L. A. Times reports the Museum kerfuffle

December 17, 2013 • 1:07 pm

Today’s Los Angeles Times, largely parasitizing the KPCC report on the removal of the “God” plaque in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural history, gives the story in today’s paper: “Natural History Museum in L. A. removes reference to God.” That’s a bit of a hot-button title, but I suppose they need viewers.

Anyway, there’s not much new here, since they’ve lazily just copied KPCC (damn journalists—why can’t they do more than recycle other journalists’ work?), but there are two mistakes. Here’s part of the piece; can you spot the errors?

According to the museum, the decision to remove the quotation was made because of its potential to cause confusion. “Upon further reflection and after discussion with our staff, and in conversation with the donor, the museum has determined that acknowledging donors by including personal statements in such a manner has the potential to cause confusion,” a museum spokeswoman told the radio station.

The Nature Lab features live animals, multimedia exhibits and science projects. The space is a new addition to the museum, having opened to the public earlier this year.

The quotation referencing God had previously been criticized by prominent University of Chicago biology professor Jerry Coyne.

On his blog earlier this month, Coyne wrote that the inscription was misleading the public because it implied that the museum was giving its scientific imprimatur to the idea that animals are God’s creation, and because the museum failed to make clear whether the anonymous donor had requested the inscription to appear in the museum space. (Coyne’s blog is titled “Why Evolution is True.”)

44 thoughts on “L. A. Times reports the Museum kerfuffle

      1. Please know, you two, that this gets brought up here every time someone notices that. 🙂

        I believe the text is just default WordPress bl*g format, nothing of Jerry’s doing.

  1. Copy-pasta seems to be an accepted style in the journalism/reporting genre these days. I blame CNN. Well, a little bit. Every publication thinks they have to provide 24 hour news now, and perhaps they do to compete. But almost none of them have the resources or the time to cover the world themselves; so they all rip each other off safe in the knowledge that the ripped-off one won’t sue because they will return the favor tomorrow.

    1. Yeah, the 24-hour news cycle is definitely not an improvement. People just don’t think fast enough to thoroughly analyze events and their meanings and implications in that short a timeframe — journalists and viewers both.


      1. That’s the trouble when more or less everything is branded as breaking news 24/7. After a while it just becomes white noise.

        1. Exactly. Is it really such breaking news that a few people were injured after a ferry ran aground thousands of miles away from me that CNN needed to flash a banner to that effect a few hours ago on my phone? I’m sure it’s a bad day for the people involved, but I fail to understand the national or even global significance.


      2. I don’t find the 24 hour news cycle to be too fast, just the opposite. CNN and all the others just have the same 8 stories repeated every 15 minutes. It is the same news show repeated 4 times each hour.

        When exercising, I use the elliptical, for example, 45 minutes. Even if I change the station (I never watch Faux Noise) I see the same things again.

        1. That’s actually my point. There’s rarely more news that needs more than a single hour’s broadcast or newspaper per day to report, and almost never anything in depth that needs reporting more than weekly. Yet the 24-hour news channels never shut the fuck up, and they’re all mindlessly repeating the same shit that, often as not, they don’t even get right the first several times. Remember how messed up the coverage of the Boston bombings was?


          1. If you want to get really annoyed, watch ESPN when there is no current game. How many times can they show the highlights of the past weekend’s 16 (american) football games and highlights of the last 2 nights of basketball/baseball/hockey.

        2. Just a suggestion – some WEIT posts plus all the comments can easily take 45min to read, so start here before switching to CNN.

          1. I get all comments via email, so I read them (almost) real time on my laptop or phone. I usually unsubscribe when a topic gets 75+ comments becoming repetitive or off topic like I am driving us to here. 🙂

      3. Yeah, the 24-hour news cycle is definitely not an improvement. People just don’t think fast enough to thoroughly analyze events and their meanings and implications in that short a timeframe

        … which is why I don’t normally buy a newspaper other than on Saturdays. (Maybe I’d go for the Sunday edition, but the Saturday has a 16×16 Sudoku played in hexadecimal which I enjoy.)

        1. I’ve never heard of hexadecimal Sudoku before. Is this a popular paper? Does anybody other than computer programmers and math geeks realize that 8 + 4 = B, 8 + 8 = 10, or that DEAD BEEF isn’t just a single hamburger but close to four million of them?


          1. http://dailysudoku.com/sudoku/archive.shtml?type=monster

            The 16×16 “monster” sudoku can’t be played online at that site, which is a shame … but it is printable, and all archived grids are accessible so you can try a medium-difficulty one if the current day’s puzzle is very hard.

            Never occurred to me that it’s hexadecimal; it just seems like the most obvious way to expand sudoku when you run out of single-digit numbers for each cell. And that’s even though I’ve used hexadecimal for some code puzzles before.

            So yeah, only programmers and geeks think “hexadecimal” instead of “weird number/alphabet jokes” 🙂

          2. Circulation is around 100k, so it’s struggling to stay alive.
            I saw 16×16 Sudoku back in August in a Norwegian weekend paper, but not using Hex notation. So it’s not that uncommon.

      4. “People are painfully aware of the last 24 hours–and shockingly ignorant of the last 2,400 years”. Don’t remember where I first saw this.

  2. Is it “blog”? =D

    It’s not a mistake, it’s the common and more correct term where the articles were posted. And the name is inherited from the website where the blog is embedded, since there is no subheader for the blog.

    “Look, look, up on the web!” “Is it a website?” “Is it a webpage?” “No, it is Ceiling-blog!” [Withe excuses to Siegel & Shuster.]

  3. Two possible ‘errors’ –

    1. It’s a web site not a blog.

    2. It should be ‘Professor of biology’ not ‘biology professor’.

    But these are guesses!

    1. Not that odd. The Milwaukee Public Museum has a large display dedicated to raising butterflies that are released into a room visitors walk through.

  4. the “bl*g site” WEIT should be italicized not “quoted”. Individual bl*g posts can be “quoted” but the title of the website should be underline or italicized.

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