It isn't journalism at all Ess, it's called fiction.
The problem though, 'journalism' as a goal, as an ethic, to accurately describe reality, more precisely, recent history, is a product that comes to us through biased observation, and it is a product, with a shelf life.
Mistakes are the normal state of human endeavor, from the typogaphical error, to the unconfirmed rumor, or the outright dissemination of lies. Your complaint is that the Economist isn't drawing a distinction and that it should. I agree.
Perhaps you should write to the editors and express your concern and see what they have to say.