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Friday, August 21, 2009

If and when The New York Times finally tanks ... what will it mean for intelligent design?

Here's my MercatorNet column about the decline of traditional media (known to bloggers as "legacy mainstream media"). Anyone interested in the intelligent design controversy should think carefully about how the media are changing .

I don't accept the thesis that the old media declined because they were partisan. Rather they became more ridiculously partisan as they were declining.

Single-minded partisanship is - in a free society - usually an outcome of consumer choice. People can get their news from lots of sources. So if they choose your source, you can develop the story as you like.

But - by contrast - how many air traffic controllers are permitted to bug pilots with their opinions about politics and religion? How many weather forecasters would last long if they likewise bugged farmers seeking data on the tornado watch?

So the tsunami of consumer choices in media fuels partisanship - but also opportunity.

The decline of big legacy media means the decline of the Big Controlling Story. You know - four legs good, two legs bad - as George Orwell put it, immortally, in Animal Farm. The story that writes itself for the 12:00 pm deadline, and no one gives a moment's thought to possibilities like:

1. It's not as simple as that.
2. Things may have changed.
3. The old guys might be wrong.
4. We may need to add to our panel of reliable experts (and maybe drop some).

The decline of the tired old Darwin lobby sources in favour of broader ones can certainly help the intelligent design theorists get a fairer hearing.

For more, go here.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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