Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Quick Hit: George Will

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I consistently bring up the corporate media in many of my discussions.  The newspaper portion of the corporate media has been in decline for three decades now.  While many members of that community don’t fully grasp why that is, many in the new media do.  A high-profile, recent case provides additional evidence of one contributing factor to newspapers’ decline.  About two weeks ago, George Will wrote a column that tried to reinforce cliamte change denier talking points.  He did so by incorrectly citing scientific data to support his fallacious theories.  The organizations which produced that data informed not only Will, but the Washington Post, of his inaccuracies.  After this, the Washington Post’s senior editors and ombudsman defended Will’s column as being factually correct.  Now – George Will can have whatever opinion he wants and has the right to communicate that opinion.  But George Will does not have the moral right to perpetrate falsehoods, especially after being appropriately corrected.

How did George Will respond?  By writing a second piece that reasserted every lie he wrote the first time around.  As Climate Progress’ Joe Romm wrote,

And in what seems to be Alice-in-Wonderland journalism, a senior editor at the Washington Post now asserts it is perfectly reasonable for a non-scientist Post writer to reinterpret a prestigious source’s scientific data to support his or her conclusion — after those sources have repeatedly stated that their data is consistent with the exact opposite conclusion and without telling readers of that disagreement. And not only did Will do that multiple times in his first piece — the Post still let him do it again after he was called on it by multiple writers…

This blatant lack of journalistic integrity would be astounding – if it didn’t occur all the time.  I’m not saying that it should be ignored.  To the contrary, I will continue to point out how the corporate media is not fulfilling its duties to the American public at every turn I choose.  It is exactly this lack of integrity that has been and will continue to be the downfall of that media.  Organizations like the Washington Post have destroyed every bit of credibility they might once have had.  I cannot imagine how they came to be proud to be a right-wing talking-point propaganda rag.

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