When you’ve gone so far past the top that you’ve lost sight of the top you might be in a wee bit of trouble. Those journalists need to take a stats class.
It's pervasive. To a first approximation, every story I hear on the radio or read in newspapers gives absolute statistics without adjusting for population (or for whatever the relevant factor is, but usually it's population of course).
I don't know what they think they mean when they say these things. It's baffling.