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The Lawrence Journal-World sensationalized Paul Mirecki's comments about intelligent design  
By Mike Cuenca | December 9, 2005
Compare the publicity about Professor Paul Mirecki's proposed class on religious mythologies and the accompanying firestorm to the same classes being taught around Kansas. After having created the firestorm about the issue, the Journal-World itself published a minor story revealing not only the existence of other such courses across Kansas, but also the fact that the existence of not one other of those courses had generated any publicity.

This story would have had no wings had it not been for the Journal-World's sensationalized coverage. From the outset, the Journal-World presented the existence of this class from a contrived controversial angle, with the prominent front-page headline "KU class angers 'design' advocates." For this angle, the Journal-World went straight to the people who would of course be most incensed by the class.

Day after day, the headlines got bigger and the coverage became more sensationalized. Take, for example, the Dec. 3 article, "KU could face heat in Topeka," which was entirely speculative, based on threats by right-wing extremists and completely unnecessary.

The Journal-World gave voice—and undeserved credibility—to the extremist conservatives of Kansas, parroting their disingenuous outrage about Mirecki's statements, while ignoring those extremists' own history of antagonistic speech directed at their political and religious opponents. Their own small sidebar of Dec. 3 about John Altevogt is proof of that.

Without doubt, such a class would anger the extremists who are attempting to inject their religious beliefs into Kansas politics. But that's not a major news story. That's a major "duh."

 


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