Feb
18
2009

Noam Chomsky Excavates the George Will Memory Hole

In a blog post about how it must have been "So Much Nicer To Be George Will Before The Internet" (2/17/09), A Tiny Revolution's Jonathan Schwarz looks back over how "on Sunday George Will made things up so he can claim global warming isn't happening" to "a funny story of Noam Chomsky's from the book Understanding Power about a column Will wrote in 1982":

[A] few years ago George Will wrote a column in Newsweek called "Mideast Truth and Falsehood," about how peace activists are lying about the Middle East, everything they say is a lie. And in the article, there was one statement that had a vague relation to fact: He said that Sadat had refused to deal with Israel until 1977. So I wrote them a letter, the kind of letter you write to Newsweek–you know, four lines–in which I said, "Will has one statement of fact, it's false; Sadat made a peace offer in 1971, and Israel and the United States turned it down." Well, a couple days later I got a call from a research editor who checks facts for the Newsweek "Letters" column. She said: "We're kind of interested in your letter; where did you get those facts?" So I told her, "Well, they're published in Newsweek, on February 8, 1971" –which is true, because it was a big proposal, it just happened to go down the memory hole in the United States because it was the wrong story. So she looked it up and called me back, and said, "Yeah, you're right, we found it there; okay, we'll run your letter." An hour later she called again and said, "Gee, I'm sorry, but we can't run the letter." I said, "What's the problem?" She said, "Well, the editor mentioned it to Will and he's having a tantrum; they decided they can't run it." Well, okay.

Theorizing that these days "it must be hard for Will to get used to bluggs, because he's spent his entire career with total impunity," Schwarz doesn't spare those people responsible for publishing Will's damaging claptrap either: "Two days later, Will and Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Washington Post op-ed page, still won't explain their behavior." See the newest FAIR Action Alert: "Does the Post Fact-Check George Will?: Columnist's Climate Change Denial Distorts Reality" (2/18/09)