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Reality Check: Huffington Post on Academic Freedom in Indiana

The Associated Press recently reported on the potential passage of academic freedom legislation in Indiana in 2013, or what lead proponent Senator Dennis Kruse calls a "Truth in Education" law. AP reporter Tom LoBianco quotes Senator Kruse; Joshua Youngkin, Center for Science & Culture program officer in public policy and legal affairs; and Ken Falk of the ACLU.

As the AP accurately reported, the academic freedom policy being discussed seeks to cast into law the idea that teachers should fear no reprisal when they objectively teach both sides of those legitimate scientific controversies that arise during the course of normal instruction. Creationism, on the other hand, is roughly the idea that science shows God made the world and all in it as written in the Book of Genesis. In case it is not clear, the academic freedom policy in question here would not protect teaching creationism.

Although the ACLU's Ken Falk pointed out that teaching creationism is illegal in public schools, he wisely reserved judgment on Kruse's bill pending actual disclosure of the bill's language.

Now, in response to the AP report, the Huffington Post slips decisively loose of reality.

The HuffPo article by John Celock refers to another story by Indiana Public Media in which "Kruse says he will not push for a creation science bill." But then HuffPo reads Kruse's ostensibly English words to somehow mean "Kruse said that his bill will allow for teachers to discuss a range of theories from evolution to creationism."

It proceeds to say that our Josh Youngkin works for an outfit called "Discovery Center," which sounds like a place you might leave your kids for some drop-off daycare.

In an article that at least tries to be about academic freedom, HuffPo manages to connect sober, pedagogically sound legislation in Tennessee and Louisiana to the Columbine massacre, the Nazi Party, and the indispensable Westboro Baptist Church. HuffPo seems one rum-and-coke away from saying academic freedom stole the Lindbergh baby.

We can't believe we are saying this, but why can't HuffPo take a lesson in responsible coverage and commentary from the Associated Press or even the ACLU?