Eugene Robinson: George Will “Crossed the Line”

The pushback on George Will continues as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson slams Washington Post columnist George Will. Robinson also becomes the first Postie to note the role played by Will’s editors in helping him attempt to deceive the Post‘s readers. He does it gently since, after all, he works for them. But he does it:

MADDOW: Eugene, I feel like factchecking politicians is a full-time job and it is a very fun one. But does it sort of feel like there is just more made up stuff in the daily back and forth of political news right now than usual?

ROBINSON: It certainly does, and it’s distressing. I think there’s a distinction here among the examples we cite. What George Will did was cherrypick a sentence in a report, be very persnickety in the way he parsed his sentences, and end up making it sound as if the report had said the exact opposite of what it actually said. He was persnickety enough that his editors, who happen to be my editors, felt he didn’t cross the line. I thought he did. And the ombudsman agreed with me, actually, and wrote about it in last Sunday’s paper.

I think the Post is in an untenable position here. If they think that Juliet Eilperin and Tom Toles and Eugene Robinson are slandering Will, then it seems that they ought to do something about that. But if they think that Robinson is right, and Will is cherry-picking phrases in order to make it sound as if reports say “the exact opposite” of what they really say, then it seems that they ought to do something about that. Why run Chris Mooney pointing out that Will is misleading people and then keep giving Will a platform from which to mislead them?