Discovery Institute Complains of a Media Blackout

We recently wrote about Casey Luskins’s claim that The Discovery Institute “Forgot” About Kitzmas. In that post we said:

Hey Casey, look at this history of Google searches on intelligent design: Google trends. We suspect that most of the few searches these days are by bloggers like your humble Curmudgeon. It’s not the Kitzmiller case that’s been forgotten, it’s your “theory.”

For your holiday amusement, we’re delighted to report that the Discoveroids’ are still posting strange articles. Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, has written a great piece (for our purposes) at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

Casey’s article is Circumventing the Post-Dover Media Blackout. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us, and his links omitted. Casey says:

Just before the 2005 Dover case started, the flagship media-insiders journal Columbia Journalism Review, published an article suggesting that the pro-ID viewpoint should not be fairly represented in the news media. The mainstream has dutifully followed those directives.

Hey, Casey — it’s possible that the media aren’t following any directives. They may be merely using their own notions about what’s newsworthy. We’ve noticed that besides a huge decline in the number of news articles about intelligent design, there’s also been a decline in the publication of creationists’ letters-to-the-editor. We don’t see many articles advocating flat earth or moon landing denial either. Could it all be part of the same blackout conspiracy? Let’s read on:

While the mainstream media often censor or distort the pro-intelligent design viewpoint, interest in ID is certainly not waning. Rather, ID proponents have found new ways to successfully advance their message.

We don’t know how “successful” the Discoveroids have been in advancing their war on science, but we’ve noticed that they’re relying on paid press releases to promote their litigation campaign against “viewpoint discrimination,” which has succeeded in extracting a few nuisance settlements; but no legal precedents have emerged from such efforts.

Casey then mentions that the Discoveroids have recently promoted a few creationist-oriented “documentaries,” and he also says:

The ID the Future podcast has some 500,000 downloads per year, and ID blogs such as Evolution News & Views and Uncommon Descent collectively log well over a million visitors a year.

“Collectively”? Big deal. Ken Ham’s operation does better. Even the Curmudgeon’s humble blog, which we don’t promote at all, has had well over a million page-views. Here’s more:

Since Kitzmiller v. Dover, the ID movement has also published a myriad of books expanding the argument for ID and making a significant impact in science and the culture.

Yeah, “significant impact.” Casey then lists some books and articles that Discoveroids and their friends have written, and he concludes with this:

In 2012, Discovery Institute will release the first strictly scientific introductory ID curriculum for private and home school use: Discovering Intelligent Design. More about that in due time.

Ooooooh! Yet another book about nothing, to fill the niche for which Of Pandas and People was intended. We can hardly wait.

Meanwhile, we have some advice for Casey: Except for fanatical advocacy groups that all seem to have “Family” in their names, and the idiot politicians who pander to them, you guys don’t have too many friends. If you ever hope to get favorable media attention, it’s not helping your cause — hopeless as it is — to criticize the media. It’s rather like your long series of articles criticizing Judge Jones. The word gets around, Casey.

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10 responses to “Discovery Institute Complains of a Media Blackout

  1. Yes it must be a media, and Darwinist conspiracy, Nothing to do with the fact that the DI has had nothing new to say since Dover, and have been just rewording their arguments to try to make them sound new ever since.

  2. Sometimes I think Casey actually believes that the books and movies he mentions – all written by the handful of true believers – are making a difference. We know he occasionally gets out in the real world, as evidenced by his shock at a children’s book describing evolution at the CSC recently. But he writes as though he lives cloistered in the DI’s alternate universe, where he talks all day with other like minded believers, and they collectively fantasize that they are making a difference. He is in the Monkey House, and no longer smells the stench.

    People who have heard of ID and actually support it, do so largely without any knowledge of what it is except that it is supposedly evidence for God’s creation. They do not support ID based on the arguments set out in books or on the DI’s blog – they support ID solely on religious grounds, and are not interested in learning anything more about it. It’s enough that it supports creation. End of story.

    The DI’s books find an audience with the few true believers that want to have the latest writing, and a few critics who want to blog about what idiots they are. None of the books are changing any minds anywhere.

    That’s why ID is not mentioned in mainstream media, outside of coverage of school board disputes and the like, and the occasional religious editorial.

