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The Will Affair … struggling to keep up

March 4th, 2009 · 31 Comments

This post is an effort to provide some links and some of the quotes of the massive number of blog posts calling out George Will and The Washington Post in The Will Affair.

UPDATE: This is a long discussion about two new items. See below for annotations / links to 10s of pieces. 21 March 09: More than a month after the column that spark a storm of outrage and after having only published a sarcastic (correct, but not a refutation of Will on the substance) letter to the editor, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by Chris Mooney (author, Republican War on Science) and a strong letter to the editor from the head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  These were, published, by the way, without any form of editorial comment or acknowledgement. (In other words, publishing two strong refutations, five weeks later, after allowing Will another shot at deception,  does not absolve Fred Hiatt, The Washington Post editorial board, and The Washington Post Writers’ Group from their responsibilities as aiders and abetters of deception and dishonesty on the most crucial issue of the 21st century.)

Chris’ perspective on publishing of the OPED is more generous than my perspective:

As any reader of this blog knows, I was for a while very critical of the Washington Post editorial page amid the George Will affair. Now, my view has changed.

Today the Post publishes, replete with links to many scientific sources, my op-ed answering three claims Will made in his now infamous “Dark Green Doomsayers” column, and also making a broader point about why we need standards in science-centered journalism and commentary.

I’m extremely heartened that the Post ran the piece, and has at least allowed me to correct Will–or, to “debate” him.

Again, Chris’ interpretation is more generous than mine. Will the Post refrain from allowing Will to continue his deception? Will Lomborg have the front page of Outlook again? Will there, on issues related to climate legislation, be a requirement for truth from the columnists unlike what The Post has enforced to date? While this publication is a good sign, it does not signal an end to the problem …

Chris’ OPED is, for anyone ready to read it with an open mind, a devastating rebuke of Will’s dishonesty and a call for taking some of the best of scientific practice into the common discourse on issues of science.

Readers and commentators must learn to share some practices with scientists — following up on sources, taking scientific knowledge seriously rather than cherry-picking misleading bits of information, and applying critical thinking to the weighing of evidence. That, in the end, is all that good science really is. It’s also what good journalism and commentary alike must strive to be — now more than ever.

On the facing page, the letter from letter from Michel Jarraud, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organization, which is an organization that Will used as an authority to state that there has been no global warming for the past decade. Jarraud very bluntly refutes Will. The first two paragraphs of this letter:

Data collected over the past 150 years by the 188 members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) through observing networks of tens of thousands of stations on land, at sea, in the air and from constellations of weather and climate satellites lead to an unequivocal conclusion: The observed increase in global surface temperatures is a manifestation of global warming. Warming has accelerated particularly in the past 20 years.

It is a misinterpretation of the data and of scientific knowledge to point to one year as the warmest on record — as was done in a recent Post column ["Dark Green Doomsayers," George F. Will, op-ed, Feb. 15] — and then to extrapolate that cooler subsequent years invalidate the reality of global warming and its effects.

This is a clear and strong statement from the head of a major scientific institution, directly and powerfully refuting a common global warming denier framing.

While Chris OPED is powerful, at the end of the day, Chris is a “journalist” (a damn fine one, but …), Jarraud speaks with authority … an authority that Will seeks to stand on in his deception. It is important that the scientific community stand up and speak out clearly when someone abuses their reputations and authority as openly as George Will.

Eli Rabbett, Rabett Run, has quite a few relevant and interesting posts:

  • What did Gore say? 4 March 2009 focuses on Gore’s actualy statements at the 2009 AAAS meeting vs how it was discussed / portrayed by Revkin, Pielke, and others
  • .

  • Honest Broker and Yellow Pages, 2 March 09, focused on Roger Pielke, Jr
  • .

  • Peer Review, 3 March 09, focused, again, on Pielke/Revkin/Romm/Tobis

And, of course, this has exploded into TV world, with March Morano and Glenn Beck escalating this into attacks on the bloggers (one in particular) who have detailed Will’s deceptions. See:

APSmith, Daily Kos, Glenn Beck = Stalin: Assassination of a Climate Scientist, 7 March 09

That would be character assassination of course - we’re talking about wingers here.

So, this past Wednesday morning on Glenn Beck’s TV show, he bizarrely focuses on a climate blogger and scientist, Michael Tobis of Only In It For The Gold. Beck claims that Tobis has come up with an equation: “Bashing Gore = Killing 1000 People”, as the title puts it. Well, if that’s true, Beck goes on:

you know what, we should keep track of the Glenn Beck death count because I have a feeling if we counted all the times that I made fun of Al Gore, I might be equal in deaths with Stalin.

