Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
12.11 This For-Profit College Is Leaving Students With Lots of Debt and No Degrees [It's a Trump University World]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
12.15 John Kerry: Forget Trump. We All Must Act on Climate Change. [Might he be a candidate for President in 2020?]
12.15 Black lung disease is still killing miners. The coal industry doesn't want to hear it [Trump loves Coal]
12.11 The will of the people is to halt climate change, what about politicians? [Excellent!]
12.11 'We live in a lobstocracy': Maine town is feeling the effects of climate change [Do you care?]
12.11 Protesters disrupt pro-fossil fuel event at COP24 – video [Do you care?]
12.11 'It's a sad reality': a troubling trend sees a 97% decline in monarch butterflies [Do you care?]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
12.15 What the Hell Is Wrong With Paul Ryan? [”The Saudi check is in the mail.”]
12.15 Scott Walker signs bills to limit powers of incoming Wisconsin Democrats [Immoral people cheat, etc.]
12.15 Trump science adviser casts doubt on links between pollution and health problems [Consider the ignorant/bribed source.]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
International & Futurism
12.15 Denmark gives new fathers paid leave. Why do so few take it? [Audio clip]
12.13 The Honduran Nightmare
12.10 US and Russia ally with Saudi Arabia to water down climate pledge [The Oil Mafias lobby for more insanity]
More Hot Air from George Will
Columnist defends errors in climate change column
2 March 2009Syndicated Washington Post columnist George Will and the Post's ombud Andrew Alexander are still failing to address the majority of the inaccuracies in Will's February 15 column on climate change.
Facing down critics (including FAIR--Action Alert, 2/18/09), Will claimed in a new column (2/27/09) that his original "column contained many factual assertions but only one has been challenged." Taking up that "one" challenge, Will continued to insist that his summary of research done by the University of Illinois' Department of Atmospheric Sciences was correct--despite the researchers' repudiation of Will's argument.
Of course, critics had pointed out two other inaccuracies: Will had suggested that global cooling was a prevailing scientific concern of the 1970s--a falsehood he repeated in his new column--and claimed the United Nations has found there has "been no recorded global warming for more than a decade," an inaccurate interpretation that the U.N. has tried to correct in the past. How the legion of fact-checkers that (according to Alexander) scrutinize Will's columns managed to miss the fact that Will's critics had cited multiple errors of fact in the previous column is hard to understand.
Will's real point was to criticize a New York Times report by Andrew Revkin (2/25/09) for not naming the experts that Revkin said found Will's column to contain inaccuracies. This, too, is specious, as Revkin noted that the sea ice researchers from the University of Illinois said Will was wrong about their data. (Revkin's piece was troubling, but for a different reason entirely; see FAIR Blog, 2/27/09.)
In his February 27 column, Will added another exaggeration, suggesting that scientists face enormous pressure to toe the line on climate change even though the scientific evidence is questionable:
Will seems to be going for a two-fer: This measurement error is alarmingly significant ("the size of California"), and the New York Times ("a megaphone for the alarmed," in Will's view) is not reporting this obviously important news. Except that this doesn't appear to be all that important; as the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center explains on its website (2/26/09), this discrepancy was reported almost immediately, and "does not change any of [their] conclusions regarding the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice extent.... Any discrepancies fall within the margin of error."
That Will would cite scientists who immediately identified and corrected an error is an irony he would be better off not highlighting.
For his part, the ombud dismissively likened the controversy surrounding the inaccuracies in Will's column to being "like watching chairs being thrown in a bar fight," although he acknowledged that Will's reference to sea ice research should have prompted further inquiries by the Post. Alexander also noted that "readers would have been better served if Post editors, and the new ombudsman, had more quickly addressed the claims of falsehoods."
Given that Will's critics are still waiting for a response regarding two out of the three documented inaccuracies in Will's February 15 column, the ombud's call for improved timeliness misses the more important point.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
Copyright © 2008 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on March 2, 2009.