Alan Shearer, the Washington Post Writers Group editorial director, told the Wonk Room that he looked into the accuracy of Will’s claim that “According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979″:
We have plenty of references that support what George wrote, and we have others that dispute that. So we didn’t have enough to send in a correction.
In other words, the fact that University of Illinois’
Arctic Climate Research CenterPolar Research Group says that global sea ice levels are now whole lot lower than in 1979 doesn’t matter. As long as you can find a couple of people who say that the Arctic Climate Research CenterPolar Research Group said something else, you don’t need to make a correction or even mention that Arctic Climate Research CenterPolar Research Group disputes the position you attributed to them.
Note that under this policy Will can attribute any statement at all to any organization he wants and no correction would be necessary, no matter how much the organization denies the statement. For example, next week Will could write that the Smithsonian had concluded that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and he would not have to correct this no matter how fiercely the Smithsonian denied it, as long as he could find a Creationist web site that said that was the Smithsonian’s conclusion.