Yes, indeed you might, Glenn, indeed you might be equal to Stalin. But not for this reason, I think. Read below the fold to discover how one climate scientist got into such a mess - and about the concern troll behind it all.

M Tobis, from In It for The Gold, Daily Kos, Glenn Beck vs Me, 4 March 09,

For the second day in a row Mark Morano has issued a press release from notorious global-warming-is-a-hoax Senator Inhofe’s office essentially reporting that I make an equivalence between criticizing Al Gore and responsibility for 1000 deaths. Unfortunately for me I said something vaguely like that, but it’s being oversimplified.

Tom Yulsman, CEJournal, George Will Unmasked, 7 March 09,

Will can selectively quote any number of articles he wants, but what he says is simply false. …

Will claims that his critics have “completely ignored the evidence I gave . . . ” Well, not even close. John Fleck didn’t ignore it, and neither did a host of other experts who documented how there was no global cooling hysteria. So, that’s the second falsehood in the sentence.

It seems almost impossible that Will is unaware that his assertion about global cooling hysteria has been proved false, yet he continues to repeat it. Knowingly repeating a falsehood? I’ll let you label what this is.

Tom Yulsman, CEJournal, Why Washpost fact checkers haven’t stopped Will’s serial errors, 8 March 2009. This is a good piece, but I have to wonder why Yulsman so generously call’s Will’s serial falsehoods “errors” in the title, as if they are somehow mistakes rather than deliberate actions — as per his first sentence, Yulsman clearly doesn’t consider these mistakes. And, fundamentally, Yulsman fails to come to terms with Will’s reach to 10s of millions vs blog posting reaching, perhaps, 1000s.

George Will’s serial falsehoods about climate change have been dissected and re-dissected in the blogosphere, but that doesn’t seem to shame him into stopping … Clearly, the fact checkers didn’t bother to see whether Will was cherry picking his evidence and ignoring the larger context …

But I don’t think censorship is the best solution for an opinion column that is arguably untrue in a broad context. This cure would be worse than the disease. I’d rather encourage a free-wheeling exchange of ideas and simply knock down the nonsense from folks like George Will in blog postings like this one.

Carl Zimmer has created an archive for his (excellent) material under the slogan The George Wil on Ice Affair. The latest (as of 4 March) post is Checking George Will: The Perils of Time Travel:

A fair number of commenters claimed George Will was right, and presented evidence that they claimed supported him. Some tried to back their claims with news that came out after Will’s column was published. For example, a few days after his column came out, there were reports that the a satellite that measure ice cover had some trouble and was fixed. But George Will could not jump forward in time, check out the satellites, and then leap back to write his column. There’s no way that it could have any bearing on fact-checking his piece. What’s more, even if Will did know about them, he’d still be wrong

Bud Ward, the Yale forum on Climate Change & the Media, Two Weeks of Intense Climate Dialogue over Columnist George Will’s Flawed Column, 5 March 09, points, falsely imo, to the Revkin article being the key item in this discussion. And, to me, this is a ‘balanced’ article, uncritically linking to any and all (oops, critical of Joe Romm at Climate Progress) that reserves itself from making judgments about the truth being brought to the table by various discussants.

Welcome to the new world of interactive journalism, with all its warts. Whether this particular series of exchanges will further inform or further inflame consideration of serious climate change issues and policies remains unclear. There’s always a chance the outcome will be more beneficial than simply time-consuming and mentally draining. One can hope

Simon Donner, Maribo, George Will and the Lessons we can learn from Greenland, 14 March 2009. This is a very thoughtful discussion, well worth the read.

The real lesson of the “Vikings farmed in Greenland”, the one that appears in textbooks, that one that appears in history courses, climate courses, archaeology course, you name it, is that a lack of resilience in the face of a changing climate can lead to the breakdown of a society.

Will and the others who repeat the Greenland was meme are not missing the facts. They are missing the point.

