Nightline, 13 January 2005
Michael L. Ford, Th.D.
Perhaps many did not see the Nightline broadcast with Ted Koppel last night. Some of my readers do not even live in the United States and do not know what Nightline is. It is supposed to be a news show that focuses in depth on certain topics. Twenty-five years ago when it began it was not too bad a little program and I used to watch it regularly when I was in the United States and had access to television. But it has been so long since it was part of my viewing habits that seeing Mr. Koppel’s hair has turned white still comes as a shock each time I turn on the telly.
You might wonder why I am writing about this program? I had not expected to stay up till 11:30 P.M. to watch it last night, but I received a late e-mail alert from my friends at Answers in Genesis that the Nightline broadcast would be focused on the subject of teaching Intelligent Design versus teaching Evolution in the classrooms. Bingo, I was immediately committed and contacted friends who I knew would want to know as well. What would be the slant the ABC network and Ted Koppel would put on the subject? I hate to say it, but given their past performance, I had an unpleasant idea.
If you wanted to know why Nightline is off in the rating polls having their worse season ever you only needed to watch this program. The claimed their research showed 35% believed in evolution, 35% believed in Creation, and 29% did not know enough to have an opinion. This research claim contradicts what others have shown to be the belief of Americans about the Bible being correct in what it says. Statistics like they claim and a show like they put on guaranteed that no group would go away from the broadcast pleased with the “perspective” they presented.
When it was over I asked my wife what she thought of the broadcast? She said it was her opinion that they spent the half hour without saying anything substantive. I think that most people would agree with her, but my training has taught me to decipher the hidden messages and I have a different idea about the matter. I believe that Nightline wanted to convey the following opinions to people’s minds without them realizing it:
1. They want you to believe that the people who believe in Creation or Intelligent Design cannot support their opinions.
2. They want you to believe that the case for Creation is not scientific.
3. They want you to believe that the case for “Darwinian Evolution” is scientific. (even though no part of it has ever been substantiated.)
4. They want you to believe that people who support the teaching of Intelligent Design are mean and ugly to those who do not agree with them, while for the most part those who hold evolutionary views behave reasonably and intelligently.
My conclusion at the end of the program that Nightline has truly declined as a fact reporting program and it would be no great loss if, when Mr. Koppel’s contract expires in December, the program was allowed to go away. For some time the show has been in decline. Apparently the executive producer, Leroy Sievers saw the handwriting on the wall last year when he resigned. The program is weighed in the balances and found wanting. Unfortunately, if ABC follows its current direction, Nightline will be replaced with something rude and crude. They think America is reflected in their own distorted imaginings.
What is called the “mainstream media” is distinctly anti-Christian these days. Sometimes they are blatantly so, and sometimes they are more subtly so, as was the broadcast I have written about. Networks complain about market share of viewers going to other sources and the readership Internet bloggers are acquiring at their expense. What they have not tried to do is fix their problem. The only thing they have tried thus far is to have the competition shut down. It reminds me of a school in Jerusalem that existed in the days of Christianity. It held to the fundamental Jewish idea that Scripture was to be taken literally. When the Grecianizers, men with the ideas of Philo of Alexandria could not defeat them with their philosophy they attacked them physically. History has a way of being repeated in one form or another.
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