George Will Doubles Down on Global Warming Distortions

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Brandon Hersh (202) 471-3205
bhersh@mediamatters.org

George Will Doubles Down on Global Warming Distortions

Washington Post stubbornly refuses to correct columnist's demonstrably false claim

WASHINGTON - In his new column, George Will doubles down on distortions
made in his widely criticized global warming column from earlier this month.
Lashing out at critics, Will once again misuses sea ice data to falsely suggest
it undermines the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming.

"George Will's latest
column is proof that sometimes the sequel is just as bad as the original.
Instead of admitting his errors and correcting them, Will has added more fuel
to this growing fire sparked by his previous column's distortion of
scientific findings,"
said Erikka
Knuti, a spokeswoman for Media
Matters
.

For the
past week, Will and The Washington Post have faced sustained
criticism over Will's dubious global warming claims. Despite thousands of
letters and emails sent by concerned readers to Will, The Washington Post, and Post ombudsman Andy Alexander, the Post has yet to issue a correction for the
serious errors and distortions in Will's original column - claims
made yet again in his latest work. Instead, they have repeatedly obfuscated the
issues at hand, which only compounds Will's embarrassing lack of concern
for the truth.

"The Washington Post
remains defiant, refusing to correct Will's false claims,"
Knuti
said. "Instead, the Post has dug in its heels, standing by
Will, his misuse of scientific data, and worst yet, his refusal to admit he
erred. It's time for the Post
to show its commitment to accuracy and journalistic integrity by finally
acknowledging Will's pattern of misrepresenting the truth with a printed
correction. The paper owes it to its readers."

Last
night, the Columbia Journalism Review
quoted Post editorial page
editor Fred Hiatt defending Will's work, saying in part, "If you want to
start telling me that columnists can't make inferences which you disagree with
... I think that's really inappropriate. It may well be that he is
drawing inferences from data that most scientists reject - so, you know, fine,
I welcome anyone to make that point. But don't make it by suggesting that
George Will shouldn't be allowed to make the contrary point. Debate him."

This controversy,
however, is not about "inferences" by Will with which others
"disagree." It is about Will spreading demonstrably false
information, and The Washington Post standing by those
falsehoods. Will is entitled to his own opinion, but when he gets the facts
wrong in an attempt to validate that opinion, the Post has an obligation to step in and correct the public
record.

BACKGROUND

Media Matters:
Lashing out at critics, George Will spreads more falsehoods in new global
warming column

Summary:
In a column obtained by Media
Matters
in advance of its publication, George Will falsely claims
that in his February 15 column, he "accurately reported" on the
contents of an Arctic Climate Research Center document on sea ice data. In
fact, while Will suggested the ACRC data undermine the scientific consensus
that humans are causing global warming, the document actually states that the
sea ice data are consistent with the outcomes projected by climate-change
models.

Columbia Journalism Review: The
George Will Affair

Summary: Thought
the dust kicked up by George Will's February 15 column in The Washington Post, "Dark Green Doomsayers,"
had settled? Think again. On Friday, the Post
will run a second column by Will addressing the widespread criticism he
received for the last one. And while his editor, Fred Hiatt, defends both
columns to CJR, the climate world is beside itself, and the case raises
important questions about journalistic evidence and inference.

Media Matters'
County Fair: WashPost's Fred Hiatt plays dumb
for George Will

Summary: Journalism
is not complicated. Honest. But sometimes people practicing it pretend that it
is. They pretend that it's very complicated and that every fact has nine
different sides and it's impossible--impossible--to
figure out what the truth really is. And because it's impossible, who's to
say who's right and who's wrong. Who's to say what's correct and what's
incorrect. It's all open
for debate.

Media Matters'
County Fair: WaPo goes all
in

Summary: The Washington
Post
lost $192 million last year. This is not a newspaper that
can afford to alienate its readership. And yet, the Post is going all-in on George Will's
credibility. For the past week, Will and the Post
have faced sustained criticism over dubious claims Will made
about global warming -- and over a pattern of such claims from both Will and
the Post.

###

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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