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Reuters’ Reporting on Kansas: Science Fiction

Yesterday, I blogged about Reuters’ inaccurate news report earlier this week, which wrongly claimed that the new Kansas science standards would remove evolution as part of the standard core curriculum in Kansas. That was before I read the revised and expanded version of Reuters’ report. Someone has now rewritten the original story. But instead of making it better, the writer has veered off into the realm of fabrication. Reuters’ revised report claims that Kansas is actually trying to include intelligent design in its science standards, as well as asserting as fact that intelligent design is “a form of creationism”:

Kansas approves creationist theories for schools

WICHITA – Kansas has approved moves to allow the teaching of “intelligent design” alongside evolution…

The belief – a form of creationism – disputes the scientific theory that natural selection can explain the complexity of life.

I’ve dashed off another e-mail to the original Reuters’ reporter, but I’m not hopeful, given that she ignored my previous e-mail and phone call.

As an aside, I’ve learned that many reporters are used to not playing by the standards they insist on applying to others. When they are working on a story, for example, they expect someone they want to interview to drop everything and be available to them at all hours for immediate comment. They expect their phone calls to be returned ASAP. But when reporters are contacted by a former source about a problem in their articles, they rarely if ever return phone calls or e-mails. Once they have used someone to get what they want, they couldn’t care less about trying to correct any errors in their stories. And for all the newsmedia’s interest in holding other people “accountable”, news organizations (especially the big ones) are some of the least accountable groups I’ve ever encountered. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and I have come across some reporters and media outlets that are concerned about making corrections. But many news organizations have nothing to boast about in the area of accountability.

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.