Things Break does a thorough take-down of George Will’s continued dishonesty in the Washington Post. For the background, if somehow you have missed this kerfuffle, check his earlier post.
The story in a nutshell is not remarkable: mainstream columnist prints op-ed full of outright falsehoods, complaints are rejected, paper stands by its right to fill the information age with disinformation. ie Facts don’t matter.
The only remarkable thing really is the attention it is receiving and who knows, perhaps there will be some real consequences… like maybe people will remember this for a change.
It is also worth noting the destructive contribution made by Andy Revkin from the New York Times by his all too standard equation of a questionable characterization in a small portion of an Al Gore presentation (already retracted) and the continual, unapologetic repetition of outright falsehoods by George Will.
I have a little more sympathy than Michael Tobis for people who I think are very well intentioned but working from inside the machine, but sometimes the price of not rocking the boat is too high. Michael is absolutely right that framing the debate with Gore and Will as the two extreme ends puts the “reasonable middle ground” far too far to the wrong. The IPCC’s is not a radical viewpoint, it is a very conservative and cautious, to a fault, voice in the range of viewpoints. Gore is very careful not to stray very far from that conservative consensus. He may chose what to emphasis and when and may simplify his message by sacrificing caveats and error bars, but this is simply nowhere close to the tactics used by the George Wills of this circus. Another egregious error in this equation is that Al Gore’s role in this issue is an issue advocate, George Will is supposedly bound by some journalistic ethics. Revkin does a grave disservice to his readers when he pretends to hold them to the same standard, forget that his standard is clearly a double one in Will’s favour.