Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bad Reporting

Some days you've got to wonder how much thought really goes into reporting. As evidence, I humbly sumbit the following Seattle Times article. It's in reference to an individual working at the State Department who is resigning to go teach at George Washington University.

Which is all fine and well.

What is not fine and well is all the extra stuff they tacked onto this article which I assume must have come from a press release. There are two fundamentally misreported facts here.
Miller, a Republican, represented the Seattle area in Congress from 1985 to 1993, serving on the House International Relations Committee.
Which makes you think, wow, a Republican representative from Seattle!? He must be pretty moderate to have been elected to the 7th. Ah, but a little research shows he was in the 1st... which was a socially conservative district until about a decade ago when they started electing Democrats. Hmmm... a decade ago... like, 1993? Strikes me that describing the 1st as the "Seattle area" is somewhat disengenous.

Then we have the truly unforgivable mistake. First, let's take a look at language from a nearly identical Seattle PI article.
He later chaired the Discovery Institute before joining the State Department in late 2002.
Which is a fine statement about his involvement in the ultra-conservative thinktank going around the country pushing "intelligent-design." But, now let's take a look at the Times' version.
He later chaired the Discovery Institute, a nonpartisan public-policy think tank conducting research on technology, science and culture, economics and foreign affairs, before joining the State Department in late 2002.
I took the liberty of emphasizing the new words in case they didn't leap off the page and slap you across the face.

Like I said above, the Discovery Institute is hardly just a nonpartisan public-policy think tank. It is the christian conservative thinktank in this country leading the charge on topics like intelligent design. I don't know why this press release, err, newspaper article, is trying to make this guy look like a moderate... but his public track record suggests anything but.

1 comment:

Sam said...

You forgot to mention that Miller is rejoining the Discovery Institute as a research fellow. I'm really intrigued by the number of people active in the Discovery Institute who were once elected officials in Washington State. Founder Chapman was Washington's Secretary of State. Slade Gordon was a Senator, and Attorney General.