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Wednesday, April 2, 2008
CNS' One-Sided Attack on Critics of Anti-Evolution Film

An April 2 article by Kevin Mooney and Josiah Ryan is an attack on noted evolutionists Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers because of their criticism of the new anti-evolution film "Expelled."

Note the slanted language: Mooney and Ryan state that Dawkins and Myers "have managed to infiltrate private screenings" of the film and that Myers "managed to intrude upon a telephone press conference call the next day that included Ben Stein, the film's narrator, and the film's producers." Indeed, the article is told from the point of associate producer Mark Mathis; there's no evidence Mooney and Ryan made any attempt to contact Dawkins and Myers to get their side of the story.

Thus, the reporters give Mathis a forum to spin away criticism of his heavy-handedness in refusing to allow critics into pre-release screenings -- they uncritically repeat Mathis' unsupported claim that "for months Myers has been disseminating information through his blog about the film that is not accurate -- claims by Dawkins and Myers that, as Mooney and Myers write, "the film is edited and crafted in a duplicitous and misleading manner that misrepresents their views" and that the film's central thesis that pro-creationist viewpoints are being squelched conflicts with their refusal to allow critics to see the film.

Not only did Mooney and Ryan not bother to talk with Dawkins or Myers, they didn't even go the lazy route of pulling their version of events regarding the screening off their respective websites.

The reporters also serve up detailed conversation from the aforementioned "telephone press conference call" without explaining where they got it. Were they on the call too? Did Mathis give them a transcript? Of course, unmentioned by Mooney and Ryan is that Myers has told his side of the story for this as well, in which he points out that the "press conference call" was "carefully controlled" and questions were taken only by email, which arguably makes it not a "press conference" at all.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:32 PM EDT

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