A stroll down memory lane with George Will

George Will's current Newsweek column begins:

As Ronald Reagan prepared for his presidential debate with Jimmy Carter in October 1980, some Reagan aides pondered how their candidate should respond if Carter unearthed some of the at-times-too-colorful things Reagan had said over the years. For example, when in 1974 Patty Hearst's kidnappers demanded the distribution of free canned goods, Reagan reportedly quipped that this would be a good time for an outbreak of botulism. What, an aide wondered, should Reagan say about that? After a long pause, a wit suggested: “He should say it was taken out of context.”

If I was George Will, I don't think I would be so quick to bring up Ronald Reagan's 1980 debate preparations. FAIR's Steve Rendell explained 2003:

Will's approach has been questioned in a few exceptional cases. During the 1980 campaign, he drew fire when it was learned he'd secretly coached Republican candidate Ronald Reagan for a debate with President Jimmy Carter using a debate briefing book stolen from the Carter campaign. Immediately following the debate, Will appeared on Nightline (10/28/80) to praise Reagan's “thoroughbred performance,” never disclosing his role in rehearsing that performance (New York Times, 7/9/83).

It says something about the elite media culture that George Will apparently doesn't feel any shame about his unethical behavior. And it's a useful reminder that the liberals on Journolist didn't come anywhere near matching the improprieties of a conservative columnist who has for decades enjoyed a prime seat at the center of the media establishment, with a column that runs in the Washington Post and Newsweek as well as a regular spot on ABC's This Week.