Spreading the blame
This kind of factual clusterfuck isn't just the fault of the writer, even though she is clearly a pompous, uninformed dimwit. Editors are supposed to fact check and edit the material before publication, and the fact that nobody caught something as obvious as this is scarier than the error itself.
Either a) The Grauniad/Observer have fired their last remaining editors and they're now posting/printing raw copy, or b) the few editors they have left are too young to be conversant with correct English or the basic rules of journalism (you know, getting your facts right and other such tedious details).
But maybe things will pan out in the end for the media sector. Let's all hope that once every magazine and newspaper on the planet is exclusively served up as an iPad-only edition, the Jobs reality-distortion field will make the need for facts a thing of the past, and we'll all be happy.