With the publication of George F. Will’s error-filled “Dark Green Doomsayers” column of February 15th, the Washington Post failed to abide by its guiding principles. Despite the publication of a mildly critical ombudsman’s column, a strong rebuke by guest columnist Chris Mooney, and a letter to the editor from the misattributed United Nations World Meteorological Organization, the Washington Post editors have not issued a single correction to the column, which was syndicated to dozens, and possibly hundreds, of newspapers across the nation. After Eugene Meyer bought the Post in 1933 and began the family ownership that continues today, he published “These Principles“:
The first mission of a newspaper is to tell the truth as nearly as the truth may be ascertained.
The newspaper shall tell ALL the truth so far as it can learn it, concerning the important affairs of America and the world.
As a disseminator of the news, the paper shall observe the decencies that are obligatory upon a private gentleman.
What it prints shall be fit reading for the young as well as for the old.
The newspaper’s duty is to its readers and to the public at large, and not to the private interests of the owner.
In the pursuit of truth, the newspaper shall be prepared to make sacrifices of its material fortunes, if such course be necessary for the public good. The newspaper shall not be the ally of any special interest, but shall be fair and free and wholesome in its outlook on public affairs and public men.
Will’s column, distributed by the Washington Post Writers Group syndicate, ran in dozens of newspapers. Until the Writers Group issues a correction — George Will himself does — his lies will live on. Based on Nexis and online archives, these papers include:
Abilene Reporter-News (Texas)
The Anniston Star (Alabama)
Asbury Park Press (New Jersey)
The Bismarck Tribune
The Boston Herald
The Calgary Sun
Canton Repository (Ohio)
The Charleston Gazette
The Chicago Tribune
The Columbia Daily Tribune
Contra Costa Times
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
The Crescent-News (Defiance, Ohio)
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)
The Detroit News
Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, Wisconsin)
The Kansas City Star
The Kitsap Sun (Washington)
Lewiston Morning Tribune
The Mail Tribune (Medford, Oregon)
Minneapolis Star -Tribune
Mobile Register (Alabama)
The Norwich Bulletin (Connecticut)
Orange County Register
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
The Sacramento Bee
St. Petersburg Times
San Diego Union-Tribune
San Jose Mercury News (California)
Staten Island Advance
The Tallahassee Democrat
The Times of Trenton (New Jersey)
The York Dispatch (York, PA)
In a letter to the editor, Lauren Myrick notes that the Washington Post editorial pages have other problems:
Help me understand the thinking behind the selection of the March 15 writers:
Eleven white guys, one white woman. At least six are more than 60 years old. Four are elected Republicans, but none are elected Democrats, even though the Senate, the House and the White House plus a majority of the governorships are controlled by Democrats. I do not remember Democrats being overrepresented on your pages during their “wilderness years.” Quite the opposite.
The letters chosen for publication show the same lack of diversity: six letters by five men and one woman.