Ryan Seals, EmoryWheel, Beating the Global Warming Deniers, 2 Mar 09

Others, more forcefully and accurately than I ever could, have torn apart and given context to the few facts that Will chose to cite .. By airing his opinion, Will not only has opened himself and fellow climate change-deniers to attack from those with far greater knowledge on the issue, he has exposed himself as a reactionary ideologue, not a “conservative intellectual,” as he is so often labeled. … Let’s give more grist for the mill and actually increase the bad stuff. Let’s have HIV/AIDS deniers, creationists, climate change deniers, religious fundamentalists, Scientologists, racial determinists and all other kooks air their views in open forums, and see who comes out the winner. Because we won’t have a truly educated population until views like Will’s are thoroughly and publicly discredited.

A Man with a PhD, For anyone who might like to know what scientists say rather than conservative pundits, 1 March 09, excellent discussion with this gem of a paragraph,

Science deniers, whether it is climate change and evolution on the right, or anti-vaccinationists on the left, use such similar tactics as to be writing from the same books. Quote mining, total misrepresentation of the data, and cherry-picking are seen in all these attempts at science denial. Conspiracies of scientists are also a part of the tactics. Appeal to authority, often combined with quote mining, is a particularly favorite tactic, especially if the person that is misquoted actually said the exact opposite. They also continue to spew the same arguments that have been shown to be incorrect before.

More Grumbine Science, The 20 Links Game, 1 March 09. This is a very amusing take on The Will Affair. A challenge: can you find 20 links to prove The Earth is Flat, etc …

Knight Science Journalism Tracker, A furious assault in the blogosphere, by the big media guns of climate change worry, on George Will which eems confused why this particular set of Will deceptions should have created such an outroar rather than a discussion as to why and how the development of a reality-based blogosphere discussion community, developed in reaction, in no small part, to the mediocrity of traditional media outlets on climate (and other reporting), has now risen to the point where traditional outlets and traditional outlet reporters are now beginning to pay attention. A multitude of “bloggers”, often looking the issue from different angles, stood up in collective dissent to the Washington Post Writers’ Group distributing disinformation which, even more arrogantly, the Washington Post editorial community seems to defend. Is The Will Affair, watchers of the media community should consider, a signpost that the traditional media is losing its ability to report poorly on climate issues with impunity?

28 Feb 09

Greenfyre, George Will and “The Swindle” tell you all you need to know, 28 Feb 09: relates Will to standard denier pathways and provides links to 15+ discussions.

Buck Denton, The Conservation Report, CLIMATE CHANGE: Conservative pundit George Will asserts false claims to make anti-climate change arguments in Washington Post column, 28 Feb 09

Debate regarding climate change (and global warming)—whether it exists or not, and if so what is causing it or what isn’t—can be healthy and unhealthy. Debate is unhealthy when we ignore the obvious truth: People through their policies and politics have been the established and obvious driving force or cause of air pollution, commodification of natural landscapes, desertification, disintegration of ecosystems, dispersal of invasive species, extinctions, and water pollution—so why not climate change?

Regarding global warming, George Will, the conservative newspaper columnist and pundit, is fostering unhealthy debate by intentionally cherry picking arguments—many of which are blatantly false—but he ignores obvious evidence.

Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Unstaining Al Gore’s good name, Part 1: The NYT’s false “guilty of inaccuracies and overstatements” charge began with a false charge by Pielke, 2 March 09 and Unstaining Al Gore’s good name 2: He is not “guilty of inaccuracies and overstatements” and is owed a correction and apology by the New York Times, 2 March 09. (related: The NYT’s climate coverage in 1970s was a megaphone for science, not ‘global cooling’ alarmism and Why do the deniers try to shout down any talk of a link between climate change and extreme weather?, 5 March 09.)

Only in it for the gold, More on George Will, provides excerpts from a number of pieces.

Much, much, much more… All tolled, (and not yet all told) this is the first major league blogstorm emerging from the non-denialist climo-blogosphere and is thus a historical event regardless of your position on it.

Tim Lamber, Deltoid, WaPo ombudsman agrees that Will’s sea ice claim was wrong, doesn’t suggest a correction. Title says it all.

Carl Zimmer, Ice, Ice Baby: When Fact-Checking Is Not Fact-Checking, 28 Feb 09, discussing Alexander’s fault-filled column,

As I read it, I kept hitting one puzzling statement after another. For example, Alexander starts out the piece by focusing his column on what he calls “a key paragraph” about the global area of ice. As I’ve explained before, that paragraph is indeed in error, both in the specifics of the data, and in the way Will uses it as evidence that global warming has not been occurring. It became all the more striking because the scientists whom Will named as his source for the data rejected his claims, and, as I later showed, neither Will nor any of the fact-checkers bothered to contact the scientists to confirm their information. Instead, they pointed to another statement from the scientists as confirming Will’s claim–while ignoring the parts of the one-page statement that showed why Will was wrong.

