How can all the science media outlets launch simultaneous reports about evolutionary claims within minutes? It’s how science reporting is done these days.
Science reporters are in cahoots with evolutionists. Certain “discoveries” about fossils or whatever can be “embargoed” against public release, while “insiders” get the scoop and prepare their media stories. As soon as the embargo is lifted, out come the stories, ready to sway the public before “outsiders” even had a chance to look at the raw data. Is this any way to do science?
It happened today with a double punch. Science Magazine published two evolutionary whoppers: (1) the first common ancestor of mammals has been found, and (2) new dating of the Chixculub crater proves a meteor killed the dinosaurs. Analysis of those claims can be taken up separately later, but notice how these over-hyped, confident-sounding headlines, complete with graphics and artwork, appeared instantly all over the media as soon as Science posted its February 8 issue:
- BBC News: “Earliest placental mammal ancestor pinpointed.”
- Science Daily: “New Evidence Suggests Comet or Asteroid Impact Was Last Straw for Dinosaurs.”
- Science Daily: “Largest-Ever Study of Mammalian Ancestry Completed”
- Science Daily: “Most Comprehensive Tree of Life Shows Placental Mammal Diversity Exploded After Age of Dinosaurs.”
- PhysOrg: “Most precise dates yet suggest comet or asteroid impact was last straw for dinosaurs.”
- Live Science: “Meet Your Mama: First Ancestor of All Placental Mammals Revealed”
- Live Science: “Asteroid Impact That Killed the Dinosaurs: New Evidence.”
- New Scientist: “Meet Our Earliest Common Mammalian Ancestor.”
These are just samples. Usually, the rest of the major newspapers and media outlets pick up on the stories from these and a few other sources, and reproduce them verbatim except for slight changes to headlines, subtitles and artwork. Only later, commentators take the material and add their opinions, without the advantage of surprise attack.
The media spin machine works like this: university media departments prepare press releases along with the scientific papers authored or co-authored by their own researchers. Naturally, they have a vested interest in making their researchers and professors look good, to reflect well on the university. These press releases are embargoed till the paper is published (sometimes a little before), but are visible to science reporters until the agreed on date for public release. Amalgamation services like EurekAlert (an arm of the AAAS) gather the press releases from multiple universities and labs; their links become feeds for inside reporters. EurekAlert explains the Embargo Policy:
When applied to published material, an embargo is a prohibition against publicizing information before a certain date. By placing an embargo on the dissemination of research that is scheduled to be published, EurekAlert! can release information early, giving journalists the time necessary to write accurate and well-researched articles on a given topic. By respecting the embargo, journalists assure themselves of continued access to information in advance of publication.
Material is posted by registered public information officers (PIOs) from institutions, universities and peer-reviewed journals, and is subject to the specific embargo times, dates and policies set by the PIOs and/or EurekAlert!. Journalists with approved access to this directory are bound to honor all the embargo restrictions. Material that has passed its embargo date and time is considered public information and is released to the public homepage for viewing.
Packaging services with “approved access” like PhysOrg and Science Daily process these feeds, adding subtitles and additional artwork not provided by the original press release, but otherwise reproducing the press releases without alteration. This gives “insider” reporters like Charles Choi at Live Science and Jason Palmer at the BBC additional time to add material and write up the stories in their own words (usually without skeptical criticism). For instance, Live Science was already prepared with a slide show called “Mammals Through Time” and a Live Science Contest called “What Would You Name First Mammal Ancestor?” that appeared simultaneously with Science Magazine’s publications.
As a result, the public is inundated with media campaigns like this one before anyone has the chance to analyze the raw evidence. Since most academic institutions and the AAAS that runs EurekAlert are strongly pro-Darwinian, as are most of the secular science reporters, the pro-Darwin forces can blitz the world, gaining a strategic advantage over skeptics.
Now you see how it’s done. With all due respect for researchers who need to guard their intellectual property, this system stinks. This is manipulation, not science reporting. In a perfect world, all writers—not just those in one ideological party—would have equal access to the data. There would be an open debate and discussion about the evidence before one ideology gets the advantage. “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question,” Charlie said. Instead, Darwin Party operatives can blitz the territory with bold headlines from biased writers (university press offices) before critical thinkers have their say. Those critical thinkers, including but not limited to creationists or intelligent design advocates, are left trying to clean up the mess, usually not getting anywhere near the coverage. It’s all rigged.
How can this unfair system be fixed? It won’t be easy. An army of articulate, well-educated commentators can complain to the organizations, write comments to the stories, and blog about the situation. Most likely complaints will fall on deaf ears due to the power of these institutions. Do you think for a minute that the AAAS would grant “approved media” status to ICR or the Discovery Institute? The system puts Darwin skeptics in reactive mode, trying to undo the damage of the media blitz.
The growth of open-access journals with internet peer review and public comment will help. In the meantime, though, readers like you need to understand how the Darwin machine works. This is not about science; it’s about manipulation, and it began in Darwin’s own day. If you read Janet Browne’s excellent biography of Charlie (Charles Darwin: the Power of Place) you learn how he got the power of place. His aggressive X-men founded the journal Nature expressly for the purpose of promoting the new materialistic, secularist philosophy “as science.” Nature and other new journals, by mixing legitimate science reporting with Darwinism in a new and refreshing way, using clever writing, made Darwinism sound like a hot new trend. The propaganda soon overpowered traditional methods of disseminating real scientific discovery, as Browne says:
Nevertheless, it was to Darwin’s friends that the first wave of positive responses must be attributed. For it was obvious that Darwin’s theories were as useful to them as they were to his theories. Over the following decades, Darwin’s defenders came to occupy influential niches in British and American intellectual life. Together, these men would also control the scientific media of the day, especially the important journals… Darwin’s opponents failed to achieve anything like the same command of the media or penetration of significant institutions. (p. 129)
Charlie’s little Victorian myth was not so much a scientific revolution as a media coup, and his critics are still struggling to gain back some equal power of place. One can only hope that the power of evidence will have the last word.