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The Sciences

The Washington Post vs. George Will?

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There have been some striking developments in this saga today. For the first time, those in the employ of the Washington Post itself are starting to come out and criticize George Will's misinformation. Exhibit A: A post from the Post's Capital Weather Gang blog by Andrew Freeman, which totally takes Will apart. Read the whole thing here. This is right on the Post's website. Meanwhile, Grist's David Roberts just alerted me to another example. In the paper's news pages, Juliet Eilperin and Mary Beth Sheridan report today on Arctic sea ice decline, and write:

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.

Gee, do you think anybody at the Post agrees with us that George Will is spewing misinformation? The Post has thus far pursued a "let a thousand flowers bloom" approach on this issue--Will can write what he wants, and meanwhile, I can contradict him on the oped page, Michel Jarraud on the letters page, Andrew Freedman for the weather blog, and Eilperin and Sheridan in the news pages. It is in some ways an understandable approach for a newspaper to take, and yet also highly problematic: When someone is as factually wrong as Will is, it shouldn't just be a matter of opinion. Nevertheless, there are now four separate Washington Post rejoinders to Will of various types, and that has to count for something.

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