Fred Hiatt, the opinion page editor of the Washington Post, is sticking to his guns in defense of George Will’s egregiously mendacious global warming columns. In an online chat today, Hiatt repeated his claim that Will’s lies were just “inferences,” and lashed out at Will’s critics:
Boston: This doesn’t relate to Obama but would you care to address the whole George Will global warming column controversy? Is there any concern that lax standards for accuracy hurts the prestige of The Post opinion page more generally?
Fred Hiatt: Happy to, because we don’t have lax standards for accuracy. He addressed the factual challenges to his column in detail in a later column. In general we do careful fact checking. What people have mostly objected to is not that his data are wrong but that he draws wrong inferences. I would think folks would be eager to engage in the debate, given how sure they are of their case, rather than trying to shut him down.
When faced with an opportunity to restore the Washington Post’s besmirched reputation, Hiatt instead slung mud. The reality is that Hiatt does have “lax standards for accuracy,” and Will’s errors were both errors of fact and of “inference.” Will, of course, did not address “the factual challenges to his column in detail in a later column” — he added new errors. It’s bizarre that Hiatt is worried for Will’s ability to reach an audience — the man is one of the most widely syndicated columnists in one of the most prominent newspapers in the land, with a weekly appearance on national television. From the beginning, critics have been calling on the Washington Post to run a correction — something that, to this day, Hiatt refuses to do.
(HT: Media Matters)