The Wall Street Journal editorial page has been an organ for intellectually dishonest, fanatically ideological douchebaggery for years and years. That they publish something stupid is scarcely worth noting. But recently WSJ editors made a mistake so egregious it crossed the line into malpractice — and to boot, refused to correct the mistake, or even publish a letter that pointed it out.

In this column, on how cap-and-trade is going to kill ponies impoverish people in energy-intensive states, the WSJ ran this chart:

WSJ chart

Wow, people in Wyoming emit 154 tons of CO2 a year! Around seven times the national average! They must fly in private jets and live in castles! They must gargle oil and fart methane! They must drive Hummers to get the mail! That’s … f*cking crazy.

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Or, you know, just horribly wrong. You see, the WSJ is showing per-capita numbers based on states’ energy production, not energy consumption. They produce lots of coal in Wyoming. That doesn’t mean Wyomingans (Wyomingites?) are frantically burning it as fast as they can. They export it for chrissakes. It tells us nothing at all about what the citizens of Wyoming are going to pay in energy costs if cap-and-trade passes.

If you did a similar chart with per-capita energy consumption numbers (very tricky numbers to get, by the way), you’d see that the differences among states are not nearly so stark, and the alleged wealth redistribution from cap-and-trade not nearly so extreme. You’d be more accurate, but you’d lose your pretense for Real America vs. The Coasts faux-populism.

Anyway, Rich Sweeney pointed out this mistake on his blog. Then he talked to some folks at the WSJ. Then he and a colleague sent them a letter, gently pointing out the error.

The WSJ refused to run it.

I guess WSJ editors can live with a little deception in service of the fiction that liberal elitism — rather than the corporate elitism to which they’ve devoted their newspaper for decades — is the real threat to the nation’s middle class.

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