Pharyngula

Right Wing Watch has the press kit for Ken Ham’s creation science “museum”. It’s somewhat bizarre; they provide a collection of videos that are done exactly like broadcast news stories — making it easy for small town news stations to simply slot in creationist propaganda as if it were part of a real newscast.

Sleazy. Sleazier still if any broadcaster actually used the ghastly things.

Comments

  1. #1 sleepyinsaudi
    November 8, 2007

    “We want to make sure our science content is accurate” WTF!!!!

    I see how they leave out the part where people rode dinosaurs,(and I’m sure they kept raptors as housepets).

  2. #2 ias
    November 8, 2007

    I just threw up a little. I need to go to bed and forget I ever heard of Ken Ham.

  3. #3 Dan
    November 8, 2007

    Maybe you’ve never heard this before, but the Department of Defense and Department of Justice make movies just like that, and news organizations have been known to air them as if they were their own pieces.

    Just … y’know. In case you thought this was unusual.

  4. #4 Dale
    November 8, 2007

    Ok, ok.. Look, let me put it like this. I’m sorry about Australia providing Ken Ham to the world. As a solution, I’ll let you vicariously enjoy me voting for the Secular Party at the upcoming Australian elections, if you agree to forgive and forget (well, at least forgive).

  5. #5 Scott
    November 8, 2007

    Whats with the tidal wave there? I thought it was some wicked long rainstorm that caused the flood. Not only that, they showed the flood happening on some round planet. Come on, everyone knows the world was flat back then. Despite those minor inaccuracies, that was some fantastic filmmaking. I sure hope they thought to show how that flood created the Grand Canyon. They would be missing out on a sweet visual by passing that one up.

  6. #6 Ted D
    November 8, 2007

    Huh. I knew there had to be a reason that I’d more or less stopped watching the news on TV. Now I just listen to what the fairies tell me. They’re more reliable.

  7. #7 Elf Eye
    November 8, 2007

    It’s not just the TV news. If you compare press releases against newspaper stories, you’ll sometimes (often?) find that the newspaper ‘stories’ ARE the press releases.

  8. #8 hermit
    November 8, 2007

    A real news story would have identified that “PhD consultant”, who according to the “report” was only one of many. I guess I don’t blame her for not wanting to take credit for this “work.”

  9. #9 Dan
    November 8, 2007

    I think we can safely conclude that, unless proven otherwise, all news is actually propaganda. Not that this wasn’t … already transparent.

  10. #10 tebo
    November 8, 2007

    Oh my!! What a bunch of B.S.!!!!

  11. #11 tceisele
    November 8, 2007

    Actually, I think that little “science” video might have exactly the opposite effect of what Ham was hoping for. Especially the scene of the two kids playing what looks like Mancala (obviously, deeply evil individuals who must be destroyed), just before they are CRUSHED BY A WORLD-GIRDLING TSUNAMI! Ha ha ha! Good old YHWH, what a kidder!

    I mean, if they had shown a bunch of depraved people murdering, stealing, and committing unspeakable acts just before being crushed and drowned I could maybe see the point, but a couple of kids playing a game?!? That just demonstrates God being, well, evil.

  12. #12 OT
    November 8, 2007

    OT: Go vote for the best science blog – CA is getting hundreds by the hour, somehow…
    http://2007.weblogawards.org/polls/best-science-blog-1.php

  13. #13 Watt de Fawke
    November 8, 2007

    The makers of the deluge video seem unaware of the rain story — 40 days and 40 nights, and then, after the rain stopped, the waters rose. I guess they skipped too many Sunday school classes.

    I’m a bit puzzled by the spray flying out of the atmosphere without freezing, and the giant wave moving at supersonic speed without creating a shock wave. Maybe they skipped some science classes as well.

  14. #14 Akitagod
    November 8, 2007

    Dan and Elf Eye are both right. The amount of planted articles and stories that are presented to the public is much higher than you might think. While it is extremely convenient for smaller markets to simply drop pieces like this in their news, larger markets are just as likely to run these. They just re-track the audio, and occasionally alter the script. One good example is the franchise of parenting tip stories produced by Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Odds that you’ve seen one of these is remarkably high.

  15. #15 Ken Shabby
    November 8, 2007

    They’re professional liars only if they get paid for this. If they did it for free, just for the love of lying, then they’re amateurs.

  16. #16 writerdd
    November 8, 2007

    The government sends canned news to the stations, so why shouldn’t Ken Ham?

