FOR RELEASE MAY 27, 2004
SEATTLE, MAY 27 – National Public Radio (NPR) is being criticized for censorship after canceling at the last minute the appearance of a high school biology teacher critical of evolution, while still allowing a pro-evolution teacher to present his views.
On May 21 NPR's Science Friday program cancelled invited guest Roger Dehart just hours before airing a program discussing the teaching of evolution. DeHart is a high school biology teacher critical of evolutionary theory. Featured in the documentary "Icons of Evolution," DeHart received national attention in 2001 because his school district in Burlington, Washington forbade him from presenting scientific evidence critical of Darwinian theory. DeHart was originally slated to appear along with a Texas teacher who opposes the critical examination of Darwinian theory in the classroom. As of Wednesday, May 26 the NPR.org website still listed Roger DeHart as having been a participant in the program. In fact, at the last minute he was asked not to participate, but the Texas teacher was still allowed on the air to promote his views.
"I wish I'd been allowed to present my side of the story," said DeHart. "The teacher they had on made false claims such as Discovery Institute wanting to weaken the teaching of evolution. Nothing could be further from the truth, but NPR listeners will never know that because NPR only presented the one side."
According to DeHart, the producer who pre-interviewed him for the show said she was an "atheist" and insisted that scientists who are critical of evolutionary theory such as biochemist Michael Behe are merely promoting religion.
"The censorship of DeHart is just another incident in a long list of biased reporting by NPR in what seems to be a campaign of misinformation about criticism of Darwinian evolution," said Dr. John West, associate director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. "NPR has a history of presenting only one side of the issue, or misrepresenting critics of Darwin when their point of view is included."
Discovery Institute has documented at least five recent reports on NPR about the teaching of evolution that are inaccurate, misinform listeners on the key issues in the story, and misrepresent the Institute's position on these issues. To date, NPR has responded to only one complaint raised by the Institute.
Contact: Rob Crowther