As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Piliing On Will

At some point, you have to take a stand against all the conservative misinformation that lands on America's doorstep every morning in the daily newspaper, and I agree that George Will's global cooling column is a great place to start. His column last week, with its false data and revisionist history, was but a symptom of media failure, and it calls into question everything they do. This very detailed PDF from Brad Johnson at The Wonk Room details all of the errors and provides a suggested correction:

George Will’s Feb. 15, 2009 column claimed that experts cited a 2008 decline in “global sea ice” as evidence of man-made global warming. Scientists cited the observed decline in Arctic, not global sea ice. Will’s column claimed that the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center said that global sea ice levels are “now equal to those of 1979.” At the beginning of January, the center said that global sea ice levels were “near or slightly lower than those of late 1979,” but global sea ice levels are now 8 percent below their levels in February 1979. Will’s column claimed the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said, “there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade.” According to the WMO, global warming is continuing, with the past decade the warmest on record. Will’s column argued that imminent global cooling was a predicted planetary catastrophe in the 1970s. There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed
into an imminent ice age. Will’s column cited articles from Science magazine and Science News to imply the authors expected an imminent ice age. The Science article instead predicted an ice age within several thousand years, “ignoring anthropogenic effects.” The Science News article described climatology as an “infant science” and discussed predictions of man-made global warming that have since proven to be accurate. The Washington Post and George Will regret the errors.

There's no question that Will and The Washington Post erred, yet there is no such thing as accountability in the Beltway. So people are using letters to the editor to express their outrage and disapproval. Will appears in syndication in local papers all over the country, and the readers are speaking out:

Lawrence Journal-World: Will off base (Letter, 2/19/09)

[Will] puts together apparently irreconcilable statements from the mid-1970s and today, apparently in an effort to show that climate scientists don’t know climate change from a hole in their hats. I suppose it didn’t suit his political purposes to consult a few climate scientists. He says that climate change is No. 20 of 20 concerns according to a public poll. He is apparently Will-ing to have it remain there.

The Advocate: Will erred about global warming (Letter, 2/21/09)

Like many pundits, Will's belief in his own omniscience leads him to assume instant expertise on any topic. It also results in his repeatedly misleading the public on important issues such as global warming.

The Advocate should employ a fact checker for the columns it runs, or share responsibility for their misrepresentations.

Austin American-Statesman: Warming ignorance (Letter, 2/22/09)

George Will showed ignorance and pulled out the tired straw man that those of us who care about stopping climate change are gloom-and-doomers when the opposite is true.

Many more at the link.

This is well worth continuing to push. Silence in front of discredited theories and lies is not an option. We need to see some accountability.

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