Fox’s George Will has been named the Misinformer of the Year by Media Matters. Will’s attacks on victims of sexual assault, his ethical lapses, his climate-change denial and more have earned him this distinction. Will's falsehood about Ebola was included in PolitiFact's Lie of the Year.
Will’s most notable transgression was his dismissal of the problem of sexual assault on campuses. He wrote in a column, “(W)hen they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dropped his column and students protested his speaking engagements as a result.
Media Matters has more:
Will’s 2014 misinformation was not limited to attacking and dismissing rape victims. Throughout the year, Will failed to disclose several major conflicts of interest in his columns, and his tangled relationship with political entities backed by Charles and David Koch was cited by the outgoing ethics chair of the Society of Professional Journalists as the kind of conflict journalists should disclose in their writing. His history as a prominent denier of climate change also helped further undermine his credibility, with more than 100,000 people signing a petition demanding the Washington Post stop printing the science misinformation he and others regularly push in its pages.
…(L)ate last year, he left ABC to join Fox News as a political contributor, cementing his increasingly conservative and counterfactual tendencies. Some of his politics—such as his longstanding climate change denial—seemed to fit in at the network. But at the time, Media Matters wondered if an association with Fox’s more angry and crude fare would ruin the brand of the staid conservative pontificator, shifting his erudite elitism towards the hard-edged style of misinformation for which Fox is better known. Will’s accomplishments in 2014 revealed our suspicions were well-founded.
…Will has a long history of pushing misinformation, but it finally caught up with him in 2014, tarnishing the reputation as a public intellectual he had spent decades cultivating. He started the year one of the most respected members of the conservative media elite, and ended it with hundreds protesting his speeches. For this reason, Media Matters recognizes George Will as the 2014 Misinformer of the Year.
Will was also included in PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: a round up of “exaggerations about Ebola.” In fact, Will's misinformation was the first one cited in PolitiFact’s article explaining the choice:
Fox News analyst George Will claimed Ebola could be spread into the general population through a sneeze or a cough, saying the conventional wisdom that Ebola spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids was wrong.
“The problem is the original assumption, said with great certitude if not certainty, was that you need to have direct contact, meaning with bodily fluids from someone, because it’s not airborne,” Will said. “There are doctors who are saying that in a sneeze or some cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious.” False.