There are much more enjoyable things to spend one’s time on and one’s blogging efforts than having to fact check George F Will because Fred Hiatt’s Washington Post is clearly unwilling to do so.
In tomorrow’s, yet-to-be-published OPED, George Will steps up with blustery outrage that his (dis)honor has been stained. Amid his disingenous truthiness, two things jump out.
1. Like Andy Revkin, George Will places himself as an equivalent, it seems, of Vice President Al Gore. The Nobel Prize committee and 100s of millions would beg to differ with this.
2. More bluntly, Will made this statement in reacting to Andy Revkin’s New York Times Article:
As for the anonymous scientists’ unspecified claims about the column’s supposedly myriad inaccuracies: The column contained many factual assertions but only one has been challenged.
This is simply and utterly false. Here at GESN, for example, there is Will-full deceit: three blunt examples. That piece provides detailed discussion of three “inaccuracies” (how about, lies and dishonesties) in Will’s column. There were others, but that piece challenges three … and GESN is not alone in challenging Will’s inaccuracies. It really doesn’t matter whether those challenges were correct (they were, by the way), but there is a simple fact here: more than one of “the column’s supposedly myriad inaccuracies” have been challenged.
Will’s new column is deceit and deception laden. Above, however, is one quite clear example of a direct falsehood that is easily proved wrong, that any fact checker worth their salary could have found out in minutes was false, and is something that Fred Hiatt almost certainly was aware was false based on his receiving a letter that challenged Will’s column on three separate issues.
The Washington Post and The Washington Post Writers Group are, by defending Will rather than correcting him (or providing rebuttal space to experts with every Will piece they publish), are digging a very deep hole for their credibility. Beware Fred, at some point the hole will be too deep to climb out of.
PS Fred: It probably isn’t good form to call another newspaper prostitutes. From George’s column:
Now the Times, a trumpet that never sounds retreat in today’s war against warming, has afforded this column an opportunity to revisit another facet of this subject — meretricious journalism in the service of dubious certitudes.
Meretricious comes from the latin mertrix or prostitute. The word means “of or relating to a prostitute; having the nature of prostitution”. Fred, did you mean to allow George to call The Gray Lady a prostitute?
(Note, by the way, that was first definition. Second definition is “tawdrily and falsely attractive”. Not a highly complimentary description either.)
Update: Media Matters directly addresses Hiatt challenge to “debate” George Will and the issue of the very conservative (and often global warming skeptic) bias of The Post’s opinion section in RE: Fred Hiatt.
Now, who is in charge of the Post’s op-ed page? Fred Hiatt. If Fred Hiatt wants to pretend that critics of Will’s falsehoods are welcome to debate Will, Fred Hiatt can start by regularly running op-eds by (more honest) liberal equivalents of Will, Krauthammer and Gerson. And no, Richard Cohen does not count.
See also Chris Mooney’s My Email to Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post offering to write an OPED re these issues.