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New York Times is Too Busy to Interview its Quotees

Today New York Times reporter Kirk Johnson totally misrepresented what I said in his article “Anti-Darwin Bill Fails in Utah.” I said that to the extent that the bill supported critical analysis it was a loss, but we really didn’t care about this bill because it amounted to a meaningless disclaimer, and we’ve never thought disclaimers were a good idea. I totally made it clear that Discovery was NOT keen on this bill. Honestly, I don’t think this reporter was even listening to a word I said.

I never called it purely a “local Utah matter”. What the heck does that mean? A “local Utah matter?” I never said anything like that. He asked if I thought this vote would have any affects outside of Utah, and I said no. I really don’t think it will. But, that’s not what he printed. He put words in my mouth making it sound as if we were completely dismissive of the legislative and policy issues in Utah — on the contrary we followed this issue, even though we weren’t directly involved. He even admitted as much in an e-mail this morning asking for a correction.

The sad thing here is that it seems that Johnson’s preconceived notions about reality affected journalism. He obviously had an agenda to make this about intelligent design, as you can see from how his article was written. I made it clear that we didn’t endorse this bill, and I tried to explain that the issue in Utah wasn’t about intelligent design. But, he rushed me off the phone and said he had to go because he was on deadline. That may have been true, but regardless, I’m confident this guy didn’t hear a word I said.

This was a short 5-minute interview that was very rushed and the guy kicked me off the phone before he really understood the situation, or even understood our position on it.

Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



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