KNME Reveals Double Standard
January 16, 2005
In school districts across the country, Darwinists are waging a fierce campaign to protect students from learning about the scientific weaknesses of their theory. Now it appears they may also have convinced PBS affiliate KNME in Albuquerque, New Mexico to protect its viewers from this dangerous information.
At the last minute, KNME cancelled “Unlocking the Mystery of Life,” a science documentary skeptical of Darwin’s theory of evolution. But marketing manager Joan Rebecchi denies that the station feared offending the powerful pro-Darwin lobby.
Was it the show’s quality that got it scrapped? No. The station had approved it, scheduled it, and even planned to run ads with the KNME logo prominently featured. Even after the cancellation, program director Chad Davis reportedly described the documentary as “excellent.” Indeed, it had already aired in several top 20 markets and, at one time, was one of four featured science videos on the PBS Home Video website.
The film gives voice to intelligent design, a controversial theory supported by scientists,researchers and theorists at universities and research institutes around the world.
Along the way, it tells the story of biophysicist Dean Kenyon. He coauthored Biochemical Predestination, a leading monograph in the 1960s about how life could have emerged by purely natural processes. But as Kenyon explains in the documentary, he later determined that the cell’s complex circuits, miniature machines and digital code are better explained as the result of an intelligent cause, not an undirected natural process.
KNME agreed it was a story worth airing, but they say they pulled it because some of the foundations that funded the documentary had (you may want to sit down here) . . . an agenda. Imagine that—foundations with agendas! Worse, at least one of the foundations is explicitly, even unapologetically, Christian—the founder of Quaker Oats, no less.
The filmmakers reassured the station that the funders had no input into the documentary’s content. But, as station marketing manager Joan Rebecchi explained, “We must guard against the public perception that editorial control might have been exercised by the program funders” (emphasis added).
This isn’t a high standard; it’s an absurd and impossible standard. Bracket off the fact that the film never mentions Christianity or God, and that it has been praised by people from a variety of religious and philosophical backgrounds. Bracket off all of the corporate funding for PBS documentaries, as well as the many educational programs funded by the leftwing and highly political National Education Association. Consider just a handful of examples involving private foundations.
“Witness to Hope,” about the life of Pope John Paul II, was aired by close to 90% of PBS affiliates. What disinterested groups funded it? A number of explicitly Catholic foundations.
Then there’s the politically charged documentaries funded by ultra-liberal George Soros, which have appeared on PBS affiliates around the country. And in December, KNME aired “The Question of God,” a documentary funded in part by the Butt Foundation, whose stated vision is “to see God glorified and the nations come to faith ... to equip believers in Jesus Christ.”
Another contributor, The Templeton Foundation, seeks “the discovery of new spiritual information by furthering high-quality scientific research” and has a track record of interest in evidence for purpose in the universe. They’ve funded countless PBS projects.
Indeed, no PBS affiliate consistently follows the smell test laid out by KNME. If only programs with "objective" funding sources were allowed, what would PBS have left to air—cooking shows?
Finally, consider the 1967 Carnegie Commission Report on Public Television. It enumerated goals for public television and guided Congressional legislation behind the creation of PBS. Nowhere does it call for a hyper-fastidious obsession with the myth of funding objectivity.
Instead, it stated that public television should “help us see America whole, in all its diversity,” “remind us of our heritage,” serve "as a forum for controversy and debate," and "provide a voice for groups that may otherwise be unheard.”
Over the years PBS has provided a constant stream of propaganda for the Darwinian view that life is the result of undirected natural processes. Virtually every nature and science documentary either overtly or subtly advocates for the idea that there is no scientific evidence for intelligent design.
Now a quality science documentary arrives to respectfully question that view. KNME’s decision to cancel it? Now there’s something that doesn’t pass the smell test.
Jonathan Witt has a Ph.D. in Literary Studies and is a senior fellow and writer in residence with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture
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