Kaplan Post Off by Factor of 10 on "$50 Light Bulb" Story; Fails to Correct Massive Error

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We know the Washington Kaplan Post practices all the sins of the corporate hack media in abundance: constant use of false equivalencies ("one side says there is global warming, the other side says there isn't"); failure to point out factually incorrect assertions (e.g., Republicans claiming that the Affordable Care Act will increase the deficit, when it fact the CBO says it will reduce it, etc., etc.) to readers; frequent plagiarism of/failure to properly credit stories from other media outlets, including blogs like this one; superficial and shallow "analysis" of events; thin coverage in general; sloppiness and lack of sufficient copy editing; too much "horse race" and not enough substance; utter lack of understanding of complex subjects like the economy, energy, the environment, etc; allowing complete nutjob stuff (e.g., climate science denial, wild warmongering) on their editorial page; etc., etc.Now we have one of the Post's most egregious screwups in a long time (ever?), with its Friday, front-page story on how (supposedly) a Government-subsidized green light bulb carries costly price tag. The story concluded, among other things, that the lifetime cost of a $50 LED bulb turned out to be $5 higher than an incandescent bulb ($53 vs. $48). Only one problem, as ThinkProgress Green points out: their math was completely, wildly wrong -- not even close (believe it or not, the idiots at the Post assumed that people pay 1 cent per kWh for electricity; uh, guys, try 12 cents per kWh!). In fact, it turns out that when you do the math correctly, with the actual price of electricity (NOT 1 cent per kWh!), the LED is actually $130 cheaper than the incandescent ($80 vs. $210) during its lifetime. Here's the correct graphic, courtesy of ThinkProgress Green.

The other problem, almost more egregious than the fact that the Post published this completely FUBAR article in the first place, is that they have not retracted it, written an equivalent front-page story explaining their massive screwup, etc. This failure to own up to their mistake(s) harms the Post's spiraling-down-the-toilet-bowl credibility even further. Do they even care? Based on their lack of retraction/correction, it doesn't seem they do. Remind me again, why do any of us still subscribe to this once-great, now increasingly embarrassing, "newspaper?" (Note: in my case, my wife likes doing the hard-copy crossword puzzle; I also like getting the coupons, which some weeks pay for the "newspaper.")
P.S. Also see WashPost Triple Fail... by energy expert Adam Siegel.