AIM Zeroes in on PBS

Jonathan Witt

The newest Accuracy in Media report takes PBS to task for liberal bias and viewpoint discrimination. The piece is particularly good on PBS’s deeply flawed treatment of the controversy over evolution in the public schools:

Then, Moyers turned to another current topic, the ACLU’s lawsuits against school districts that want to “teach an alternative to evolution.” Romero insisted that, “teaching alternatives to evolution is about teaching religion in our public schools. And in a country as diverse as this one, and in a country where religious belief is such a core belief for so many Americans, you want to keep the government as far away as we can from involving itself in our most important and private institutions.”
Romero’s statement was false. Teaching alternatives to evolution does not necessarily imply the existence of God or the need for religion. Rather it recognizes the problems with a theory holding that random and natural processes cannot account for the origin and complexity of life.
The Discovery Institute, for example, focuses on the issue of whether there is any evidence of design in nature, rather than whether there is a designer. Still, its representatives tend to be portrayed in religious terms not only by the ACLU but by the media.
Those who believe in intelligent design or find gaping holes in the theory of evolution frequently encounter a hostile press. The Discovery Institute provided to Accuracy in Media a thick file of complaints about the way their representatives have been treated by the media, especially CPB-subsidized National Public Radio and PBS.
Back in 2001, when PBS aired the seven-part series, Evolution, financed by Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul G. Allen, it asked Discovery Institute scientists to appear on the last segment dealing with God and religion. It was a trick. The institute rejected this ploy, saying that its representatives had scientific objections to evolution and that they should be included in the scientific episodes.
PBS went ahead with its one-sided program anyway. In response, the Discovery Institute produced a 152-page viewers’ guide, noting that the series distorts the scientific evidence, ignores scientific disagreements over Darwin’s theory, and misrepresents the theory’s critics. Because the PBS series is still being marketed to high schools around the country, the Discovery Institute critique continues to be helpful and relevant. You can find it at: www.reviewevolution.com.

AIM calls for Congress to defund PBS. When PBS does things like cancel a science documentary skeptical of Darwinism merely because some of the funders were openly Christian, many are quick to agree with AIM’s remedy. Instead, citizens and their representatives should press PBS to fulfill its original charter, to present America in all its diversity rather than practicing viewpoint discrimination.

Jonathan Witt

Executive Editor, Discovery Institute Press and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Jonathan Witt, PhD, is Executive Editor of Discovery Institute Press and a senior fellow and senior project manager with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His latest book is Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design (DI Press, 2018) written with Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola. Witt has also authored co-authored Intelligent Design Uncensored, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature, and The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. Witt is the lead writer and associate producer for Poverty, Inc., winner of the $100,000 Templeton Freedom Award and recipient of over 50 international film festival honors.

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