From the start, the fix was in

By JOHN D. ALTEVOGT – The Kansas City Star

My candidate for Kansas story of the year is the absolutely grotesque media coverage of the Kansas State Board of Education's new science standards. And my vote for the worst example of this coverage goes to the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer for its "Evolution Revolution" segment featuring Betty Ann Bowser.

In addition to presenting a biased and deceitful segment that perpetuates virtually every major myth that the evolutionists and their media allies have concocted with regards to the evolution debate, the evidence suggests that the segment's producers also engaged in highly questionable and unethical conduct in the course of creating the segment.

First, the show's producers misrepresented the nature of the segment to conservatives as an inducement to get them to participate. Secondly, the evidence suggests that the producers had a more than cozy relationship with local liberal activists during production of the show and that those same activists were reassured that the fix was in even before the show aired on Nov. 9.

Let us begin with their misrepresentation of the segment.

In early September, David Stephen, an associate producer with Lehrer, contacted several local conservatives, including Cindy Duckett, an influential educational conservative from the Wichita area capable of opening many doors.

At the time, Duckett said that Stephen told her "that they believe that the national coverage on this issue has not been at all good and that Lehrer wants to do something more in-depth and more balanced than what they have seen thus far." This same message was repeated to several others. That, however, was certainly not the episode that aired.

According to the NewsHour's Internet site, the working title was "An Evolution Revolution: Correspondent Betty Ann Bowser reports on a Kansas school under attack for teaching evolution." Certainly inspires a vision of balance, doesn't it?

I suspect the segment would not have disappointed any ardent Darwinist looking for red meat, while most conservatives, myself included, still struggle to say anything remotely printable about the piece or its producers.

However, the segment's bias was just the tip of the iceberg. In an e-mail to fellow Mainstream Coalition members, political consultant Rob McKnight sent the following message:

"The Mainstream Coalition worked closely with producers of this feature. The NewsHour crew was in town at the same time as the Mainstream forum, held in September on this important topic. The crew taped the meeting, interviews with Mainstream's executive director, and many local educators and commentators. (As we all know, no promises on the final edited version, but this feature deserves notice.)"

McKnight is not some rube inclined to making embarrassing boasts to close political associates, and if he felt the fix was in, the fix was undoubtedly in. The message, sent out well before the show aired, also encouraged members to tape the show and give copies to either the Mainstream office or friends. If nothing else, McKnight would have been pleased that the segment refers to coalition members as "moderate Republicans" -- an assertion that in and of itself has considerable propaganda value for his bunch.

Indeed, the segment completely bolsters McKnight's prediction. While no "Triumph of the Will" or "Inherit the Wind," the piece methodically reinforces the core Darwinist canards that "the board took evolution out of the state's mandatory science standards" (they didn't); that the view of evolution that the high priests of Darwinism hold is compatible with the notion of theistic evolution held by many lay people (it's not); and that the struggle is between science and religion (a convenient fantasy used both to censor opposition and denigrate religion).

Conservative board members Scott Hill and Linda Holloway are given short shrift and glossed over. Only in a portion where people of faith unwittingly give credence to the science vs. religion myth are non-Darwinists given lengthy voice.

Recent news reports have documented the rampant sharing of donor lists between liberal organizations and many PBS stations, but this apparent collaboration between local liberal activists and the Lehrer people documents once again the ethically challenged tactics used by the establishment media to promote their liberal agenda.

John Altevogt's column runs on alternate Wednesdays in The Kansas City Star. He can be reached via e-mail at jacolumn@toto.net.

Published: 11 February 2006