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.RLC