A real journalist reviews a media conference held for the new pro-ID film Expelled:
Freedom of expression is unseemly at an Expelled press conference. There was no give-and-take, no open marketplace of ideas, in fact, scarcely any questions at all. Ruloff and Stein batted one softball after another out of the park from those posed by Paul Lauer, a representative of the film’s public relations firm. Questions from non-employees had to be submitted by email. Lauer (or somebody at his firm) screened them.
I’m not sure whether Thomas Aquinas handled media inquiries this way. I’ll have my people get back to your people on that.
More below the fold:
I’ve participated in a lot of press conferences in my thirty years as a journalist. I once bumped into President Gerald Ford on the front lawn of the White House. I had a question for him, which he politely answered. I went to a press conference by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who took all of our questions and hung around afterward to talk with me. I’ve had press conference questions answered by physicists Hans Bethe and Edward Teller, “father of the hydrogen bomb”; by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson; by John Wayne; by U.S, Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney; by U.S. Sens. Alan Simpson, Craig Thomas, John Kerry, Malcolm Wallop and Gary Hart, and by lots and lots of other public figures whose time I’ve wasted. Some of my questions were argumentative, but all were thoroughly – if sometimes equally argumentatively – answered.
Until I got to Ben Stein. Though calling for the rough-and-tumble of openness and debate, Stein didn’t have time for questions.
In my earlier review, I dealt with Expelled as a failed and dull attack on evolution. But this “press conference” convinced me that not only is Expelled and the intellectual movement behind it hypocritical in its supposed defense of “freedom of expression,” it’s an attack on the entire superstructure of science and technology that has created the modern world. Expelled is anti-rational.
[On the fear scientists are claimed to have to speak out against evolution] I hate to say this, Walt Ruloff and Ben Stein having spent a lot of money to make this movie and all, but it seems to me more likely that these frightened scientists just don’t exist. I’m calling “Bullshit.”
It seems Expelled! expectorates on debate, journalism, and science. Gosh, what a shock…