  17. #17 MartinM
    November 8, 2007

    Actually, I think that little “science” video might have exactly the opposite effect of what Ham was hoping for.

    AiG seem remarkably tone-deaf at times. I mean, if you’ve been claiming for years that T-Rex was a vegetarian which used its enormous, sharp teeth to crack open coconuts, you’d think the very last thing you’d want to do would be to invite lots of people to come and see your shiny, new life-sized replica of aforementioned beast, with aforementioned enormous, sharp teeth on full display.

    But then, that would involve thought, which is not exactly their strong point.

  18. #18 Ebonmuse
    November 8, 2007

    Clearly, AiG has learned their lesson well from Karl Rove’s preferred brand of politics. If past experience is any guide, their next move will be paying conservative columnists to write positive stories about them.

  19. #19 HP
    November 8, 2007

    Every time I hear that T Rex/coconut story, I can’t help but imagine an enraged and humiliated tyrannosaur with half a dozen coconuts uselessly impaled on his teeth, roaring and shaking his head back and forth trying to loosen them, and grasping in vain with his puny arms.

  20. #20 Alex
    November 8, 2007

    This is disgusting. However, any news station that airs this tripe certainly disproves the myth of the Jesus-hating liberal media, no?

    These phony reports are nothing new. As #2 said, the DoD does this all the time. Private corporations are doing it, too. There’s one I saw recently from a pharmaceutical company blatantly advertising some sort of sleeping pill. I can’t find the link now, unfortunately. But there was all kinds of great, dubious “cures for everything those fat cats don’t want you to know” junk science in it.

  21. #21 Dan the Other
    November 8, 2007

    I like that bit about how they brought in “many doctors” to preserve the “scientific accuracy” of the freakshow exhibits.

    You know, like a PhD. in Engineering checking up on the accuracy of their Geology display?

    Of course, always remember that when you hear the buzz-words “Family Friendly” for something as innocuous as a museum, all sorts of red flags should go up about the impartiality of the “news report.”

  22. #22 Warren
    November 8, 2007

    they provide a collection of videos that are done exactly like broadcast news stories

    As others have noted this is a common practice. Video News Releases (VNRs) have been a staple of the newsaganda industry since at least the 1980s (when I was tasked with assembling one for some godawful product, not too long after which I quit the job).

    They’re slightly less obviously promotional than your standard infomercial, but only slightly. They tend to get run on a slow news day, often as “community interest” pieces.

    Pieces of what, I leave it to the reader to judge.

  23. #23 Danley
    November 8, 2007

    Ken Ham does look like an Amish serial killer. I like the video of the flood with the earth being split into. Mr. Ham must have gathered his best PhD think-tank for that one.

  24. #24 Kristine
    November 8, 2007

    The Creation Museum is profiled in the latest issue of Museum News (requires login). Kebin Padian is quoted, along with Glenn Storrs, a professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati, and Gene Kritsky, professor of biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph.

    It’s a straightforward, rather neutral article aiming for a “fair treatment” (although to the audience of Museum News the Creation Museum will be an utter joke) with a few hints of sarcasm (such as the description of the Garden of Eden exhibit, followed by the words, “Well, you knew it couldn’t last,” and the “Fall” dioramas). Mostly, it give the creationists all the rope they need.

    I doubt that Ken Ham or his minions read Museum News or collaborate with other educational institutions outside of their carny circuit.

    The article does raise the relevant point that the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has only a vague definition of a museum as “a non-profit-making, permanent institution…open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment.”

    According to the article, “The museum profession has not formally addressed the issue of what a museum exhibits. ‘What would we do if someone built a museum syaing the Holocaust didn’t happen?’ asked Gene Kritsky, ‘that slavery was a right of the early colonists?'”

    Food for thought, being that a majority (87%) of Americans consider museums to be trustworthy. With the advent of these so-called “museums” like Ken Ham’s brainlesschild, that trust could erode significantly.

  25. #25 Alan B.
    November 8, 2007

    The makers of the deluge video seem unaware of the rain story — 40 days and 40 nights, and then, after the rain stopped, the waters rose.

    That’s because an ordinary rainstorm has trouble laying down the many miles of geological layers that the flood laid down. Of course, a tsunami keeps people from fleeing to higher ground where we now find them in the top geological layer. So, I’m not sure which story I believe, but one of them must be right.

