Instead, out comes Andrew Revkin with a false equivalence article <a target=”_blank” href=”http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/02/25/revkin-dead-wrong/”>painting Will with the same brush</a> as Al Gore. Will’s sin is to say that the world is not getting warmer when, in fact, it is. Gore’s sin was to say that warming is happening (it is) and to illustrate the problems with this trend by referring to a chart that Revkin deems unduly alarmist but that Gore found in <em>The New York Times</em>.
Matt’s correct, of course. But Matt didn’t note another way in which Gore has acted better than Will — a way that reflects, I think, Gore’s superior approach to science. What did they do once the errors were pointed out? Gore acted responsibly; Will and the Washington Post did not.
The critique of Gore’s chart (a new addition to his presentation) came out earlier this month. Gore, presumably because he or his staff felt the critique had merit, removed the chart from his presentation.
Tigerhawk says that’s embarrassing, and I agree, it is a bit embarrassing — but only a bit. Occasional mistakes are inevitable when a book or presentation draws evidence from hundreds of sources. What would be seriously humiliating is if the error were fatal to Gore’s larger thesis, or if Gore refused to correct the error once it was credibly pointed out. But that one chart isn’t the foundation of Gore’s argument about global climate change. And by promptly correcting the error,1 Gore has demonstrated how responsible writers act.
In contrast, George Will and the Washington Post have, so far, refused to admit, let alone correct, Will’s errors. Instead, the Post has compounded Will’s errors. And as for a prompt correction — it turns out Will has been repeating more or less the same error-filled column since 1992.
- The exact timeline is unclear, but it appears less than a month, and maybe less than a week, passed between the critique of the chart, and Gore correcting the error. [↩]