Friday, April 23, 2010

Why Isn't the Media Interested?

David Klinghoffer wonders, with more than a little justification, why the major media is so uninterested in the David Coppedge story we wrote about a couple days ago here. After summarizing the tale of blatant religious discrimination against Coppedge, Klinghoffer writes:

[H]ere we have government and government-contracted agencies, NASA and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), denying constitutional rights to a citizen, punishing and humiliating him for exercising his right to free speech. Yet the story as of yet has merited no significant attention from any prominent local or national news source. Why not? Well, obviously because this isn't a story that fits the larger narrative as favored in prestige circles like those of the media. In that favored narrative, it's always Darwinists, never Darwin doubters, who fall afoul of censors, persecuted by powerful forces in academia arrayed against orthodox evolutionary theory. Yeah, you know those powerful forces. They're over there, in a shoebox under the bed.

Fictionalized to begin with, this story was first told fifty years ago in Inherit the Wind. In the social demographic that champions it, it hasn't been looked at critically since. Thus, as readers of ENV know well, you can have a string of genuine and grievous cases of discrimination and suppression directed at Darwin doubters in research and teaching positions -- Sternberg, Gonzalez, Crocker, Marks, Minnich, Dembski, now Coppedge, along with other suppressed scientists yet to be named and still others too worried about reprisals to let themselves be identified -- and this entirely escapes liberal media attention. It's like a dog whistle. The favored narrative sets an audible frequency range beyond which, blast away as long and as "loud" as you like, a dog's owner simply can't hear anything even as the dog himself comes running.

On the other hand, if a story can be squeezed, molded, and manipulated so that an editor or news gatherer is reminded of the Scopes trial as depicted in Inherit the Wind, then yes -- that does merit attention. Thus when Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke resigned from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, after the BioLogos Foundation trumpeted a video interview with him on "Why the Church Must Accept Evolution," that won Professor Waltke a phone call from Diane Sawyer with ABC News. Waltke had not been forced out for endorsing evolution -- he had not been forced out at all -- and indeed he hit the ground running (at age 79) with a teaching offer from another seminary. But there was an imagined scent of Scopes about the matter and so, despite the fact you can be sure no one on Diane Sawyer's producing staff previously had any clue who Bruce Waltke or the Reformed Theological Seminary is, it merited attention from ABC World News. (To his credit, Waltke declined to be interviewed by Sawyer and sought to clarify his views on Darwinism.)

The media, of course, are just being what they are. To borrow Klinghoffer's metaphor they're simply deaf to the dog whistle of discrimination coming from the Darwinian left. They hold stereotypical views about who intelligent design advocates are and what they believe, and they lack the wit or motivation to question their own stereotypes.

Exit exercise: Raise your hand if you think Coppedge would have been demoted by the JPL had he been a Muslim (See below). Me neither.


Selective Courage

The bold, brash, intrepid souls at Comedy Central frequently, I'm told, exhibit their fearlessness for all to see by mocking Christianity on shows like South Park. Of course, it takes no courage at all to mock Christianity because there's no price to pay for it. Christians don't issue fatwas. They don't threaten murder. They simply pray for those who go out of their way to offend them.

So to get an accurate gauge on CC's courage we need to look at what they do when faced with genuinely dangerous people, like, say, angry Muslims. Well, it seems the steel spines at Comedy Central suddenly turn to wet pasta when members of the religion of peace give them the evil eye.

It's still okay, apparently, to satirize Jews, Christians, tea-partiers, and anyone else who'll turn the other cheek, but the cringing execs at Comedy Central would not dream of being so insensitive as to offend the religious sensibilities of our Islamic brethren whose religion must by all means be treated with utmost respect.

Hot Air reports:

Comedy Central bleeped out all references to the Prophet Muhammad in Wednesday night's episode of the animated show "South Park."

In addition to bleeping the words "Prophet Muhammad," the show also covered the character with a large block labeled "Censored."

Abu Talhah al Amrikee, the author of the post [on the Muslim website threatening the creators of the show], told he wrote the entry to "raise awareness." He said the grisly photograph of [Theo] van Gogh [a Dutch filmmaker who spoke out against Islam and wound up being murdered by a Muslim] was meant to "explain the severity" of what Parker and Stone [South Park's creators] did by mocking Muhammad.

"It's not a threat, but it really is a likely outcome," al Amrikee said, referring to the possibility that Parker and Stone could be murdered for mocking Muhammad. "They're going to be basically on a list in the back of the minds of a large number of Muslims. It's just the reality."

What a bunch of poltroons those Comedy Central folks are - brave, courageous, and bold against gentle Protestants and Catholics and quivering blobs of jelly in the face of murderous Muslims. If they lack the guts to mock Islam then they should have the decency not to mock any other faith.

By the way, those of a certain age will recall a time when it seemed like every other day liberals in this country were self-righteously proclaiming their willingness to fight to the death for the right of people to say things with which the liberals themselves disagreed. They apparently never thought, however, they might be called upon to actually do that. It's certainly rare to hear a liberal declare such devotion to the principle of free speech today. Perhaps it's because, like good dhimmis, they're too focused on groveling before their Muslim masters.