During the 1980 presidential campaign, for example, Will secretly helped coach Ronald Reagan for a debate, using a briefing book stolen from Jimmy Carter's campaign. After the debate, Will appeared on ABC's Nightline, where he praised Reagan's performance without disclosing his role in prepping the candidate. In 1996, Will defended a speech by GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole without noting that his wife, a top Dole aide, had helped write it.
During the 1988 presidential campaign, Will treated Jesse Jackson quite differently, ambushing him with an arcane question about "the G-7 measures of the Louvre Accords" -- a question interpreted by many as an effort to do little more than embarrass Jackson and compared by some to the literacy tests used to disenfranchise African-American voters until they were banned in the 1960s.
Whatever the reason for Will's treatment of Jackson, he behaved far differently toward George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign, when he penned a Washington Post column about Bush titled "He's No Intellectual -- And So What?" During that campaign, Will met privately with Bush shortly before the candidate appeared on ABC's This Week. Why? To go over a question in advance so he didn't "ambush" Bush with "unfamiliar material." Will even went so far as to give Bush an index card containing a portion of the question he would ask.
Will's pattern of global warming falsehoods has been well-documented in recent days. It's a pattern that goes back at least 16 years:Will confronted Gore on the issue of global warming: "Gore knows, or should know before pontificating, that a recent Gallup Poll of scientists concerned with global climate research shows that 53 percent do not believe warming has occurred, and another 30 percent are uncertain."
It was Will, however, who should have read the poll more carefully "before pontificating." Gallup actually reported that 66 percent of the scientists said that human-induced global warming was occurring, with only 10 percent disagreeing and the rest undecided. Gallup took the unusual step of issuing a written correction to Will's column (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/27/92): "Most scientists involved in research in this area believe that human-induced global warming is occurring now." Will never noted the error in his column.
In more recent years, Will has made false claims about the Voting Rights Act and the New Deal. He made a claim about China drilling off the coast of Florida that was so wrong, even then-Vice President Cheney -- who cited Will in repeating the claim -- acknowledged it wasn't true. When even Dick Cheney thinks you've gone too far in spouting pro-drilling falsehoods, you have a problem. But neither Will nor the Post corrected the error.
Last year, Will claimed in his Newsweek column and on ABC that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Not true. He claimed that McCain won more votes from independents during the primaries than Obama did. Wrong. He claimed most minimum-wage earners are students or part-time employees. False. Will has even lied about Hillary Clinton's Yankees fandom.
Now in return for spreading obviously false propaganda as well as never EVER correcting himself George Will gets to be a requenct guest on several talking head shows on cable news programs as well as having a platform to continue disseminating false information. Isn't it about time that we demand better from our mainstream media sources? I don't know that it will do any good but I believe that we should not let the latest controversy over his column denying global warming by using bogus quotes and statistics die. Perhaps if we continue to put pressure on the Washington Post to correct George Will that for once people will have to take notice of the fact that this man doesn't come close to living up to the reputation that the Village has created for him. We deserve better from our media outlets and we should demand better. Its time to take a stand.
Update: Wouldn't you know it, just so happens that today the ombudsman for the WaPo, you know the guy whose ass hilzoy broker her foot off in, put up his information in the Washington Post website. I think he should hear from all of us to let him know that his explanation of why George Will got by without a correction is totally unacceptable. Perhaps we could even include hilzoy's article. For those who are so inclined here is his information.
You can communicate with me in three ways. E-mail me at email@example.com. Leave a message on the ombudsman's line at 202-334-7582. Or write to me, care of The Post, at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.