New developments in the marketing of Expelled this week… If you can’t get the entertainment reporters to cover the film, maybe you can rein in the political correspondents by changing the venue of discussion.
So tonight, here’s a roundup of news about Expelled as politics. And our lead story is:
- Mike Huckabee endorses Expelled… on camera, no less!
- On Wednesday night, Stein was on hand to screen Expelled for politicians in the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda. He was introduced by Missouri state governor Matt Blunt.
- The next day, Stein was apparently hanging out in the Missouri State House Lounge, lobbying for “the diversity of ideas and more debate in the academic world” just prior to a vote on a tax limits bill. The situation drew the ire of state representative Jeanette Mott Oxford, who blasted one of the bill’s sponsors, rep. Jane Cunningham. Her published statement included the following: “The real agenda behind this bill is clear if you read Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, a respected book that was honored in recent years as one of the best examples of investigative reporting. I think the author is Michelle Goldman. The chapter on the courts spells out how groups with a radical theocratic agenda are working a coordinated plan to muzzle the courts until they can take over the courts. … Interestingly enough, numerous pieces of Rep. Cunningham’s legislative package (and that of other GOP sponsors) are profiled in other chapters of the book – like intelligent design (for which Cunningham honored Ben Stein and his movie that was shown in the Rotunda yesterday!) and the ‘intellectual diversity bill.'”
- Whew! If that wasn’t enough, I discovered that one of the three publicity firms now handling Expelled (the other two being Motive Entertainment and Rogers & Cowan) is CRC Public Relations… the firm employed by the Swift Boat veterans… Anybody remember that? They recently crafted press releases about the Myers flap and Stein’s visit to Missouri.
- President George Herbert Walker Bush was also dragged into the fracas this week. Apparently in an attempt to remind us all that insulting language is not just confined to atheists (which is certainly true enough!), someone pointed out over at Arts and Faith that former President Bush is reputed to have once said, “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.” This alleged comment is sometimes used by atheists to justify politico-religious paranoia; however, though the alleged comment is repeated often enough on the web, there’s no evidence that any major news organization (liberal or conservative) has ever picked up on the story as credible enough to report (only one paper, the Boulder Daily Camera, reportedly covered it… and I’ve been unable to even confirm that). The only online source that backs the allegation is the atheist journalist who originated the story, and he hasn’t updated his claims since 2004. SourceWatch includes a note that the quote is cited on both pro- and anti-atheist sites… but the link for the latter is to the parody site Landover Baptist, so someone at SourceWatch is none too informed. What’s more, this story is so in-credible that it’s never even popped up at Snopes… so if it hasn’t even earned urban legend status, it’s not even the kind of thing you’d forward to your friends, much less something you’d want to go around quoting. The folks at Wikiquote even checked out Sherman’s documents last year, and concluded that Sherman will never get corroboration on this. (See now? That’s what real fact-checking looks like.) What’s that line? “Repeat it often enough and people will believe that it’s true”?
Coming in the morning… a roundup of Christian sites talking about Expelled.