ALT + CTRL + SCOPES = New York Times Bias
CSC senior fellow Jay Richards used to joke that reporters covering evolution simply sit down at their keyboards and type ALT + CTRL + SCOPES, and out pops a complete story that simply reiterates the false storyline that the primary challenge to evolution is a religious one, just as was the case during the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial in the early days of the 20th century. I laughed when he told me, because I was familiar with how often that bogus storyline was repeated by reporters, and the idea of a computer macro being used to deploy it was funny.
It's not so funny now, though. It looks like the New York Times might indeed have some sort of macro in place for all stories concerning the ongoing debate over modern evolutionary theory. The Times has defaulted to this standard line: "There is no credible scientific challenge to evolution." This current line has survived mainly intact and been selected out of a number of mutations over the last few years. It's clearly been a guided and purposeful project, so it's not really evolution at all.
Since at least 2005, this has been reported as a fact by science writers at the Times, mostly Cornelia Dean. We've reported on this several times, but this is the first time we've listed out all of the articles in which this false statement is repeated.
- September 27, 2007, Scientists Feel Miscast in Film On Life's Origin
- July 17, 2007, Islamic Creationist and a Book Sent Round the World
- June 26, 2007, Science of the Soul? 'I Think, Therefore I Am' Is Losing Force
- May 19, 2007, Evolution Opponent Is in Line for Schools Post
- October 26, 2006, Scientists Endorse Candidate Over Teaching of Evolution
- July 25, 2006, Faith, Reason, God and Other Imponderables
- April 11, 2006, Eager to Tell the Stories of Science, a Biologist Evolves
- January 19, 2006, In 'Design' vs. Darwinism, Darwin Wins Point in Rome
- July 9, 2005, Leading Cardinal Redefines Church's View on Evolution
- June 21, 2005, Opting Out In the Debate On Evolution
- February 1, 2005, Evolution Takes A Back Seat In U.S. Classes
And, to prove that the macro does come standard at the Times, this refrain also occurs in the writings of other Times reporters, as well:
- Ian Fisher, September 2, 2006, Professor-Turned-Pope Leads a Seminar on Evolution
- Glen Collins, Nov. 7, 2005, Exhibit Focuses on Darwin's Life and Ideas, Not Controversy