Making George Will look worse

MAKING GEORGE WILL LOOK WORSE…. The Washington Post had a good item today on the increasingly dire outlook on Arctic sea ice. Near the end of the piece, the Post‘s Juliet Eilperin and Mary Beth Sheridan added:

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.

That’s a pretty sharp rebuke for a news story about a claim made by one of the paper’s own high-profile columnists. Indeed, David Roberts added, “I can’t think of another instance when a news story at a newspaper explicitly called out an op-ed writer in the same paper for lying, by name. It’s pretty extraordinary.”

But it gets better. Let’s not forget that the Washington Post‘s Andrew Freeman also fact-checked Will’s work on climate change and found the columnist to be wrong, and the Washington Post also recently published a piece from Chris Mooney scrutinizing Will’s analysis and Mooney, too, concluded that Will was wrong.

It’s safe to assume Will is furious to be exposed this way, but more to the point, it seems the Post is well aware that one of its highest-profile voices has published several columns with demonstrably false claims. Why, I wonder, hasn’t the paper run any Will-related corrections?

For that matter, perhaps now would be a good time to start giving Will’s work added scrutiny before it’s published?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.