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He Said, She Said: Washington Post vs. Associated Press

Coverage of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial has been about as could be expected, all over the board. There’s been good, bad, and downright ugly.

Here then is a snapshot of how reporters can shape the public’s perception in the way they report a single statement. This example comes from the coverage of Michael Behe’s testimony in the courtroom yesterday.


Michael Powell form the Washington Post is to be commended for being fair and accurate. Compare this statement of Powell’s with the AP’s (mis)characterization of the same thing yesterday. (see the Post story here, and the AP story here)

Michael Powell, Washington Post: “The question of religion came up several times Monday. Behe freely acknowledged that he is Roman Catholic and believes the hand of the intelligent designer belongs to God. But he emphasized that this was a personal, philosophical belief. Intelligent design, he argued, must succeed or fail as a scientific theory.”

Martha Raffaele, AP: ” biochemistry professor who is a leading advocate of “intelligent design” testified Monday that evolution alone can’t explain complex biological processes and he believes God is behind them. … The intelligent design concept does not name the designer, although Behe, a Roman Catholic, testified he personally believes it to be God. “I conclude that based on theological and philosophical and historical factors,” he said.

Powell gives you the whole picture, showing the separation between the science and Behe’s personal beliefs. Raffaelle presents the same thing, but in such a way as to leave the reader with the idea that Behe’s conclusions about ID are based on his religious beliefs. Clearly that isn’t the case, and Behe has stated this repeatedly in the past, as well as several times yesterday in the court room.

Discerning readers will (hopefully) pick up on this since the articles are both in the Washington Post.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.

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__k-reviewKitzmiller v. Dover Area School DistrictMichael BeheWashington Post