In its Friday evening news tonight, ABC News grossly distorted a key element in the Waltke Biologos video clip story. Dan Harris stated:
Two weeks ago Waltke resigned from the Reformed Theological Seminary in Florida where he’d taught for more than a decade. He blamed the “sheriffs of theology” for hounding him out.
This is entirely inconsistent with the Waltke written statement, in which he stated:
Ric’s acceptance of my resignation has only added to the emotional turmoil; I have received letters from many quarters condemning RTS for his action. In fact, I was asked to be interviewed about my resignation on ABC News with Diane Sawyer! Of course, I refused because I am certain it would have been spun to reflect negatively on RTS and the church.
I am writing to assure you that I find no fault with the RTS administration; in fact, I think they did the right thing.
How hard would it have been for ABC News to verify their assertions against Waltke’s written statement? Why did ABC completely ignore his written statement? Is this the result of their recent staff cuts?
In fact, ABC has shown Waltke to be quite prophetic about his expectation of their false spin on the story. Biologos and everyone who helped promote this false spin should do everything in their power to correct these distortions.
Biologos had advance notice and was very eager to promote the ABC News report. I wonder how ABC got a copy of the video clip that Waltke asked Biologos to remove.
Of course, the already edited clip was reduced to the juicy 11 seconds “cult” sound bite. Dan Harris prefaced the sound bite with the intro “so it created an uproar when … Bruce Waltke said this about the overwhelming evidence for evolution.” Notice that he left out the “if” in Waltke’s original statement or the “big ‘if'” of Waltke’s clarification. They did not even give viewers the benefit of Waltke’s full sentence.
Now more than ever, we need to remember lesson #4.