Hold the Punch, Pinch
Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life’s Origin
A few months ago, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins received an e-mail message from a producer at Rampant Films inviting him to be interviewed for a documentary called “Crossroads.”The film, with Ben Stein, the actor, economist and freelance columnist, . . .
Turns out to be a completely different film entitled “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” with a different producer, a creationist ax, etc.
And downstream somewhere, Ben Stein, actor, economist and freelance columnist is further id'd:Mr. Stein, a freelance columnist who writes Everybody’s Business for The New York Times, conducts the film’s on-camera interviews.
But you know, as Ben himself tells the Newspaper of Record he gets paid by,“I don’t remember a single person asking me what the movie was about,” he said in a telephone interview.
And that's fair, isn't it? After all, like Ben, any working journalist knows better than to divulge to his sources, whom he is going to quote and attribute, the authority of the actual story he's getting them to create. Half of them wouldn't agree to speak if
they knew they were tools.
This trick is not unlike the contrivance of simple plots, such as those found in jokes."A hard-nosed scientist walks into a Creationist phantasm..."USian Journalism is the punchline that arrives after the sources have been directed to act as if the story was about them.