UT.

``Lithuania Vs. Russia (14.4 | 28.8) -- Michele Kelemen reports on a movement in Lithuania to hold Moscow accountable for Soviet-era war crimes. Former Lithuania president Vytautas Landsbergis is spearheading a new law setting up a commission to force compensation from Russia. (6:00)``

Lithuania has an area of 65,200 square km, and a population (1998 est.) of 3,600,158 according to Time Almanac 2000. If it were a United State this would put it between West Virginia and South Carolina in area. Are these ever considered ``tiny``?