But as vivid as that case may be, it was only one of numerous errors in the piece. If Will’s columns had indeed been properly fact-checked, the fact-checkers would have drawn attention to other errors in his columns.

Political Jasno, George Will is No Al Gore, 27 Feb 09, which examines and call’s Revkin’s equivalency of Gore and Will “patently absurd”. “when Al Gore is brought a legitimate complaint, he remedies the situation within a week. When George Will’s data is shown to be categorically false, he simply digs in his heels and writes another article attacking his critics.”

Andrew Revkin, dotEarth, Scientists: Flaw in Will’s Ice Assertions, 27 Feb 09. Scientific laydown of Will’s deception on sea ice.

Tom Yulsman, Center for Environmental Journalism, The NYT’s Andrew Revkin shows why he’s a top climate change reporter, 27 Feb 09, which, imo, mistakenly supports the false equivalency that Revkin stated:

“So while there is no comparison between George Will’s absurd columns and Al Gore’s detailed presentation, the former vice president still appears to exaggerate to advance his case. My guess is that he continues to do it because he knows that natural catastrophes connect viscerally with the public, whereas melting sea ice and thawing ice sheets in remote polar regions do not. That’s fine, he’s a politician. But a reporter like Andrew Revkin is also quite right to point out the errors.

That’s his job, and he does it better than anyone else on this beat.

Yulsman, CEJ, Hostilities mount in climate change wars, 3 March 09 is an impassioned defense of Andrew Revkin from questioning and challenges (”attacks”) from Joe Romm. Yulsman piece, imo, is interesting because Yulsman has stated that he believes Revkin got it wrong but reserves his oppriprium for those questioning/attacking Revkin. He discusses Revkin as ‘award winning’, speaks to his career, and praises him (they’re friends by the way) without stating, clearly and simply, something like: “even good reporters get it wrong … Andy, you got it wrong this time and should acknowledge that …”

Real Climate, What George Will Should Have Written, 28 Feb 09 (see links)

We’ve avoided piling on to the George Will kerfuffle … mostly because everyone else seems to be doing a great job in pointing out the problems in his recent columns.

We are actually quite gratified that a much wider group of people than normal have been involved in calling out this latest nonsense, taking the discussion well outside the sometimes-rarefied atmosphere of the scientific blogosphere. Maybe RealClimate has succeeded in its original aim of increasing the wider awareness of the scientific context? However, like many, we are profoundly disappointed in the reaction of the Washington Post editors and George Will himself.

James Hrynyshyn, Island of Doubt, Global warming mountains and molehills, 3 March 09, on Revkin’s treatment of Gore and Will (and the discussion in the blogosphere about it):

Every journalist, blogger and pundit should remember that it doesn’t matter what you meant to say, only what is heard. And just so no one misinterprets what I’m trying to say about whose errors are the most troubling:

COMPARATIVE JUDGMENT FAILURE
George F. Will >> Andy Revkin > Al Gore

James Hrynysthyn, Living on an Island of Doubt, In search of George Will’s climate-denial sources, 2 March 09, providing the email from The Washington Post refusing to hand over George Will’s 20 sources.

James Hrynysthyn, Living on an Island of Doubt, The reality of fact-checking at daily newspapers: George Will is no exception, 28 Feb 09

contrary to what many non-journalists seem to believe, George F. Will is a journalist. Just because he gets to add interpretation and value judgment to the factual material that serves as his raw material doesn’t mean he gets to flout the ethical parameters of the business. In other words, he is obliged to represent the source material he cites fairly and accurately. If he doesn’t then he’s violating his contract with his employer and his obligation to his readers.

James Hrynysthyn, Living on an Island of Doubt, Does what George Will thinks about climate change really matter?, 23 February 2009, the answer being, it seems, “yes”, as questioners in an audience referred to Will in framing questions.

John Fleck, Inkstain, In Defense of Walter Sullivan, 27 Feb 09. An impassioned defense of a NYTimes reporter against George Will’s attempt to stain his reputation, with Fleck showing Will’s deceit. And, a published OPED, George Will and Science in the Public Square,

OnePlusOne, 66% Geek, DC Dispatches, What we learn from Mr. George Will, discussing views on how to deal with serial deceit like Will’s.

