The release of Hugh Hewitt’s new book, Blog, could not be better timed, as it coincides with the launch of this very blog, which pays particularly close attention to Legacy Media error-prone portrayals of the scientific controversies surrounding neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory and its debate with intelligent design theory.
The emergence of the blogosphere is now challenging the monopoly on the dissemination of information that has long been held by Legacy Media, aka Old Media, aka MSM. Hewitt points out the significance of blogs in empowering the people themselves as popular journalists, distributing and receiving unfiltered news at a faster rate than has ever been seen before. His book describes the who, the what, and the why of blogs. It also provides an engaging and pithy account of blogosphere history and some of the major episodes of that young history, including Trent Lott’s birthday remarks, the New York Times meltdown in the wake of Jayson Blair, the Swift Boat Vets and the Christmas in Cambodia story, as well as Rathergate and the fake memo saga.
Hewitt shows how blogs can be brought to bear on any important issue. As this blog has noted, Legacy Media has almost unilaterally refused to fairly cover the ongoing scientific debate between proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution and intelligent design. In the days following the recent election, a slew of major newspapers suddenly rediscovered this ongoing debate, publishing editorial columns and staff editorials that have co-opted one side of the debate in their effort to simultaneously vent their frustrations about the Presidential election and to attack the side with which they disagree‚ — namely, intelligent design.
As recent posts on this blog by Rob Crowther (here, here and here) and by John West (here and here) have shown, Legacy Media doesn’t like intelligent design. At all. Hewitt himself recently written about the Washington Post‘s coverage of a story concerning intelligent design (here).
Intelligent design raises a series of nuanced and complicated scientific issues, making it a difficult concept to attack in a straightforward and accurate manner. Legacy Media has avoided this problem by avoiding accuracy itself, misrepresenting intelligent design and misconstruing the real terms and players in the debate. Rather than discuss the best arguments for intelligent design — such as Dr. Michael Behe’s arguments about the irreducible complexity of the molecular machinery inside living cells — alongside the scientific arguments leveled by its critics, Legacy Media has chosen to focus on its loathing of creationist-fundamentalist-wackos-who-take-the-Bible-literally.
Bravo to Legacy Media for demonstrating their intellectual and moral prowess by defeating these backwater forces through their ex parte publications!!! But is anyone the wiser or more informed about the actual claims made by the leading proponents of intelligent design? Nope. Intelligent design actually involves arguments from Big Bang cosmology, anthropic fine-tuning principles in physics, as well as arguments from specified complexity and irreducible complexity in living systems. And intelligent design does not seek to prove anything about any literal reading of the Bible. But most readers have never heard of these concepts because Legacy Media prefers hyperventilation about their tin-foil hat conspiracies involving the fundamentalist overthrow of all reason and knowledge.
Whether through outright bias, willful ignorance, laziness in the extreme or something else, Legacy Media has repeatedly dropped the ball in covering the ongoing scientific debate between intelligent design and neo-Darwinian evolution. But as Hewitt shows in his new book, those folks don’t own the channels of information any longer. Their bias and poor sense of news judgment won’t cut it in the face of increased consumer choice. There is an intriguing and fascinating scientific debate between intelligent design theory and neo-Darwinian theory, and for the first time a massive number of American citizens will be able to learn about it.
As Hewitt makes clear, one shouldn’t expect Legacy Media to reform itself from the inside. But as Hewitt also shows, the blogosphere has created an information explosion, and as people gain greater access to the facts they will start to pay less attention to the Legacy Media gloss.