Poor and Biased Reporting on Stem Cell Research

Ever since last Friday, when Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced that he would support loosening restrictions on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, the "mainstream" media has become absolutely giddy over the prospect of George W. Bush bowing to political defeat on the issue.

This is no surprise, however, since most journalists generally support left-wing sociopolitical policies (just ask them) and tend to go out of their way to report on stories that are potentially harmful to the Bush Administration, like the fake Bush National Guard scandal, the fake Gitmo torture scandal, and the fake Valerie Plame/Karl Rove scandal, just to name a few.

Of course, they also tend to ignore news that most folks would consider favorable to Dubya and his crew, like the fact that the economy is doing very well, and that our military is making unprecedented strides toward the democratization of Iraq and Afghanistan, in spite of a concerted effort by liberals (like themselves) to prevent that from happening.

By any means, a lot has been written about stem cells over the past few years, but most of the time the headlines you read in the papers, or hear on the tv news, regarding the political division over federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, only give you a vague idea as to what the debate is really all about. In the first place, the popular
press seems intent on blurring the distinction between adult stem cells and the embryonic variety, by routinely omitting the word 'embryonic' in its headlines, when that word is critical to the substance of its stories.

Just do a simple search of the words 'stem cells' on google.com's news search engine, and see how many results you get which include the term 'embryonic' in the headline, as opposed to those that don't. When one considers the fact that most news items written on the subject are concerned with the embryonic stem cell debate, and the public funding
thereof, one has to wonder why the word is so seldom included in news headlines.

Moreover, some of the stories written about the issue would lead the average person to believe that there is some sort of Bush-led federal ban on stem cell research... and not just the embryonic kind. For instance, take a look at the following headlines I found on the internet after just a minute or two of searching. I imagine that this list represents only a small fraction of the similarly phrased headlines available to those who are committed to finding them.

Senators urge Bush to lift stem cell ban
New Hampshire families and doctors call on Bush to end stem cell ban
Bush blocks plan to lift US ban on stem-cell research
Kerry pledges to reverse stem cell ban
Bush Pressured to lift stem cell ban
Clark protests stem cell ban

Actually, I uncovered several more headlines of like phraseology which were attributed to the BBC, the Washington Post, and the Kerry Campaign of 2004, but the links to those articles are no longer valid, so I decided not to include them here.

Be that as it may, I think it's fair to say that the individuals who wrote the above stories had an ax to grind over the issue with respect to the current administration. If that is not the case, how then can one explain such headlines, especially in light of the fact that George W. Bush has never banned stem cell research of any kind in the United States, and that he is the only U.S. president to have ever authorized federal funding for embryonic stem cell research?

Heck, it was William Jefferson Clinton himself (liberal icon extraordinaire) who initiated a total ban on using our tax dollars to fund the creation of human embryos for the purpose of harvesting medically useful cells, yet I'm willing to bet you won't learn that by reading the New York Times, or watching CNN.

And what I'm also fairly sure of is that those same news organizations, and many others just like them, don't give a damn that most Americans are against the idea of their money being handed over to scientists who think it's perfectly acceptable to create life for the sole purpose of destroying it through experimentation.

Bush actually upset quite a few of his supporters when he agreed to allow limited public funding for research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells, but at least he has stood firm against creating new lines at taxpayer expense, and for that he should get at least a little credit.

It's also important to note that most journalists avoid mentioning the fact that adult stem cell research holds more promise when it comes to treating debilitating and often deadly afflictions than its embryonic counterpart. Adult stem cell research has actually yielded encouraging results in recent times, while embryonic stem cells are highly
unstable, and have yet to lead to any potential treatments whatsoever.

An article in the October, '04 edition of the American Family Association Journal, titled 'What some scientists really hope to find in stem cell research', relates that "animal experiments have shown that the use of embryonic stem cells in reparative therapies is a troublesome proposition. Since the genetic makeup of a patient is different to that of a donor, the patient's immune system rejects the implanted cells." It goes on to state that "so far there have been no successful therapies developed using embryonic stem cells in humans," and then asks the key question, "if the most promising stem cell therapies use cells that can be harvested without doing harm to a human embryo, why are some scientific experts strongly promoting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research?"

That is exactly what I've been asking for years, and the article's author, Rusty Benson, seems to have come to the same conclusion I have on the matter... it's all a about money. Mr. Benson states that "the press has largely ignored instances in which those promoting embryonic stem cell research - including prominent scientists and faculty members at prestigious universities and public research institutions - have personal stakes in private biotech companies that would benefit directly or indirectly from federal funding," and he couldn't be more correct in that assertion. You see, most private investors won't give a dime to embryonic stem cell research because they don't think they'll make any money on their investment, but federal money, if it can be acquired, doesn't come with any of those pesky conditions attached, like a demand that at least some progress be made by the researcher.

Yet even if one were to disregard the fact that adult stem cells are better suited to therapy development than the embryonic kind, and that certain scientists may have unscrupulous ulterior motives for doing some of the things they do, one cannot simply dismiss out of hand the primary reason for objecting to the public funding of embryonic stem cell research, which is that the government has no right to use tax money to fund programs that the majority of people consider to be immoral.

If the left-wingers in the media, and their pals in Hollywood want to expand embryonic stem cell research, why don't they unroll those huge wads of money they've been paid for doing practically nothing of value, and fund it themselves? Gibbering nitwits like Peter Jennings and Barbara Streisand could fund embryonic stem cell research from now 'till doomsday if they were forced to pony up a dollar every time they opened their big mouths to demonize President Bush. Instead, the Democrat party and its compatriots in the press would rather make YOU pay for their causes, even if those causes repulse you.

And that's just one more bit of truth you won't learn from the Los Angeles Times, CBS, or the San Francisco Chronicle.

By Edward L. Daley
Owner of the Daley Times-Post