Summary: Pundit George Will published a sloppily researched and composed column about global warming in the Washington Post. The response was a deafening call for his execution (i.e., of his career). Through a stroke of luck so great it must be intervention of the Blue Fairy, he may have accidentally stated the situation correctly. This episode, esp the reaction of his critics, illustrates important aspects of decision-making in 21 century America.
The subtitle for this post: Tonight’s prayer is “let me be so lucky as George Will.”
- About “Dark Green Doomsayers“, George F. Will, Washington Post, 15 February 2009
- “Off with his head” scream the green defenders of the faith
- The Blue Fairy intervenes, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center confesses
- About Will’s other errors
- What have we learned from this?
This post is a follow-up to The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation (18 February), about Michael Asher’s article which kicked off this debate.
(1) George Will, the sloppy pundit
The critics focused on this paragraph in About “Dark Green Doomsayers“, George F. Will, op-ed in the Washington Post, 15 February 2009:
As global levels of sea ice declined last year, many experts said this was evidence of man-made global warming. Since September, however, the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began. According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.
There are several things wrong with this text. First and worst, he is using without attribution the work of another: “Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979“, Michael Asher, Daily Tech, 9 January 2009 (per the WaPo ombudsman here). Second, Will inaccurately repeats Asher’s conclusion.