It’s no secret that Americans are bad at geography, but readers were reminded again Monday when USA Today mistakenly highlighted Wyoming on a map instead of Colorado.
The article, “When Smuggling Colo. Pot, Not Even the Sky’s the Limit,” explored the methods used to sneak drugs out of the state to drug markets all over the country.
Yet the article has caught more notoriety for the graphic.
“Authorities say they’ve intercepted thousands of shipments of marijuana leaving Colorado, destined for sale on the black market in other states,” reads the graphic information.
Yet in deep blue, with drugs routes traced from Maine to California to Florida, is Colorado’s neighbor to the north.
Twitter, needless to say, had a field day.
“@USATODAY can’t tell which state is Colorado & which is Wyoming. What are you guys smoking?” posted Mermaids 4 Marijuana.
“Congrats, Colorado! According to USA Today, you are actually Wyoming. #facepalm,” posted History Prof Brad.
“The funny part is that’s not even the obvious mistake,” posted Michael Cargrill. A bullet point incorrectly spelled marijuana.
USA Today did not respond to requests for comment.
Michael Blonigen, however, a Natrona County District Attorney in Casper, Wyoming, was a bit taken aback this morning.
“I saw that article, and I was wondering if they had the wrong state,” he said. “Did they mean Colorado?”
Blonigen said Wyoming has its share of drug-trafficking problems, but that’s mostly from illegal substances smuggled from Colorado.
“Colorado is just a stopping point for a lot of drugs in Wyoming,” he said. “And it’s really because of the geography. Whether it’s legal or illegal we have a lot of drugs coming through Colorado. It’s not unusual at all.”
USA Today, a Gannett newspaper, eventually corrected the graphic – but not before dozens of screen shots of the original were plastered on social media.