Robert Miller, George Will replaces Michael Crichton as the right wing poster child against global climate change, 26 Feb 09. A lengthy, quality discussion with some strong passion and a letter to Fred Hiatt.

When Crichton died, there seemed no one available to immediately step into his shoes as the anti-climate change poster boy. Remember, that to adequately replace Crichton, you had to have a complete lack of knowledge of the field, poor training in quantitative science, but enough visibility to make your bullshit stick, at least for a while. That way, you might get some oil money to carry on with your work. So, in the frenetic search for a new anti-climate change poster boy, who should step in to fill the enormous Crichton void–yes, perhaps surprisingly, it is George Will, with all his fantasies about living the perfect Jeffersonian life of a conservative, incomplete perhaps, due to intermittent dribbles of reality.

Curis Brainard, The Observatory, Columbia Journalism Review, The George Will Affair: Post stands by climate column despite widespread criticism; clamor spills over to The New York Times, 26 Feb 09

this whole affair raises a number of important questions about how the press, particularly columnists, cover climate change. The most important seems to be: can inference rise to the level of such absurdity that it becomes subject to the same rigors as evidence

This is a followup to Lingering Denial: The unfortunate case of a few pundits with too much influence, 18 Feb 09. This concludes: “one cannot ignore the undue influence of the “mainstream” media’s few remaining global-warming deniers.”

Media Matters, Lashing out at critics, George Will spreads more falsehoods in new global warming column, 26 Feb 09

24 Feb 09

Matthew Nisbet, Framing Science, In the Clamor Over George Will, Pundits Win but Public Loses, 24 Feb 09, reasserts Nisbet’s core thesis that engaging and reacting to the disinformation coming from the Will’s in the world is counter-productive because it brings attention to them. I simply don’t get it as, after all, Will ends up in the homes of (10s of) millions due to his syndication. It is better to let his disinformation go unchallenged? As written, I simply don’t get it.

Back in January, Desmog blog noted what they dubbed a “troubling” trend online, plotting a rise in mentions of “global warming + hoax.” The graph was construed as evidence of growing strength for the climate skeptic movement.

At the time I observed to a few colleagues that the graph probably also reflected the intense interest in so-called “denialism” among the liberal climate netroots. By constantly responding to and attacking the climate skeptics in blog posts and comments, liberal bloggers were only bringing additional attention to their claims.

The conflict and heat generated not only focuses more attention on Will’s preferred uncertainty interpretations, but it also distracts from the narratives and frames that are actually likely to build broad-based support for action. As I note in the Environment article, these frames include an emphasis on the moral and religious imperative to action along with a focus on the public health and energy innovation dimensions of climate change.

20 Feb 09

John McQuaid, The Washington Post’s mystifying defense of global warming denialism, 20 Jan 09:

“The dust-up over George Will’s global warming denial column has morphed into a classic example of newspaper institutionalist failure. In its own small way, it shows why - on top of the Internet-driven collapse of media business models - many people are losing confidence in newspapers and other traditional media outlets. … There’s a forest-for-the-trees absurdity here: The Washington Post has, apparently to avoid conceding error to critics it dislikes, closed ranks behind a piece denying what is a nearly universally-accepted scientific fact — one that is a very grave threat to humanity — and all-but explicitly backed the distortion of science.”

EcoBarons, Climate of Denial, dated (impossibly) 10 Feb 09,

“Of course, like his fellow climate change deniers, Will gets the facts wrong and the science wrong. And it apparently never occurs to him that a main cause of Americans’ relative unconcern about global warming is the many influential and partisan voices such as his out there creating a chorus of misinformation, fostering a climate of denial.”

Jay Stevens, Left in the West, There they go again, 16 Feb 09, “In short, Will is writing a piece that misinforms the public about science based on a news report that misinformed the public about science. ”

Balancing Act in The Political Climate, 14 April 09 (shorter version at The Chronicle Online).

Either painfully ignorant or deliberately deceitful, Will’s work has rightfully incited intense criticism of the Post. … Newspapers have a responsibility to provide accurate information to their readers. Permitting such thoroughly disproven material to be published, even in an opinion piece, undermines the journalistic integrity of the entire paper. And clearly others at the Post agree.

Some more of the excellent discussions:

Relevant backgrounders:

Nina Shen Rastogi, Slate, Is the Cryosphere Crying Wolf? What Arctic sea-ice levels can tell us about global warming, 10 Feb 09. Good, accessible discussion on the implications of Arctic Ice.

