At the Associated Press on Thursday, reporter Chris Tomlinson clearly took the side of statist environmentalists in covering the Texas Supreme Court's decision recognizing the right of landowners to pump water flowing through their property underground.
Tomlinson's sub-headline said that the court "approved" the idea, and his text claimed that it had "expanded property owner's rights." All the court did was formally recognize a principle which has long applied to underground oil and gas. The dispute involved restrictions desired by the city of San Antonio on how much water two farmers could pump. Much of Tomlinson's writeup follows below:
Update, June 20, 12:30 p.m.: Revised to reflect another AP math error not caught the first time around.
Update 2, June 20, 3:20 p.m.: The AP has issued a correction indicating that lost sales taxes are $23 billion and teachers' salaries which could be paid are 460,000. The contradiction explained below about California's claim that it is failing to collect only $200 million (less than 1% of the total, in a state with 12% of the nation's population) is unexplained. The post's text has been revised to reflect AP's correction. AP has NOT corrected its original story here or here.
What is it with Associated Press reporters and basic math?
Earlier this evening, I noted how the wire service's Scott Bauer failed to correctly state the nature of the pension costs many of Wisconsin's unionized workers will have to pay; he said they would have to pay "5.8% of their pension costs," when it's really "5.8% of the gross pay into the state's retirement fund.
Yesterday, the AP's Chris Tomlinson, in reporting on states' desperate attempt to force online vendors to collect sales tax on their behalf, contributed a couple more math and conceptual errors of his own: