Austin American Statesman Corrects Misleading Report about Discovery Institute


Austin American Statesman Corrects Misleading Report about Discovery Institute

Seattle, July 23, 2003 — The Austin American-Statesman has corrected a misleading report that falsely implied a connection between Discovery Institute and a group it says promotes “Christian theocracy.”

In a statement published July 19 the newspaper corrected a report that first appeared in a July 8 front-page story examining criticisms of how evolution is covered in Texas biology textbooks. The story reprinted a second-hand report that someone who donated money to Discovery Institute had once been involved with the Chalcedon Foundation, which the Statesman said advocates “Christian theocracy.”

“The clear insinuation was that Discovery Institute is somehow linked to the Chalcedon Foundation, and that Discovery supports theocracy, which is preposterous,” said Bruce Chapman, Discovery Institute’s president. “Not only have we never had any relationship with this group, we have a long track record of advocating representative democracy and religious liberty.”

Chapman urged the news media to be more responsible. “Don’t let yourselves be used to promote guilt-by-association smears. This is simply a tactic used by those who want to divert public attention from the real issue, which is whether biology textbooks should include scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory.”

Chapman noted that the Statesman published its misleading report “without contacting either Discovery Institute or the donor in question for a response, which was clearly unprofessional.”

In its correction, the Statesman acknowledged that both Discovery Institute and the donor it cited actually “oppose the idea of Christian theocracy,” and that it would be inaccurate to suggest a “shared philosophy between the Discovery Institute and the Chalcedon Foundation.”

In addition to its own statement, the Statesman published a response from Discovery Institute spokesman Dr. John West in its “Letters to the Editor” section on July 20. “Discovery Institute is a secular think tank,” wrote West. “Until recently, the chairman of the board was former Congressman John Miller, who is Jewish. He would be surprised to find out that he headed a group supposedly devoted to imposing a ‘Christian theocracy.'” West added that far from promoting theocracy, the Institute had “sponsored a program for college students to teach the importance of religious liberty and the separation of church and state.”

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Discovery Institute promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Our mission is promoted through books, reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute’s own publications and award-winning Internet website: Current projects explore the fields of technology, science and culture, reform of the law, national defense, the environment and the economy, the future of democratic institutions, transportation, religion and public life, government entitlement spending, foreign affairs and cooperation within the bi-national region of “Cascadia.”

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.