Did George Will Lie?

I wrote last week about the future of fact checking and its relationship to the blogosphere. Damon Linker, a New Republic blogger I respect immensely, has this interesting round-up on the recent George Will “climate change column” controversy, which pitted liberal bloggers against the staff of the Washington Post.

Linker’s piece eloquently evokes something I overlooked, namely, the danger of crowd-sourced fact checking when animated by a partisan ideology. The shrill calls for the Post to retract Will’s column (because it deliberately “lies”) are a good example. Will may have strayed in his interpretation of several scientific studies or even suggested “misleading” conclusions, but that only opens him up to reasoned criticism, not braying censure for journalistic malfeasance of the highest order. You can read Will’s follow up to his accusers here.

Blogospheric fact checking thus proves to be a mixed blessing. Many lefty bloggers and commentors did poke legitimate holes in Will’s piece, just as right-of-center bloggers debunked the Santelli astroturf conspiracy theory. But both sides, after the initial scramble to “factually” discredit the other side turned the victory into talking points, thereby transforming fact-checking into propaganda. I think this is what Linker is leery of, and I couldn’t agree more.

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One Response to “Did George Will Lie?”

  1. Emily Says:

    Do you guys have a recommendation section, i’d like to suggest some stuff