The Great Ricardian Equivalence Misunderstanding
Maynard Keynes Might Say: Real Wages and the Great Depression

May We Please Retire George Will and Fred Hiatt?

The Washington Post needs to decide whether it is in the information business or not. It can't be in it as long as Fred Hiatt and George Will are writing for it.

But news reporters are pushing back:

Juliet Eilperin and Mary Beth Sheridan:

New Data Show Rapid Arctic Ice Decline: The satellite data released by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the maximum extent of the 2008-2009 winter sea ice cover was the fifth-lowest since researchers began collecting such information 30 years ago. The past six years have produced the six lowest maximums in that record, and the new data show that the percentage of older, thicker and more persistent ice shrank to its lowest level ever, at just 9.8 percent of the winter ice cover.

"We're seeing an ice cover that's younger and that's thinner as we head into summer," Walt Meier, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in a telephone news conference. "It's been a pretty sharp decline."

The new evidence -- including satellite data showing that the average multiyear wintertime sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2005 and 2006 was nine feet thick, a significant decline from the 1980s -- contradicts data cited in widely circulated reports by Washington Post columnist George F. Will that sea ice in the Arctic has not significantly declined since 1979...

Chris Mooney:

Climate Change's Myths and Facts: [The writings of] Post op-ed columnist George F. Will.... Can we ever... recognize the real conclusions of science and... distinguish them from scientific-sounding spin or misinformation?... [T]he only hope involves taking a stand for a breed of journalism and commentary that is not permitted to simply say anything; that is constrained by standards of evidence, rigor and reproducibility that are similar to the canons of modern science itself.

Consider a few of Will's claims.... Will suggested that widespread scientific agreement existed at the time that the world faced potentially catastrophic cooling.... [But r]eviewing studies between 1965 and 1979, the authors found that "emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then."... It's misleading to draw a parallel between "global cooling" concerns articulated in the 1970s and global warming concerns today. In the 1970s, the field of climate research was in a comparatively fledgling state....

Will wrote that "according to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979." It turns out to be a relatively meaningless comparison, though the Arctic Climate Research Center has clarified that global sea ice extent was "1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979." Again, though, there's a bigger issue: Will's focus on "global" sea ice at two arbitrarily selected points of time is a distraction. Scientists pay heed to long-term trends in sea ice, not snapshots in a noisy system....

Will also wrote that "according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade."... Will probably meant that since 1998 was the warmest year on record according to the WMO -- NASA, in contrast, believes that that honor goes to 2005.... Yet such sleight of hand would lead to the conclusion that "global cooling" sets in immediately after every new record temperature year, no matter how frequently those hot years arrive or the hotness of the years surrounding them.... [I]t's far more relevant that out of the 10 warmest years on record, at least seven have occurred in the 2000s...

Andrew Freeman:

Will Misleads Readers on Climate Science - Again - Capital Weather Gang: [S]yndicated Washington Post columnist George Will... misleading reporting of climate science... three columns on global climate change.... The Post's ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, found some problems with the piece, but did not find evidence that Will committed factual errors or distorted facts in the February 15th article.... Will... provides readers with misleading climate science information that conflicts with what scientists know about the climate system.... Will's climate change columns are a case study in how one can cherry pick scientific data to fit their own agenda.... [M]an made global warming is not likely to take place in a monotonic manner, in which each year is warmer than the next... there will be zigs and zags.... As Easterling and Wehner note, the record warm year of 1998 occurred during an unusually strong El Nino event, which exerted its own natural warming influence.... Will's previous two columns contained another misleading statement about climate science, this time concerning sea ice.... George Will's recent columns demonstrate a very troubling pattern of misrepresentation of climate science.... Editors and fact checkers are there to ensure that publications like the Washington Post don't print factually incorrect information...

Let's retire Andrew Alexander as well.