The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review decided to join The Will Affair by providing George Will yet another uncritical podium, beyond publishing his column, to spout off in this interview conducted by associate editor Bill Steigerwald.
Steigerwald's scientific credentials shine forth from the opening words.
After George F. Will wrote a column last month questioning the faulty premises and apocalyptic predictions of global-warming alarmists, he caught holy heck from America's "eco-pessimists."
Should anyone wonder that the interview that followed simply gave Will another podium for his Will-ful deception?
Staying with Steigerwald,
He and his editors at The Washington Post were blasted with thousands of angry e-mails, most of which challenged Will's assertion that global sea ice levels have not been dramatically reduced by man-made global warming, as environmentalists claim, but are essentially the same as they were in 1979. Will, who had used data from the Arctic Climate Research Center as his source, also was accused of multiple inaccuracies by The New York Times' Andrew Revkin. Will wrote a second column defending his data and returning fire at Revkin.
Please note, like Will, Steigerwald is quite happy to limit the discussion to ice, as if the argument is over a few words and a specific item of data, rather than the reality that there were mulitple issues with just that one Will column and that Will's columns are filled not just with inaccuracies but actual direct untruths (lies?).
All is calm now
Is it? Has Will escaped with simply the 'viciousness' of the blogosphere and Andy Revkin, able to go out and continue his Will-ful deceit with impunity?
Q: You have felt the righteous wrath of those who believe in man-made global warming. Are you still all there?
A: Oh, heavens. Yeah. The odd thing about these people is, normally when I write something that people disagree with they write letters to the editor or they write a responding op-ed piece. These people simply set out to try and get my editors to not publish my columns. Now I don't blame them, because I think if my arguments were as shaky as theirs are, I wouldn't want to engage in argument either.
"Believe" is not the question Steigerwald, it is a question of understanding the scientific method and giving any sort of credence/respect to science or pandering to suffering anti-science syndrome.
As for Will, what arrogance and deceit to assert that people were not ready to engage in arguments, that numerous people did not provide substantive material backing not just questioning, but utter debunking, of your columns.
In addition, where are the calls on "editors to not publish [your] columns"? Isn't the call for editors and publications to act professionally and ethically? To actuall fact check your pieces and demand that they comport to some degree of truthfulness and ethical reporting?
•Q: The big issue was about how much global sea ice there is now compared to 1979.
•A: And that of course was a tiny portion of the column. The critics completely ignored -- as again, understandably -- the evidence I gave of the global cooling hysteria of 30 years ago.
First, "global sea ice" was only one of the issues.
And, second, George Will is simply stating untruths: "The critics completely ignored ... global cooling." What arrogant dishonesty! There were newspaper columns written, formal letters to the editor (and George Will), and, probably literally, hundreds of blog posts that detailed how Will was utterly deceptic when it came to Global Cooling. (To be clear, the best academic investigation of the literature is 180 degrees away from Will's assertions, one of the authors send Will this study months ago, and, in any event, Will repeatedly took words out of context to represent people/articles as saying things that they hadn't.)
Q: They like to pretend that there really wasn't any hysteria back then.
A: Since I quoted the hysteria, it's a little hard for them to deny it.
Again, the false bravado that you weren't challenged and the continued misrepresentation.
Q: What disturbs you most about this global warming consensus that seems to be pretty widespread and doesn't seem to be eroding?
Contemplate the wording: "this global warming consensus". "seems to be pretty widespread" ... nothing there about science, scientific method, about the concepts of knowledge.
A: Well, I think it is eroding, in the sense that people sign on to be alarmed because it's socially responsible ... (and because it makes them feel good). But once they get to the price tag, once they are asked to do something about it, like pay trillions of dollars, they begin to re-think.
These paragraphs (above and to come) are actually quite interesting as they state, even if obliquely, the key arguments that will be heard to forestall action to mitigate Global Warming and, as well, more truthfulness than much of Will's discussion.
Here is: it will cost too much and therefore people won't choose to act. Of course, Will won't admit to any risk to avert nor that there will be benefits such as better health and job creation.
I've never seen anything quite like this in my now 40 years in Washington. I've never seen anything like the enlistment of the mainstream media in a political crusade
Wow, George, never? Not in the attempt to end the "death tax"? Not in the effort to build momentum for war against Iraq? Not in the effort to impeach of Bill Clinton or the shallow-based undermining of Al Gore in 2000? Not in ... Never, George, never?
and this is a political crusade, because it's about how we should be governed and how we should live; those are the great questions of politics.
This is truthfulness, not the crusade, but that these "are the great questions of politics". There are serious questions of how to govern society and how we will live.
