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Freudian Slip at The New York Times? The Paper of Record Mangles Quote from DI’s Spokesman, Substituting “Biblical” for “Biological”

John G. West

Ever think that certain reporters at the so-called “mainstream” media have already determined their story before they have even interviewed anyone? In my many conversations with reporters, I sometimes get the feeling that no matter what I say, the reporter at hand will only hear what he or she wants to hear, even if it’s the exact opposite of what I’m actually saying. Some amusing evidence of this sort of bias in action is apparently on display in today’s print edition of The New York Times. In an article about President Bush’s endorsement on Monday of students learning about different views on evolution, reporter Elisabeth Bumiller completely mangles a quote by Discovery Institute’s Stephen Meyer.

Here is what Steve Meyer actually said to Bumiller in praising President Bush’s comments:

“We interpret this as the president using his bully pulpit to support freedom of inquiry and free speech about the issue of biological origins.”

But here’s how the The Times reported Meyer’s comment:

“We interpret this as the president using his bully pulpit to support freedom of inquiry and free speech about the issue of biblical origins.”

It seems as if the reporter (or her editor) already knew beforehand what they thought Steve Meyer ought to have said in order to confirm their own stereotype that intelligent design is about religion, rather than science.

As Rob Crowther has pointed out already, the Times assured us a couple of hours ago that they would correct this egregious error, but as of this post, the correction has yet to be made. So the bogus quote will no doubt still be circulating on the internet by the time you read this, although I hope the correction will have been made by then. Here’s yet another cautionary tale about why you shouldn’t always believe what you see in the “mainstream” media.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.

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