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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

George F. Will's Dishonesty Explained in Detail by A. Siegel of The Huffington Post -- good job!

Will-ful Deceit on Climate Change: Three Blunt Examples

by A. Siegel, The Huffington Post, February 22, 2009

As discussed in WashPost: Complicit in Disformation (or explicit collaboration)?, last Sunday's George Will column was a disgraceful example of distorted discussion of climate change issues. This deceitful piece and the Washington Post's seeming backing of it has created an uproar through the blogosphere that is seriously questioning what this sort of shoddy editorial management of opinion pages means for any Washington Post claim to journalistic integrity.

Now, this issue goes beyond this George F Will column to his serial stretching of fact to beyond the breaking point beyond truthiness. This issue goes beyond Will's repeated will-ful deceit to the repeated Post publication of deception, often dishonest opinion pieces related to global warming and climate challenges. This is more than about Will's deceit in Dark Green Doomsayers. Even so, it is worth returning to this specific deceitful piece to provide a simple summary of how it is deceitful with some quick references.

Here are just three of the explicit arenas of his deceit:

1. Claims that scientists (especially climatologists) were united in concerns over Global Cooling in 1970s. FALSE.
2. States that sea ice is same today as 1979. At best, misleading and disingenuous. And, his source disagrees with him.
3. States that there has been no global warming for a decade. At absolute best, misleading and disingenuous. And, his source disagrees with him.

"Global Cooling."

Will writes:

In the 1970s, "a major cooling of the planet" was "widely considered inevitable" because it was "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950"

And, he has reference after reference seemingly nailing the coffin shut to prove this point. Only problem: it is not true that there was some form of scientific consensus around Global Cooling. Science works from hypothesis to testing of hypothesis to, if it stands up to testing, that hypothesis becoming a theory. Unlike Global Warming / Climate Change, which is a Theory, Global Cooling was never more than "hypothesis" and a "widely" disputed one at that. Last fall, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society published the peer-reviewed review of this issue with the revealing title of The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus. It begins

There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.

But, the true extent of Will's deceit goes further than this. One of the authors of this study, John Fleck, wrote both blog posts and an opinion piece following Will's article. In Cherry-Picked Facts Heat Up Climate Debate (which should be a must read for the Post's hand-picked fact checking team), Fleck points out that Will selectively quotes from articles, misrepresenting the actual conclusions. As to Will-ful deceit, Flect notes

When George Will last wrote about this subject, in May 2008, I sent him a copy of the 1975 Science News article, hoping he might get a fuller picture of what was going on at the time. I got a nice note back from him thanking me for sharing it. It doesn't seem as if he read it, which would have been nicer.

After a fact and truth filled piece, Fleck concludes:

George Will is entitled to his own opinions. He is not entitled to his own facts.

Correlation of Will comments with the truth? Zero.

See the rest of this post and the comments and A. Siegel's astute responses at this link:

BLOGGER'S NOTE: Also from the Cryosphere:

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