Dispatches from the Creation Wars

When the Cupertino lawsuit was filed last fall, the conservative media went berserk over it. Fox News shows did nearly a dozen segments on it, with Hannity and Colmes even moving their entire show to Cupertino and staging a rally to “Take America Back”. The Worldnutdaily, Newsmax and Free Republic all filed story after story about this outrage. Now that a judge dismissed 3 of the 4 grounds for the lawsuit and the teacher has withdrawn the last one, with no change in policy whatsoever, I thought it would be interesting to see how those outlets handled the story. Needless to say, they ignored it. Fox News’ website contains no mention whatsoever of the withdrawal of the suit. Likewise for WND and Newsmax. Free Republic does mention it, but only to present the ADF’s highly dishonest declaration of victory press release and scream in righteous outrage that it took a lawsuit to allow kids to read the Declaration of Independence (which is, of course, utter nonsense).

Comments

  1. #1 Matthew
    August 16, 2005

    Hard to blame them, I think everyone was deceived by the poor initial reporting on the case.

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    August 16, 2005

    Matthew wrote:

    Hard to blame them, I think everyone was deceived by the poor initial reporting on the case.

    I disagree, for this reason: they continued to report the same nonsense even after the truth came out. Sean Hannity kept claiming that the Declaration of Independence had been banned even after the teacher himself said that wasn’t true on his show. When the first story broke in the paper, I thought if this is true then the school clearly is out of bounds. But it took a matter of hours to find out the truth and I’m just a low level blogger. Certainly a major media outlet can do better than that. The fact that they kept repeating the lie about the Declaration even after the plaintiff in the case told them directly that it wasn’t true means you certainly can blame them.

  3. #3 Oolong
    August 16, 2005

    I agree with Ed. I think it is unfortunate, but true, that many are not really concerned with the truth, or with facts — they are concerned with ideology. Hannity, O’Reilly, and others of this ilk (I’m sure there are liberals that can be added to this list) have never allowed a fact to get in the way of a talking point. Insofar as they claim to be guided by truth, they can be held responsible to to degree to which they have ready access to that truth. And as Ed notes, they often do have plenty of access, and so they have plenty of responsibility.

  4. #4 Ed Brayton
    August 16, 2005

    It’s certainly not difficult to find those on the left guilty of the same thing. The Dan Rather memo fiasco is the obvious one that comes to mind, but that’s a regular journalist not a polemicist. For polemicists like Hannity and O’Reilly – or James Carville, or Al Franken, etc – truth almost always takes a backseat to convenient lies that serve their goals, regardless of their political ideology.

  5. #5 Oolong
    August 16, 2005

    Ed

    I agree, as I noted in my post. Ideology is a politically neutral term.

  6. #6 Ed Darrell
    August 16, 2005

    Part of the problem, of course, is that the agreement requires both sides to say little about it. A press release from one side or the other might irritate the hell out of the judge.

    So, the question is, which organization of rational people, wholly unaffiliated with the suit, will put out a press release calling attention to the thing?

    For that matter, maybe it just takes a news tip to the editors at Fox — has anyone tried?

  7. #7 jcw
    August 16, 2005

    “But it took a matter of hours to find out the truth and I’m just a low level blogger. Certainly a major media outlet can do better than that.” Give yourself some credit, Ed. Major media outlets like the New York Times (Jason Blair) and CBS (Dan the man)couldn’t spend the time to make sure they had their story right. Electronic media has much more credibility than print or airwave media. Facts can be checked fairly quickly without leaving your home. You do have to wade through the writer’s opinions but I find that entertaining. I certainly don’t take their opinion’s personally because that limits the number of sites you can visit.

  8. #8 Raging Bee
    August 16, 2005

    Facts can be checked fairly quickly without leaving your home.

    Lies can be spread fairly quickly without leaving your home too. When I was young, I had to walk through three feet of snow to spread lies about someone. Then he beat me up…

  9. #9 jcw
    August 16, 2005

    Raging Bee, you are correct. I try to limit my reading to blogs that link to the facts or facts that can be checked. But I know what you mean. By the way what is the Drudge headline today? Oh, and I hope you’ve recovered from that beating…

  10. #10 KeithB
    August 16, 2005

    Just the other day on Al Franken, he was pretty quick to repudiate NARAL’s John Robert’s ad.

    As a fig leaf he clearly states that he is a *comedian* doing a comedy show so don’t go there looking for the truth.

  11. #11 raj
    August 16, 2005

    Facts can be checked fairly quickly without leaving your home

    I know what you are referring to, but I do have to tell you that the “facts” available over the internet are often preposterous.

    Just because a “fact” is posted on the Internet doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with reality,