Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

NPR and 'Intelligent Design': Skeptical or Credulous?

As a journalist myself, I struggle with the issue of whether news stories should be objective. On the one hand, I believe in having media that explore all sides of an issue -- I don't want to live in a world where liberals get their news from liberal sources, conservatives get their news from conservative sources, and people's opinions and beliefs are never challenged. On the other hand, I think balance is often inserted into a story where it doesn't belong. Intelligent design is a good example of that -- a good journalist, when reporting on intelligent design, needs to make it clear that this is a controversy among people who don't understand science. Among people who do understand science, there's no controversy.

The NPR ombudsman takes a look at how public radio has reported on the issue.

2 Comments:

At 1:57 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I think the best way to handle a story isn't "balance," but transparency. It's simply impossible not to have an agenda, and to remain completely objective, and when you try you end up injecting balance where it doesn't belong.

The biggest mistake (among many) that Fox News made was adopting that "Fair and Balanced" slogan. Had they just admitted what they were I don't think that liberals would be quite as dismissive as they are. They still wouldn't trust Fox News, but at least they couldn't charge them with hypocrisy.

Reporters should write without concern for bias based on what they believe. Someone is always going to see a given story as biased. Better to deliver well-reasoned conclusions based on facts without regard to any politcal considerations.

Hearing from "both sides" isn't balance. Knowing the mindset of the reporter is.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger Gnuosphere said...

I say there is a balance. So much so that I've been censored at William Dembski's blog a half-dozen times now. And I'm no sympathizer of the atheists. Nor am I identifiably religious.

Is the designer the designed?

 

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