These are just a taste of the outrage that has spread across the blogosphere re Will’s outrageous columns and discussions re Global Warming.

Please (PLEASE) feel free to use the comments section to point out others. Thank you.

At GESN:

  • WashPost Ombudsman steps up and steps in it … Plus another Will fabrication …, 28 Feb 09
  • NYTimes’ Revkin names some names, 27 Feb 09
  • Will directly lies … again … and again … and again … , 26 Feb 09
  • Will’s whining … defending the indefensible …, 26 Feb 09
  • Revkin wanting attention: Science Reporter’s “Faux and Balanced” deception, 25 Feb 09,
    • When challenged/questioned, Gore listened and absorbed the comments. He withdrew the slide, stopping basing his argument on scientists who said he (if accidently) misrpresented their work.
    • When challenged/questioned/providing evidence against what he writes, George Will (Tierney / Lomborg / Samuelson / etc ) simply ignores it and keeps saying the same falsehoods.
  • The New York Times Andy Revkin evidently was feeling a bit jealous of the attention that George Will and John Tierney were receiving for their deceptive disinformation when it comes to Global Warming issues. Other than that its a bit hard to explain his convoluted and, well, deceptive article in today’s New York Times on ‘hype’ on global warming, throwing Al Gore and into George Will into the same pot in a ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ discussion. Nowhere, however, does Revkin deal with an absolute core point:

  • NY Times standing in solidarity with Washington Post, 24 Feb 09, highlights truthiness by NY Times science “reporter” John Tierney
  • Ideological conservatives hold The New York Times and The Washington Post to be beneath contempt, as poster children of their bizaare conceptions of media thease are supposed bastions of liberal bias. When it comes to climate change issues, however, The Washington Post (and, more seriously, Washington Post Writers’ Group) embrace of “fair and balanced” rather than “true and truthful” should give these reality denying ideologues a cause for glee. …. Amid all this, it seems reasonable to conclude that The New York Times editorial leadership has decided that not only The Washington Post s hould lay claim to “fair and balanced” when it comes to print journalism on the issues of climate change.

  • George Will should read WashPost.COM, 23 Feb 09
  • Not all the Washington Post merits criticism in this regard and better work merits highlighting. Just today, the top-notch Capital Weather Gang published a story meriting attention (and concern): MIT Group Increases Global Warming Projections.

  • Will-ful Deceit: three blunt examples, 21 Feb 09, providing three direct examples of Will’s deceptiveness and outright falsehoods in his 15 Feb 09 column.
  • Here are just three of the explicit arenas of his deceit:

    1. Claims that scientists (especially climatologists) were united in concerns over Global Cooling in 1970s. FALSE.
    2. States that sea ice is same today as 1979. At best, misleading and disingenuous. And, his source disagrees with him.
    3. States that there has been no global warming for a decade. At absolute best, misleading and disingenuous. And, his source disagrees with him.

  • WashPost Embraces Will-Ful Deceit, 21 Feb 09, an earlier version of this list but also material highlighting that The Washington Post’s problems in climate reporting and climate opinion pieces are far from constrained to George Will
  • .

  • Will-ful Deception = No Fact Checking, 16 Feb 09, pointing to statement by UIUC Arctic Ice Center.
  • WashPost: Complicit in Disformation (or explicit collaboration)? 15 Feb 09, an initial dissection of Will’s 15 Feb 09 column, but also highlighting that Will’s disinformation is part of a larger pattern within The Washington Post, no isolated to just this column nor just to George Will.
  • The Washington Post has a strong history of being “fair and balanced” within its pages when it comes to Global Warming issues, providing column inch after column inch of space to those actively seeking to deceive when it comes to what might (what likely will be) the most critical issue for this century. Without question, deniers / skeptics / delayers get far too much time and space in the OPED pages. Lomborg has been above the fold in Outlook. Multiple of these ‘regular’ columnists (Krauthammer / Samuelson / Will) have regularly launched inanities on the Post’s pages. (See: TRADITION! WashPost Global Warming reporting Fair and Balanced.) Dana Milbank’s recent piece using “Goracle” time after time is an example where this travesty goes past the OPED section. Yes, yes, yes. There is “fair and balanced”. The Post’s editorials, themselves, clearly state that Global Warming is real and that humanity is a driving factor. Yes, people like Bill McKibben and Al Gore have had editorials in the Post’s opinion section. But, that is the point: there is, it seems, a striving for “fair and balanced” rather than accurate and truthful when it comes to Washington Post editorial decisions about articles and opinion pieces on climate issues.

