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WashPost corrects WashPost re Will-Ful Deceit… Will they need another correction as well?

April 8th, 2009 · 3 Comments

The Will Affair continues to build in new twists and turns. [A quick reminder: On February 15, George Will published a deceitful column on Global Warming. Unlike past events, this set off a chain of blogosphere critiques that led to journalism critiques of Will, responses from both the Post’s ombudsman and the editorial editor, Fred Hiatt, an additional (deceitful) Will column, and publication of both a substantive OPED and a letter to the editor on the same day dissecting Will’s deceit. For annotated links to much of this material, see: The Will Affair … struggling to keep up.)

Adding to the pile, yesterday, two Washington Post pieces sought to correct George Will’s deceitful statements in regards to global warming issues.

  • Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang, Will Misleads Readers on Climate Science — Again, directly addresses The Will Affair and provides a Washington Post employee, on the record, documenting fault with George Will’s deceit.
  • Juliet Eilperin and Mary Beth Sheridan, New Data Show Rapid Arctic Ice Decline: Proportion of Thicker, More Persistent Winter Cover Is the Lowest on Record, begins: “The Arctic sea ice cover continues to shrink and become thinner, according to satellite measurements and other data released yesterday, providing further evidence that the region is warming more rapidly than scientists had expected.” They include in the article a direct comment about George Will, calling this report a direct contradiction of one of George Will’s deceits. As discussed after the fold, have to wonder whether there will be a correction to Eilperin’s and Sheridan’s story even though there has been no formal correction to George Will’s more egregious and repeated deceits.

As highlighted by Grist, in an article about “alarming” Arctic Ice declines, two news reporters specifically called out George Will.

The new evidence—including satellite data showing that the average multiyear wintertime sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2005 and 2006 was nine feet thick, a significant decline from the 1980s—contradicts data cited in widely circulated reports by Washington Post columnist George F. Will that sea ice in the Arctic has not significantly declined since 1979

As Grist reporter David Roberts commented,

I can’t think of another instance when a news story at a newspaper explicitly called out an op-ed writer in the same paper for lying, by name. It’s pretty extraordinary. I can only imagine that something like this got passed up the editorial food chain, from science editor Nils Bruzelius to national news editor Kevin Merida, and perhaps beyond.

This is a strong repudiation of the Fred Hiatt’s management of the editorial pages and an indication that The Washington Post might be in an uncivil war when it comes to George Will’s serial misrepresentations and deceit. An interesting kicker of this might be if the news section is forced to run a correction since the comment about George Will’s deceit got a significant fact wrong. In something of a sleight of hand, Will’s comments were about global, not Arctic, ice coverage.

As global levels of sea ice declined last year, many experts said this was evidence of man-made global warming. Since September, however, the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began. According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.

Now, his comments were still false:

Despite Will’s serial errors and deceptions, again, considering Will’s history of throwing temper tantrums with editors, it is possible to see George demanding that The Post run a correction since, in fact, those reporters got their facts wrong.

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Tags: Energy · politics

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Washington Post’s Willfully Civil War // Apr 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    […] These are discussed in detailed at WashPost corrects WashPost re Will-Ful Deceit… Will they need another correction as well? […]

  • 2 For Sanity in an Editorial: A tip of the hat to The Tennessan // Apr 13, 2009 at 8:17 am

    […] much energy has to be expended taking on “faux and balanced” material in the nation’s newspapers of record, striving to foster sanity and truthfulness in the publications, rather than the  insanity and […]

  • 3 Hiatt Again Stands Up For Will-Ful Deceit // Apr 29, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    […] dissent from within The Washington Post, dissent that has gone public in many ways, and with the Post editorial board implicitly having rebuked George Will’s […]