  3. “…the flagship media-insiders journal Columbia Journalism Review, published an article suggesting that the pro-ID viewpoint should not be fairly represented in the news media. ”
    What exactly is Casey complaining about in this article, you ask? (I did) Near as I can tell, it’s this:
    “…a clear pattern emerges when evolution is an issue: from reporting on newly discovered fossil records of feathered dinosaurs and three-foot humanoids to the latest ideas of theorists such as Richard Dawkins, science writers generally characterize evolution in terms that accurately reflect its firm acceptance in the scientific community. Political reporters, generalists, and TV news reporters and anchors, however, rarely provide their audiences with any real context about basic evolutionary science. Worse, they often provide a springboard for anti-evolutionist criticism of that science, allotting ample quotes and sound bites to Darwin’s critics in a quest to achieve “balance.” The science is only further distorted on the opinion pages of local newspapers…
    “…The trial is likely to be a media circus. And, unfortunately, there’s ample reason to expect that the spectacle will lend an entirely undeserved p.r. boost to the carefully honed issue-framing techniques employed by today’s anti-evolutionists…
    “…Today, few take the claims of these scientific creationists very seriously. At the time, however, proponents of creation science were treated quite seriously indeed by the national media, which had parachuted in for the trial. As media scholars have noted, reporters generally “balanced” the scientific-sounding claims of the scientific creationists against the arguments of evolutionary scientists. They also noted that religion and public-affairs reporters, rather than science writers, were generally assigned to cover the trial.
    Now, history is repeating itself: intelligent-design proponents, whose movement is a descendant of the creation science movement of yore, are enjoying precisely the same kind of favorable media coverage in the run-up to another major evolution trial. This cyclical phenomenon carries with it an important lesson about the nature of political reporting when applied to scientific issues. In strategy-driven political coverage, reporters typically tout the claims of competing political camps without comment or knowledgeable analysis, leaving readers to fend for themselves.”
    The article is called “Undoing Darwin,” and it’s from Oct 2005, for god’s sake. I don’t see any “directives” there for unfair representation of ID. If anything, the article suggests that the media has bent over backwards to accommodate a baseless “science.”

  4. Ceteris Paribus

    The DI’s problem is that Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’ does sometimes work; there just isn’t a big market for the creationist fake science wares that the DI is peddling. At Amazon the DI’s fake science book “Of Pandas and People” has an Amazon seller ranking of about 1.9 million. Contrast that with David Barton’s fake history books that are popular among the home schooling folks. Three of his books have Amazon rankings in the 6 to 9 thousand range. Translating those rankings into actual numbers of books sold is reported to be difficult, but at those rankings, each of Barton’s 3 books is outselling Panda by a ratio of around 1000 to 1.

    The sad truth is that theocrats are probably right now raising what will be the majority of the next generation of voters. Fake history will continue to outsell fake science books by a wide margin. Eventually the theocrats will have enough political power to simply drop both real and fake sciences as fields of study. And the DI is ironically contributing to its own demise.

  5. The echo chamber writes:

    In 2012, Discovery Institute will release the first strictly scientific introductory ID curriculum for private and home school use: Discovering Intelligent Design. More about that in due time.

    Read that “Christian” private school and home school.

    Right. That’s where ID has sunk so far. Religious tracts and home school. Hey, maybe the Disco Tute could build a Watchtower and get into the Sunday morning door-to-door business.

  6. Casey wrote

    … the ID movement has also published a myriad of books expanding the argument for ID and making a significant impact in science and the culture.

    In science? Where? Where? Casey really does have a rich fantasy life.

  7. RBH, well, you know Luskin. He’s not writing for us or the “masses,” rather, he’s writing for the Donors! That’s why there’s this end of fiscal year flurry of postings on an otherwise moribund website. Donor Time!

    I mean, what would you respond to if you asked the question, “What have you done this year?”

    Answer A: Nothing.

    Answer B: Lot’s of nothing!

    I’d always go with Answer B because lots is better than not lots.

  8. Media Blackout on my Theory of Relatives!!!

    You see, Einstein had his Theory of Relativity, but his Theory is incomplete.

    He understood that time was not a constant, but it took my amazing insight to discover the True Nature of time. And the Mainstream Press is ignoring my breakthrough! It’s a Darwinist/Materialist Conspiracy!

    Durning a recent Christmas Season, I discovered that time was indeed elastic. but unlike Einstein, I discovered the real reason. Einstein, that darling of the mainstream Darwinist media, had his Theory of Relativity. But I have a more comprehensive Theory, which is being covered up and censored by the media!

    It’s called the Theory of Relatives.

    When your days are spent cooped up with relatives, time slows almost to a complete halt.

    I feel Casey’s pain.

  9. Curmudgeon: “Ooooooh! Yet another book about nothing, to fill the niche for which Of Pandas and People was intended.”

    Actually not. Note that they say for “private and home school use.” Their scam for public school, where OPAP was originally intended, will not mention that ID or creationism ever existed. Rather it will replace much of the coverage of evolution, thus potentially some real critical analysis, with a phony “critical analysis” designed exclusively to promote unreasonable doubt. “DID” will probably include all that, plus some ID language that the DI learned the hard way is too risky for public schools. I predict that DID will not contain a critical analysis – real or phony – of ID or the failed, mutually contradictory creationist “theories.”

  10. I used Google Trends to compare searches of “theory of evolution” and “darwinism” against “discovery institute”. Dr. West is right: Disco-Tute is being ignored and fading away fast. It receives about half the hits as it did in 2006 (half-life 5 years) while evolution related terms are holding their own. Ngram viewer on the other hand shows that West´s Discovery Institute has been increasingly mentioned in recent books and magazine articles digitalized by Google. However, most of the citations are derrogatory comments on DI’s theological anti-science agenda and the Kitzmiller fiasco. Bye-bye Disco-Tute!?