The recent Lead Codices idiocy has reminded me of something that I’ve known for a good while: if academics don’t speak out, as individuals and corporately, then the lunatics in the Press will continue to peddle and pimp the most absurd nonsense in the quest for money and sales of papers and advertisement space.
I just today wrote this note to others concerned with the lead codex silliness in response to a request that academics ‘team up’ and get the straight poop out when ‘biblical archaeology stuff’ hits the news –
It’s quite a struggle believe me. For three years ASOR has had a ‘media relations committee’. Jodi Magness, Bob Cargill, Eric and Carol Meyers, me, Bob Wright, Andy Vaughn, Eric Cline, and a few others have been trying to get the media to contact ASOR when such things come to the attention of the news people. News outlets simply do not care about accuracy nearly as much as they care about peddling (or in Joe Zias’ word, pimping) nonsense for the sake of sales.
This is precisely why individual scholars need to get the word out. And waiting to publish in the Journal of Hoity Toity isn’t getting it done. By the time journals publish, no one cares anymore. Such is the world we live in. And if the press ever does get it right and retract bad info (have you EVER seen them do that when it comes to biblical archaeology? I haven’t. Not once) I’d drop over with a coronary.
No- the time is past for waiting for some committee or some group to do something. Like the rebellion in Egypt, it’s up to the internet savvy to correct misinformation. The rest, well, tragically, no matter what they may or may not know, they are now irrelevant to the discussion.
That’s how I see it. The press, frankly, does a LOUSY job covering things biblical and archaeological. An absolutely miserable job. So they must be usurped and the general population disabused of the nonsense the Press fumblingly peddles and pimps. At least until they take the time to do a little research and interview people who really know the subject. But I’m not holding my breath.