Monday, April 12, 2004

Stop the Presses! No sooner do I finish my last post than I discover that Agape Press has upadated their lead story. The headline reads:

CNN Accused of Fabricating Controversy in Missouri Evolution Story

Here's an excerpt:

CNN is being asked to recant a story about a bill in the Missouri legislature that would allow teachers to be fired for not teaching alternatives to the theory of evolution, such as the Intelligent Design theory.

Recently on the program CNN Sunday Morning, correspondent Denise Belgrave stated that nine states were grappling with the debate over how evolution should or should not be taught in public schools. In the story, Belgrave encouraged viewers to "imagine a law that would fire teachers who refused to teach alternatives to evolution theory, alternatives that have not yet been widely accepted by the scientific community. That's what Missouri's considering, but Missouri isn't alone."

CNN's viewers were then shown a U.S. map highlighting nine states as places where measures similar to that described in Missouri were under consideration. The CNN reporter identified "intelligent design" as the main alternative to evolution theory. Intelligent design, which some say reflects aspects of the biblical account of creation, proposes than some features of the world were created as the result of an intelligent cause instead of natural selection, a component of the evolution theory.

Actually, news outlets generally retract stories. Recanting is what you do when you have given testimony in court, and then decide that you didn't really mean it.

More to the point, they give the game away in the next paragraph:

The problem is that even though a bill was introduced in January in Missouri that would have penalized teachers for not teaching an evolution alternative, the measure was later revised and the teacher penalty was eliminated. In addition, the revised bill is no longer under active consideration by the Missouri Legislature, according to the bill's sponsor.

Taking this to be accurate, it sounds to me like the only error CNN made was in using the present tense instead of the past tense. That hardly constitutes fabricating a controversy. The fact remains that if the ID folks have their way, then teachers will be penalized for not teaching creationism.

So far I have been unable to find any response from CNN at their website.


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