Sunday, September 30, 2007

One Story, Two Accounts

Ben Stein (from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Visine eye drop commercial fame) is more than an ordinary actor and is certainly no intellectual slouch. He graduated from Columbia University with honors in economics and as valedictorian of his Yale Law School class. His latest film work, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, covers the debate between evolution and intelligent design, with a special focus on educators who have been ridiculed for supporting an intelligent design model of creation.

Right from the start, one can imagine that such a film would bring about a little controversy. In fact it has done just that. While I may watch the film when it is released in February 2008, an even more interesting subject is how the media has covered the film. The title of a recent New York Times article on the movie is: "Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life’s Origin." The author focuses first on an apparent controversy as to whether or not evolution supports were tricked into being interviewed for the film. Later in the article, it touches on the subject of the film -- educators that have been criticized and lost tenure for their support of intelligent design.

When one reads another article published by the Christian Post entitled, "Ben Stein Confronts Dominance of Darwinian Thought in New Film," it creates an interesting juxtaposition. This story focuses first on the educators and second on the supposed skulduggery of the film's producers.

Reporters know most readers only read the first portion of any newspaper article. If a reporter has a bias, the information they find important or worthwhile is placed early in the piece (it might also be helpful for me to point out that the authors to not write the headlines -- this is left to another person, such as the editor). Do either of the above referenced reporters have a bias? I guess that depends on your position on evolution. Like I story, two accounts.

This just goes to show that we should not get all of our news from one source (and read beyond the first paragraph). While I happen to fall more toward the conservative side in my politics and faith, I find it important to get my news and information from a wide variety of sources (including, God forbid, what some might term "liberal"). If we only hang around those who agree with us, we will find that we are never wrong.


G-MAN said...

Point well taken. Reminded me of this from C.S. Lewis...
"In any fairly large and talkative community such as a university there is always the danger that those who think alike should gravitate together where they will henceforth encounter opposition only in the emasculated form of rumour that the outsiders say thus and thus. The absent are easily refuted, complacent dogmatism thrives, and differences of opinion are embittered by the group hostility. Each group hears not the best, but the worst, that the other group can say."

Jeff said...

Thanks for the Lewis quote. I like his use of the phrase "complacent dogmatism." I could not think of a more approptiate term.