Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
The Journal Editorial Report
Front Page
Lead Story
Briefing & Opinion
Tony & Tacky
TV Schedule
For Teachers
About the Series


January 21, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans -- we call it Tony & Tacky, our choices for the best and the worst of the week.

We begin in Dover, Pennsylvania, where Darwin's theory of evolution is under attack by the school board, which calls it a theory, not a fact, and says that a supernatural being must have been involved. Dorothy, tony or tacky?

DOROTHY RABINOWITZ: This is a tony for eight school teachers in Dover High School who refused to read a mandated sentence, a statement by the Board of Education of Dover, which essentially said that Darwin's theory of evolution is not a fact, it is a theory.

The teachers answered that this is not science, this is not biology. We are educators, and we refuse to introduce this to our students and fail in our duty to teach. So a tony to these teachers who simply refused to allow the rather obvious and gross effort of the board to create their own form of education and evade the science that's part of the curriculum.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay, thank you, Dorothy.

And then there is this man, Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, who said that one reason women do not do as well as men in math and science has to do with biological or gender differences. Jason, tony or tacky?

JASON RILEY: Well it started out as a tony. Mr. Summers suggested that there are differences between men and women, and that the scarcity of female math and science scholars might have something to do with factors other than discrimination.

Now, for most people this is common sense. But in the alternate universe of academia, this is a mortal sin. Any disproportionate outcomes with regard to race or gender must have entirely to do with discrimination. And so, I liked what he said. The problem is that he's been apologizing for the past three days about it. I think he's on his third or fourth apology. So this could become a tacky very soon.

PAUL GIGOT: All right. Thank you, Jason.

And last, the Europeans finally have something to celebrate. They have labored mightily and come forth with a very big airplane, which they hope will be a very big part of their assault on the American company, Boeing. James, tony or tacky?

JAMES TARANTO: Well this is a tacky. But first, congratulations to Europe for coming forward with the A380, the new airbus plan that carries 840 passengers. The biggest plane, bigger than the 747, which was the biggest plane.

But some of the comments that our erstwhile friends in Europe made at the unveiling ceremony were a little ridiculous. Gerhard Schroeder, the German Chancellor, said, "Good old Europe made this possible." Which doesn't sound offensive, but Agence France-Presse, the French wire service, described this as a "barely veiled barb recalling the U.S. dismissal of France and Germany because of their opposition to the war on Iraq."

Then the airbus CEO said this. He said, "The European states, so easily accused of weakness, backed this fantastic challenge 35 years ago and have believed in the A380." So they're boasting that they built this plane in 35 years. Boeing conceived of the 747 in 1966, and it was in flight in commercial operation by 1970, less than four years. So this American is impressed by the A380, but not overawed.

PAUL GIGOT: And are you going to fly in it?

JAMES TARANTO: Well, we'll see.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay, thank you James. That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We hope you'll join us again next week.