Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Misrepresentation and Distortion

"I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts." --Mark Twain

Yesterday, I heard George Stephanopoulis tell an interviewer that former President Jimmy Carter "supports the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools"

I don't know if Jimmy Carter supports that or not, and frankly, the teaching of ID in schools isn't what I am going to discuss. I am concerned, however, with the distortion of the issue of Intelligent Design in schools.

I drive through Pennsylvania every night and I have the opportunity to hear, via the radio, daily reports on the current debate about ID directly from the town where the debate is taking place. George Stephanopoulis is not the first commentator or politician to misrepresent this debate, and most likely won't be the last.

The debate is not about whether Intelligent Design can or cannot be taught in public schools. It is about whether public schools have the right to inform their students that there is such a theory. They are not asking for the right to teach ID. Only the right to mention that the theory exists.

Period. That's it.

Currently, evolution is the only theory that is allowed, legally, to be taught in public (government) schools. What the York, Pennsylvania County school system is "guilty" of is simply informing their students that evolution is not the only theory on the origin of life. They do not, nor have they attempted to teach any other theory than evolution.

And it is this misrepresentation of the issue that I want to discuss. Or rather, any misrepresentation of any issue.

I would think that journalists would do the homework necessary to get the facts right before reporting a story. It is irresponsible journalism to do otherwise. And yet, they continue to feed the public erroneous information. The result is uninformed people becoming misinformed people, which is usually worse than just uninformed.

After all, no one ever started an organized protest of any kind over something they know nothing about.

Another example of this irresponsible kind of journalism is the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. To this day, Democrats insist the issue over which articles of impeachment were brought was the fact that he had oral sex in the oval office. It was not. It was the fact that he perjured himself before a Grand Jury, a felony charge. Any high crime or misdemeanor is considered grounds for impeachment. Journalists that continued to insist the impeachment was about a simple act of immorality, which is not illegal, and not about the very real crime of perjury propagated the myth that impeachment was not justified.

Before you accuse me of bashing Democrats or Liberals, (sometimes the two aren't synonymous) let me add, hastily, that Liberal journalists are not the only ones who misrepresent facts to influence their audience. Conservatives do it, too.

One example I can think of, in particular, is the way Sean Hannity and others misquote Howard Dean. Ever since Dean said, "many Republicans never worked a day in their lives" Hannity and many other Conservative talk show hosts and pundits report that he said, "Republicans never worked a day in their lives", and some I have heard actually get indignant over that simple omission of the word, "many". I submit that what Dean said in this case is absolutely true. I am sure that some Republicans indeed have not worked a physical job in their lives. But then, some Democrats haven't either.

I am of the opinion that if facts and quotes were represented correctly, as much as half of the more divisive issues the two parties fight over would be less contentious.

There might even be agreement in some cases.


Goat said...

Mark, all I know is I cannot limit the Lord, the Bible states I came from the earth it does not say how long it took. If I came from primordial ooze through many forms so be it. If I was created directly , so be it. It is not my place to question Him or His plans. I know you have read some of my arguments. They are intended for deep thought, not obligatory acceptance.

Toad734 said...

You don't think students are already aware of this theory? If the kids whose parents believe that Adam and Eve rode Dinosaurs to church every Sunday are taught that by their parents then they are well aware of creationism (I refuse to use the word intelligent design because we all know that you really mean creationism when you say ID). The 2 students who are not aware of creationism are so taught that by their parents, so either way the children get the information that their parents want them to have. But who is to say that everything the parents believe should be taught in schools? Do the 2 Nazi girl’s parents have a right to make schools teach that integration is evil? Parents aren’t always right and they don’t always know best.

Students aren't taught about blowjobs in schools either but they are well aware that they exist.

Our fear is that these are small steps in a bigger agenda. Kind of like all the gun nuts who don't want waiting periods. They keep saying that it's only the first step before we take all their guns away. So now do you understand our apprehension? Not to mention that there isn’t one shred of empirical evidence to suggest the Bibles story of creationism, that the earth was created in 6 days and that the planet is only 10,000 years old. There is actually more evidence that the Sumerians were spawned from the splicing of alien and ape DNA, which would also fit into the literal definition of intelligent design. Should the children be informed of that theory as well? If no, why not; it’s a theory.

Oh and I have a Bible Quiz for everyone to take over on my site.

Mark said...

Ok, Apparently my posts are too long. It is obvious that both Toad and Goat didn't read past the first 5 paragraphs. I will try to limit my posts in the future

Jenna Bush said...

What's a Blowjob?