Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Equal Time
Via Washington Monthly, Chris Mooney asks USAToday why they give opposing-view space to crackpot and inaccurate ideas.
Just because your editorial page takes a stance in favor of evolution, that doesn't mean you have to publish nonsense as a rejoinder. But USA Today just did that today with this op-ed, from a Utah Republican (not a scientist), which has the gall to claim: "There is zero scientific fossil evidence that demonstrates organic evolutionary linkage between primates and man." Absolutely outrageous.
I can't agree more. I absolutely loathe the modern media equal time/crossfire approach to every issue, just because a significant percentage of Americans want to believe that the theory of evolution is wrong (mostly because they don't understand it). I'm reminded of an example Michael Kinsley once gave about the foolishness that CNN's Crossfire became while he was still a host, when the topic was extra-terrestrial intelligent life and producers argued over the proper liberal position, for or against. At some point, the job of the journalist should include evaluating the reasonable relevance of dissenting voices, instead of habitually quoting any fool.

I'm looking forward to Chris's upcoming book, The Republican War on Science.

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