Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

Evolution News and Views

Celeste Biever, Secret Agent? New Scientist Reporter Caught Impersonating a Cornell Student to Get Story on ID

Celeste Biever, a reporter for the viscerally anti-ID New Scientist magazine, seems to have been caught trying to impersonate a Cornell University student in order to ingratiate herself with pro-ID students there. The fascinating story is recounted here on the blog of Cornell's IDEA Club. Evolutionist Allen MacNeill, who teaches biology at Cornell, calls Biever's tactic "Pretty sleazy."

Biever and her editors apparently don't subscribe to the Code of Ethics issued by the Society of Professional Journalists, which clearly states:

Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

The New York Times imposes an even stricter standard on its employees:

Staff members should disclose their identity to people they cover (whether face to face or otherwise), though they need not always announce their status as journalists when seeking information normally available to the public. Staff members may not pose as police officers, lawyers, business people or anyone else when they are working as journalists. (emphasis added)

Since the students in question were happy to talk with reporters, there seems to be no justification for Ms. Biever's impersonation.