And this paragraph is a doozy:

The vitriol has a xenophobic edge: witness the venomous references to “British Petroleum”, a name BP dropped in 1998 (just as well that it dispensed with the name Anglo-Iranian Oil Company even longer ago). Vilifying BP also gets in the way of identifying other culprits, one of which is the government. BP operates in one of the most regulated industries on earth with some of the most perverse rules, subsidies and incentives. Shoddy oversight clearly contributed to the spill, and an energy policy which reduced the demand for oil would do more to avert future environmental horrors than fierce retribution.

BP was still being called “British Petroleum” here before the oil spill. The “newspaper” says that the administration is “vilifying BP,” as if it’s not a villain here. Hey, be nice to those guys that just spilled a hundred-million gallons of oil (and counting) on your shores and in your waters because they cut corners on their oil well! It’s unsporting to “vilify” them.

The Economist is part of the problem I talked about yesterday: Corporations get personhood under the law, but we’re warned you can’t retaliate against them for their bad actions. It would be bad for business!

But the biggest laugher is this, which it writes in arguing that the government should get its share of the blame (which it most definitely is, including from Obama himself in case The Economist hasn’t noticed):

BP operates in one of the most regulated industries on earth with some of the most perverse rules, subsidies and incentives.

So, it’s in one of the most regulated industries, but at the same time, regulators are responsible for its actions because they didn’t regulate? Huh?

Yes, regulators get plenty of blame for not forcing BP to act right, but BP is ultimately at fault here—especially since it helped get the regulators called off in the first place. That laissez-faire stuff didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Very poor show by The Economist.

Further Reading

But Why Didn’t Regulators Regulate? The government, in not regulating the financial industry, was acting not as a government of the people but of the financial industry—the one that paid for its campaigns and waited on the other side of a gold-plated revolving door.

Beleaguered Pensioners: It’s a good thing that BP investors are taking it on the chin.

The Journal Excels on BP: An investigation shows the company repeatedly cutting corners in the Gulf

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.