Sarah Palin: Creationism Update (05 Sept)

PRESS COVERAGE of Sarah Palin — John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate — continues to be utterly wretched, both in its lazy repetition of what have already become cliches, and also in its predictably partisan perspective.

As a typical example of what we’re slogging through each morning, consider this from the Philadelphia Daily News: Obama should have picked Hillary. The columnist uses the ploy of quoting others to express what we assume are her own views:

“Here’s a woman who doesn’t believe in choice, in equal pay, in the separation of church and state, who believes in creationism . . . and she’s going to appeal to Clinton supporters? How could that be true?”

After that, the columnist chaotically lapses into, then out of, and then back into her own voice — which we assume is stylishly shrill:

What infuriates me is seeing the likes of Sarah Palin reap the rewards of the feminist movement, the very tenets of which she disdains.

“I hate her,” several of my normally rational friends said yesterday morning.

It was a bad case of Post-Palin Depression.

That, gentle reader, is what we’ve been contending with as we seek to find a competent press account of the “creationist Sarah Palin” phenomenon. After reviewing several dozen news sources, we found one that seems to be moving toward a rational grasp of Palin’s actual position on creationism: In USA Today we read: Convention afterthoughts. They say:

First impressions are often lasting impressions, even if they’re incomplete. Take, for example, Sarah Palin’s view on teaching evolution and creationism in public schools.

Many news stories and editorials, including one on this page, summarized her position based on a comment she made in a 2006 debate, when she was running for governor of Alaska: “I am a proponent of teaching both.”

End of story? Not exactly.

Aha! One newspaper is willing to look a bit deeper. What do they find?

That same week, she clarified her stance, saying that creationism shouldn’t be mandated as part of the Alaska curriculum, but that there shouldn’t be any prohibition on discussing it if it comes up in class.

Palin, whose father was once a public school science teacher, got it right the second time, neatly finding the sensible middle ground in a polarizing national debate.

Not bad. They don’t point out, as we have done in earlier articles, that Palin hasn’t tried to affect the school curriculum in Alaska, even in her PTA days before she was governor and her kids were in public school. In other words, she’s what we’ve described as a libertarian creationist — she keeps her religious opinions to herself and doesn’t impose them on others.

Anyway, we’ve found one newspaper that seems to be groping toward an understanding of the McCain – Palin ticket. But only one. Would we be wildly optimistic if we dare to hope that before election day, there might be a few others?

[Our related articles are here: Sarah Palin & Creationism.]

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