For a list of 100 items on The Will Affair, see Greenfyre’s George F Will goes Platinum, 5 March 09,

George Will has gone Platinum with over 100 articles exposing the lies and errors in his recent climate columns. …

I propose the George F. Will Platinum Award,
to be given for egregious idiocy underneath and below the accepted standards of climate change denial stupidity, from a source that generally makes some minimal attempt to maintain the pretense of accuracy, rationality and intelligence.
I offer nothing more than an alabetical collection of the testament to travesty, mainly to document Will’s worthiness of special status in a field already rich in idiocy and charlatans.

Tags: Global Warming · climate change

31 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Charlie Petit // Mar 5, 2009 at 9:08 am

    This is a terrific aggregation of links. I wrote the post at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker that you cite, and that you suggest “seems confused” by why the column created such an uproar. I’d say “surprised” but guilty as charged. I was. Not so much now. The arguments are so familiar in the land of the refusers-to-see-global-warming that Will’s column didn’t register as notable. Confused doesn’t mean disappointed. The uproar is simulating. Good call in labeling it the first non-denialist blogstorm on the general topic.

  • 2 Charlie Petit // Mar 5, 2009 at 9:09 am

    edit my comment a moment ago to say the uproar is stimulating!

  • 3 A Siegel // Mar 5, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Charles

    And, as well, I am changing my post. That comment implied a criticism that I didn’t mean, because I thought that you did a good / useful / thoughtful piece. This “annotated citation” post is somewhat of an aside as to where I want to focus my time and I was looking at a bunch of posts on the web at the same time and didn’t finish what I wanted to say about your write-up … thus, some words to be added to this post.

  • 4 George F. Will goes platinum « Greenfyre’s // Mar 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

    [...] “…struggling to keep up” with annotated links about the Will debacle. I’ve stopped even trying. [...]

  • 5 Philip H. // Mar 5, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Here’s my piece - and I think it would grind Nesbitt a little.

  • 6 WashPost Embraces Will-Ful Deceit // Mar 5, 2009 at 11:28 am

    [...] [NOTE: 5 March 09: For a more up-to-date bibliograpy, see: The Will Affair ... struggling to keep up.] [...]

  • 7 Glenn Beck = Stalin: Assassination of a Climate Scientist // Mar 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    [...] ← The Will Affair … struggling to keep up [...]

  • 8 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review jumps into a pile of … with both feet // Mar 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

    [...] Pittsburgh Tribune-Review decided to join The Will Affair by providing George Will yet another uncritical podium, beyond publishing his column, to spout off [...]

  • 9 Rush’s Hot Air … heats the globe // Mar 10, 2009 at 10:52 am

    [...] Ah, words that could warm the cockles of even the cold heart of George “Will-ful Deceit” Will. [...]

  • 10 The Steele Big Lie Trap // Mar 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    [...] Michael Steele is a George Will devotee, following his lead into Will-ful Greenland [...]

  • 11 Post Editorial Board Admits Error in The Will Affair … implicitly // Mar 21, 2009 at 8:57 am

    [...] NOTE: For an annotated bibliography (of sorts) of 10s of blog posts on The Will Affair, see The Will Affair … Struggling to keep up. [...]

  • 12 EnergyByEarth.com » Triumph of the Will bashers // Mar 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    [...] I didn’t follow the George Will Climate Crank Controversy very closely on this blog. You can read a comprehensive play-by-play from Adam Siegel here. [...]

  • 13 EnergyByEarth.com » Triumph of the Will bashers // Mar 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    [...] I didn’t follow the George Will Climate Crank Controversy very closely on this blog. You can read a comprehensive play-by-play from Adam Siegel here. [...]

  • 14 Would they mess up sports reporting? // Mar 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    [...] of the aside comments written by many amid The Will Affair is that perhaps George would better serve his readership by spending his time writing about [...]

  • 15 The Lies Have It // Mar 31, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    [...] George Will in the Washington Post to the Washington Times editorial page, the dishonesty proliferates without [...]

  • 16 Will Writes, Will Whines // Apr 2, 2009 at 7:07 am

    [...] The Will Affair … struggling to keep up [...]

  • 17 Washington Post’s Willfully Civil War // Apr 9, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    [...] on the same day dissecting Will’s deceit. For annotated links to much of this material, see: The Will Affair … struggling to keep up. For additional sources, see Dylan Otto Krider and Greenfyre’s George F Will goes [...]

