Last night, we posted an extensive deconstruction of a column by Bill Moyers in which, among other things, he recycled a fake quotation by former Interior Secretary James Watt to support the argument that conservative Christians are out to despoil the environment on the theory that Jesus will return any moment, so it doesn’t matter. This morning, we added an update, noting that the Washington Post had repeated the same fraudulent quote in yesterday’s paper, likely in reliance on Moyers. We concluded:
Sounds like the Post reporter, Blaine Harden, read Moyers’ speech and cribbed from it without doing any fact-checking. We’ve written the Post to request a correction.
This evening we received the following email from Blaine Harden, the Post reporter:
the Post is running a correction on the Watt quote in Tuesday’s paper.
We would hope that the Post will not be relying on Bill Moyers as a source in the future. Next up: the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which originally ran Moyers’ column, which was a tissue of lies and misrepresentations throughout.
UPDATE: Here is the text of the Post’s correction:
A Feb. 6 story incorrectly quoted James G. Watt, interior secretary under President Ronald Reagan, as telling Congress in 1981: After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back. Although that statement has been widely attributed to Watt, there is no historical record that he made it.
That doesn’t go as far as it should, probably, but in our experiences that’s typical of corrections. It will do. Now, let’e see whether the Star Triubne will likewise issue a correction, and whether Moyers will apologize to Mr Watt and the others he defamed in his speech.