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Celeste Biever, Secret Agent? New Scientist Reporter Caught Impersonating a Cornell Student to Get Story on ID

John G. West

Celeste Biever, a reporter for the viscerally anti-ID New Scientist magazine, seems to have been caught trying to impersonate a Cornell University student in order to ingratiate herself with pro-ID students there. The fascinating story is recounted here on the blog of Cornell’s IDEA Club. Evolutionist Allen MacNeill, who teaches biology at Cornell, calls Biever’s tactic “Pretty sleazy.”

Biever and her editors apparently don’t subscribe to the Code of Ethics issued by the Society of Professional Journalists, which clearly states:

Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

The New York Times imposes an even stricter standard on its employees:

Staff members should disclose their identity to people they cover (whether face to face or otherwise), though they need not always announce their status as journalists when seeking information normally available to the public. Staff members may not pose as police officers, lawyers, business people or anyone else when they are working as journalists. (emphasis added)

Since the students in question were happy to talk with reporters, there seems to be no justification for Ms. Biever’s impersonation.

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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