WHAT HATH FRED HIATT WROUGHT…. Last week, half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) declared on Facebook that President Obama should “boycott” the climate talks in Copenhagen. Today, the Washington Post published a Palin op-ed making the same case. It argues that CRU emails cast doubt on the entirety of modern climate science, a claim no sane person can reasonably make.

I’ve always believed that policy should be based on sound science, not politics. […]

In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to “restore science to its rightful place.” But instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante.

Yes, by all means Governor Creationist, lecture us some more about the integrity of science.

There’s no reason for the Post to publish baseless garbage like this. None. Ghost-written propaganda on Facebook is inconsequential, but reality-challenged, 800-word op-eds in the Washington Post are far more disconcerting.

The problem isn’t just that the paper published another right-wing piece from someone who’s obviously clueless — note, the WaPo published a similarly foolish Palin op-ed in July — it’s that the piece is factually wrong. The paper has a responsibility to publish content that informs its readers. Obviously, with “opinion” pieces, the standards are slightly different, but that does not give the editors license to run claims that are patently, demonstrably false.

Marc Ambinder had a very strong post, reviewing Palin’s claims, point by point, which is worth checking out. But also don’t miss Media Matters’ piece, which notes that the Palin op-ed even contradicts the Washington Post‘s own reporting.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.