  26. #26 noncarborundum
    November 8, 2007

    The makers of the deluge video seem unaware of the rain story — 40 days and 40 nights, and then, after the rain stopped, the waters rose

    I think you may be forgetting the “fountains of the deep” in Genesis 7:11. In fact they are mentioned before the rain:

    In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

    And I don’t see where Genesis says that the waters rose after the rain stopped.

    It’s interesting that the video doesn’t make much of the rain (given its prominent place in popular culture, which tends to forget the “fountains of the deep”), but it does show what appears to be a vast amount of water thrown high into the atmosphere by the “fountain” event, and this water would have to come down somewhere.

    I don’t think you can reasonably accuse these people of being unaware of the rain story. If there’s anything they do know, it would have to be the literal text of Genesis.

  27. #27 Chris R.
    November 8, 2007

    If some of the Bible is true, the rest of it is true? So if I’m reading Sherlock Holmes and find that it successfully portrays London in the past, that means the Sherlock Holmes actually existed? What a bunch of fucks.

  28. #28 One Eyed Jack
    November 8, 2007

    Here is one more thing to consider. How would an ark survive a supersonic, mile high tsunami? It would be shattered like a pile of twigs. Oh wait, I forgot. Goddidit.

    Science exams at cretinist universities must be a breeze:

    Q) Please explain XYZ.

    A) Goddidit.

    Basically, 4-5 pages of that.

    OEJ

  29. #29 Hank
    November 8, 2007

    So. Pre-canned “news” from someone named Ham. It’s too easy.

  30. #30 QrazyQat
    November 8, 2007

    To pile on, a lot of “news”, especially local news, is VNRs, which is the acronym for Video News Release. You can read a lot of news in print that’s from press releases too. Sometimes they’re slightly rewritten and sometimes printed verbatim. To recognise them, the usual characteristics I’ve seen are that the story will open talking about ___ with someone or some company mentioned prominently for quite a while, then slip over to a mention of someone else but always come back to the original person and/or company at the end.

    In VNRs they sometimes also have a segment which can be spliced with the local reporter asking the questions which someone else is answering, and since they’ve answered already, this means the entire interview is controlled by the people putting out the VNR.

    Don’t be fooled because it might present an alternate view (from the company’s or person’s view) in the middle. Jeremy Rifkin was an expert at getting his PR placed because he always made sure to include the names and contact info for a couple people who disagreed with him. The news media’s obsession with balance (so often done poorly if not nonsensically) means they want to get another viewpoint, and if you make it easy they’re more likely to place the story. This also means you get to pick who’s view is going up aginst yours, which means you can pick your opposition. Sweet.

  31. #31 Crazyharp81602
    November 8, 2007

    The makers of the deluge video seem unaware of the rain story — 40 days and 40 nights, and then, after the rain stopped, the waters rose

    Wrong! After 40 days and 40 nights of rain, the waters went DOWN, not up (Genesis 8:1-5).

  32. #32 Don
    November 8, 2007

    tceisele’

    ‘That just demonstrates God being, well, evil.’

    Yes, one must at least admire the moral honesty on display.

  33. #33 Dan
    November 8, 2007

    Regarding “slightly less obviously promotional than your standard infomercial, but only slightly”, I vaguely remember hearing about a couple of companies that now exist for the sole purpose of making VNRs that fit as seamlessly as possible into existing news programming on behalf of government agencies. Evidently, the more professional and natural it looks, the more comfortable TV news agencies are that it’ll flow if presented as normal news, and the more likely they are to run it. Don’t take my word for it, though, I’m very hazy on the details.

  34. #34 Wolfhound
    November 8, 2007

    Just went over to Bad Astronomy (the mighty victor!) and had a look around. Cool stuff and he’s pretty cute, too! ;)

  35. #35 DLC
    November 8, 2007

    Yes, this creationist stuff is pure Bovine Feces.
    As for the video press releases, Instead of dismissing all news as being “corporate shills”, I just take them with a grain of salt. No news source is ever perfect. But it beats discounting everything as being from “Them”. Go too far down that road and you’ll find yourself looking out your window for black helicopters.

    Oh, and Congrats to Phil Plait. He runs a good site and a good blog, and deserves a pat on the back.

  36. #36 Inoculated Mind
    November 9, 2007

    News organizations can be lazy. They will often take pharmaceutical-promoting videos and air them as news because they are sent to them ready-to-go by “interested parties.”

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