  • 18 Hiattian Climate Deception Strikes Post OPED Section Again // Apr 24, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    [...] when it comes to the energy and climate domain merits a name. Just as the specifics related to George Will’s serial deceptions mounted into The Will Affair< , the serial “faux and balanced” nature of WashPost [...]

  • 19 Hiatt Again Stands Up For Will-Ful Deceit // Apr 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    [...] that has gone public in many ways, and with the Post editorial board implicitly having rebuked George Will’s repeated Will-ful deceit in multiple ways, Washington Post opinion page editor Fred Hiatt was pitched a softball question [...]

  • 20 Sanity strikes WashPost OPED pages // May 6, 2009 at 6:17 am

    [...] Washington Post staff are speaking out with concerns or dissents from opinions within Post pages, critical blog posts and articles are appearing across the globe, and Nobel Prize winners are stepping into the fray with devastating critiques of material [...]

  • 21 Will Will’s deceptions ever be fact-checked by WashPost? // May 7, 2009 at 10:14 am

    [...] with abandon. These deceptions and falsehoods, have led to criticisms and corrections from across the web and even traditional media outlets, Washington Post staff, and the numerous Balancing letters (including today)  and OPEDs [...]

  • 22 George Will writes, Will-ful Disdain for Facts // May 19, 2009 at 11:43 am

    [...] George Will has a pattern for Will-ful disdain for facts if they get in the way with his ideological agenda. [...]

  • 23 Post Promotes of Debunked Deception re Hummers vs Prius … // Jun 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    [...] with substantive backing required from the editor before it went into print. Watching the Post editorial page’s (mis)handling of George Will’s Will-ful deception re energy and [...]

  • 24 Milbank’s “Goracle” … // Jun 28, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    [...] his substantive work somehow relates to the Delphi Oracle. At the time, too heavily caught up in The Will Affair, taking on yet another Washington Post absurdity on climate issues seems too tiersome. Happily, [...]

  • 25 Blogging about WashPost OPED Editing: Inane or Insane? // Aug 1, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    [...] inane, deceptive, truthiness laden OPED appears on energy issues. Not satisfied with publishing George Will’s Will-ful Deceit, Krauthammer’s fact-free forays into energy analysis, Samuelson’s truthiness, and Sarah [...]

  • 26 Enemies of Green: Faux & Balanced in the Washington Post // Dec 7, 2009 at 12:42 am

    [...] George ‘will-ful deceit’ Will stepped forward with his long anticipated contribution to the truthiness-laden ClimateGATE story, The climate-change travesty. One thing to be said, Will is incredibly skillful with words and knows how to mix facts with sleight of hands to create utterly disingenous (typically utter false) truthiness.  At this time, I lack the energy to dissect this column syllable-by-syllable, but suffice to say that his attacks on science and the scientific community essentially cross the line into libel. [...]

  • 27 Fred Hiatt jumps the shark in dragging Washington Post into the sewers: Publishes Sarah Palin OPED contradicted by links within the OPED // Dec 8, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    [...] that those who disagree should simply debate … the faux and balanced conception that the occasional publication of letters directly proving Will’s errors and falsehoods somehow creates a fair and balanced environment is something hard to conceive of ever having [...]

  • 28 Washington Post washes its hands with passive voice re climate change confusion // Dec 22, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    [...] George Will’s flagrantly deceptive (and often simply false) opinion pieces about climate chang… be a contributing factor to confusion?  (Or course, Will is not the only regular Post columnist to [...]

  • 29 POSTal Schizophrenia re Climate Science strikes again // Feb 14, 2010 at 9:10 am

    [...] Post has an incredibly uneven nature when it comes to the science related to Climate Change. The editorial page will publish an absolutely dishonest piece, be challenged to such an extent that they will publish multiple letters (including from misquoted [...]

  • 30 George Will’s next column’s subject will be … // Apr 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    [...] March 2010 was, globally, the hottest March in modern temperature records. Right? That is what George Will-Ful Deceit Will will discuss with his readers, providing a thoughtful discussion of how perhaps he has been feeding [...]

  • 31 Nisbet’s “Climate Shift” and where did they get these numbers (Item #374) // Apr 21, 2011 at 7:20 am

    [...] This was the period of what the Columbia Journalism Review called The Will Affair.  (For a partial annotated bibliography, see: The Will Affair: Struggling to keep up.) [...]

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