It is clearly for some people a surrogate religion.
Isn't George insulting both religion and science here? Thus, being a climate realist and giving credence to sicence is "a surrogate religion"?
It's a spiritual quest. It offers redemption. But what it also always offers, whether it is global cooling or global warming, is a rationale for the government to radically increase its supervision of our life and our choices. Whether the globe is cooling, whether it's warming, the government's going to be the winner and the governing class will be the winner.
Will is anti-government, anti-regulation. Is his real fear that acknowledging the threat we face will require his admitting that this problem is too big for the individual to solve, that 'libertarian' solutions won't solve this challenge, and that there is a role for government in solving problems?
He is quite willing, it seems, to allow ideology to overwhelm any affiliation with truth and truthful reporting.
Now, it seems to me there is a 100 percent certainty that at any moment the planet is warming or it is cooling. That's what it does. There are cycles well-recorded through history. The climate was once warm enough for Greenland to be called "Greenland" for a reason -- the Vikings farmed there. There was a time when the planet was so cold that Eskimos landed in Scotland in their kayaks. There was "The Little Ice Age." There were warm periods -- we've been through this before. What's different now is that we have a media addicted to hysteria and we have enormous political and financial stakes in convincing people that vast shifts of power and resources should be given to the government to combat climate change. The prudent people in this refer to "climate change" so whatever happens they can say, "See, we told you."
Oh, this is the "its all natural" argument and it is all cycles. Don't worry, be happy, no matter what science and the data tell you, this is all part of a set of natural cycles which is only different because there are journalists talking about the situation .... Sadly, the real problem is that "journalists" are seeking to be faux and balanced, thus the nation is not receiving truth from its media outlets on this critical issue area.
•Q: Will you dare to do any more on global warming?
•A: Well of course! It doesn't take daring. Seriously, I don't understand what there is to worry about. In fact, the global warming "caucus," if you will, seems to me singularly toothless. They can't even get the globe to cooperate. It stubbornly refuses to warm at the moment.
AHHHHH!!!! Surprised that he didn't mention snow in DC? (Or, well, 70+ degree weather the eighth day of March, less than a week after an icy storm?)
Sadly, he will still be writing on Global Warming and if the Post's and Tribune-Review's behavior is any indication, he will be allowed to continue his Will-ful deceit without serious review.
Q: Is there any big lesson that you've learned from this encounter with the global-warming people?
A: This is not a life-changing experience. This is just another encounter with another interest group doing interest-group politics. This strikes me as a very minor event.
Just "interest-group politics" rather than calling for factual and truthful reporting on the issue that might be the most important one facing US in the 21st century.
Q: In your career or ... ?
A: In the week! In the week! This is just not a big deal. I've written 5,000 columns and a lot of them have caused ruckuses bigger than this.
Well, how many columns have led to Columbia School of Journalism reviews (The Will Affair) and the Post's Ombudsman having to write on them? How many led to criticism in The New York Times? How many have led you to write a second, snippy column repeated and expanding on your falsehoods?
Q: But Andrew Revkin and The New York Times? They don't usually pick on you, do they?
A: No, but they no doubt have their reasons.
Poor, poor George. "Picked on"? And, well, how about this as a reason: George Will peddled deceit on one of the key issues of the 21st century, the blogosphere erupted in substantive outrage, and the substantive shredding of Will became known to Revkin who, sadly, balanced restrained comments about Will with over-the-top comments re Al Gore.
In any event, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review should be embarassed to have published this interview without fact checking as, well, no truthful researcher could spend 10 minutes on the web with this material and be satisfied with Will's falsehoods.
Tom Yulsman has a reasonable discussion of this in George Will unmasked. Sadly, Yulman concludes:
Many argue that the Washington Post should censor Will. This is a profoundly bad idea. It would raise Will's standing among the public, and the chilling effect of suppressing free speech would be a much bigger evil than whatever harm Will is doing to public understanding of climate change. (And I sincerely doubt that he's doing much damage to that.) Even so, it sure would be nice to see a detailed article in the Washington Post analyzing everything Will got wrong -- and continues to get wrong.
Many problems and issues in so few words:
1. Who is talking "censor"? Is fact checking and demanding that reporting (and, yes, columnists conduct 'reporting') abide by some legitimate definition of truthfulness censoring or simply professionalism?
2. "doubt that he's doing much damage" simply rejects that a columnist reaching millions of people has any impact, that his words don't influence anyone's thinking. Seems like an odd perspective from a journalist blogging to be suggesting that journalists have no impact on the public discussion.
3. And, again, the issue is not just The Washington Post, but the 450 newspapers that Will reportably reaches throught The Washington Post Writers' Group.
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