Today Show: "So-Called" Intelligent Design

January 6th, 2006 8:05 AM

Pat Robertson has no one to blame but himself for the criticism he's attracted in reaction to his latest looniness, in which he suggested that Ariel Sharon's recent stroke was divine retribution for dividing the land of Israel. For that matter, on the all-publicity-is-good-publicity theory, Robertson might be reveling in the notoriety.

So while the Today show can hardly be faulted for reporting Robertson's outrageous comment, was it necessary in doing so to take a gratuitous swipe at the beliefs of millions of Americans?

In its segment, Today catalogued a number of Robertson's controversial statements, from his suggestion that the United States should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to calling Islam a "scam," to predicting that Orlando could be hit with earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor for flying gay pride flags.

But first in Today's recitation of Robertson's Biggest Hits came this:

"He took aim at tiny Dover, Pennsylvania after voters rejected a the school's decision to teach so-called intelligent design. Robertson had warned residents that that 'if there is a disaster in your area don't call turn to God - you just rejected Him from your city.'"

"So-called" intelligent design?

Was it really necessary for Today to do the TV equivalent of placing the phrase in scare quotes, or was this an example of Today tipping its secular hand? In the same segment, for example, would Today in a million years ever have spoken of "so-called" gay pride flags?