By Tracy Dingmann
This letter to the editor that appeared in Wednesday’s Albuquerque Journal is so interesting, I’m just going to reproduce it in full here.
The letter, from Journal reader Terry Goldman of Los Alamos, ran under the headline “Energy Claim Doesn’t Add Up:”
Marita K. Noon either made a serious writing error in her column, “Target Redundant Costs First to Trim State Budget,” (subscription required) or else she needs a substantive remedial course in elementary mathematics.
She quotes Oil Conservation Director Mark Fesmire as “sputtering” that “… the OCD annual budget was only about 4 percent of the state’s budget problems (emphasis added).” Earlier in the column, however, she elevated this amount to 4 percent of the state’s entire budget, claiming that eliminating the duplication represented by the OCD would reduce the need to cut the state budget by 10 percent to a cut of only 6 percent. If the quote of Fesmire is accurate, the savings amount to 4 percent of 10 percent, otherwise known as 0.4% of the total state budget.
While this is not to be ignored, and while we are all undoubtedly sympathetic to eliminating duplication in government (although I don’t favor dumping state costs on counties) and while it is clear that her organization (Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy) has much to gain by eliminating state oversight of oil and gas regulation in favor of more easily manipulated local governments, Noon does neither her organization nor her argument any good with what is either a blatant misrepresentation of the facts or an astounding display of mathematical ignorance.
On the contrary, she leaves the impression that none of her or CARE’s arguments should be considered accurate or trustworthy, let alone viewed as having been considered carefully and without bias.
Hmm. That’s not the first time Noon, an oil and gas industry booster who the Journal features regularly as a guest columnist on its editorial page, has been shot down for making factual errors. We’ve written about it here and here.
Differences of opinion are one thing – but out and out errors made by a writer are another.
When is the Journal going to get the message?