MSM Ignoring Story on Huckabee Accepting Stem Cell Money

Update (Ken Shepherd | 19:54 EST | Dec. 25): Huckabee staffer responds (see bottom of post)

I've been curious as to why no major MSM outlet has picked up on this? I wonder if Tim Russert will ask something about it on Meet the Press?

Jonah Goldberg wonders why this hasn't made more of a splash. So am I. Maybe now that NRO has picked it up, it will pick up some steam.

With as many critiques that I've given Huckabee, I've never questioned him on social issues. I've always thought that was his strong point. But now comes news that those principles may not be so bonafide, at least when money gets involved.

The Caucus Cooler reveals details on some shady fundraising that includes $35,000 from an embryonic stem cell research group.

Most noteworthy, $35,000 came from Novo Nordisk, one of the world’s largest embryonic stem cell researchers. It seems that when money is at stake Huckabee may be able to look past his supposedly fervent opposition to this procedure

He also received speaking fees and honoraria from churches while Governor.

It is certainly calls into question whether or not it is appropriate for a Governor to be taking a consulting fee from interest groups, as Huckabee did, when issues surrounding that interest group could come across his desk.

The consulting money was funneled through an organization called 12 stops, a group created in 2004 to handle Gov. Huckabee’s book deals. With all the attention Senator Obama received for running a separate PAC and potentially funnelling money from maxed out donors through that PAC, it calls into question whether Huckabee may have done the same.

More at the Boston Globe:

He opposes embryonic stem-cell research, but this year accepted a fat speaking fee from drugmaker Novo Nordisk, which conducts embryonic stem-cell research. Over protests from churches, he pushed through a bill allowing video poker at the state's racetracks, then took a cool $10,000 campaign contribution from the owner of the state's biggest track.


Brantley reports that Huckabee used campaign funds to pay himself as his own media consultant. (Personally, I consider this a hanging offense.)

According to Brantley, "Huckabee raked in tens of thousands of dollars in gifts, including gifts from people he later appointed to prestigious state commissions. Inauguration funds were used to buy clothing for his wife."

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone found Huckabee had a $60,000 taxpayer slush fund for personal expenses like dog food, pantyhose, and meals at Taco Bell. Taco Bell?

Rob Port of Say Anything:

Mike Huckabee is no fiscal conservative, but he’s strong on social issues. But if he loses credibility on social issues as well, his campaign “ship” is sunk.

Dan Riehl:

The word on Huckabee is that he likes his money. I'm not sure people realize just how much, given the poor preacher image and all. He appears to have made several times his salary as Governor from outside business interests.

So how will this make his social defenders feel? Will they look elsewhere? This news so far isn't registering in the MSM. Will it be ignored as if he is the media darling?

Update (Ken Shepherd, Dec. 25):

Joe Carter, a Huckabee campaign staffer, e-mailed NewsBusters to object that Novo Nordisk does not presently research on embryonic stem cells, although it wishes to:

Joe Carter sent a message using the contact form at

***I've been curious as to why no major MSM outlet has picked up on

The reason is because Caucus Cooler is not a credible source. For example, he refers to Novo Nordisk as "one of the world’s largest embryonic stem cell researchers." In fact, NN does not does not currently do any research using human embryonic stem cells. While the support such research (as, unfortunately, most biotech firms do) they do not do such research themselves. This is clear to anyone who has actually bothered to check out
their website.

As for the MSM, they checked the company out when Romney was tied to them and found this our already:

I hope that you'll correct this misinformation and be more careful when repeating what is overheard on non-credible blogs. Newsbusters is too important a source to have its reputation impugned by passing on bad information.

The company's Web site seems to back Carter's claim (emphasis mine):

Novo Nordisk's position

Novo Nordisk wishes to pursue this very promising option for treatment. We want to be prepared for these new therapies and thus maintain a successful and sustainable business within diabetes care in the future. Novo Nordisk is - and has been for a long time – a partner in national and international cooperative projects involving stem cells. Our primary research activities on embryonic stem cells from mice were recently expanded to include cells of human origin.

Novo Nordisk, along with the majority of the scientists working within the field of stem cell research, finds that it is essential at this time to proceed with research in both adult and embryonic stem cells in parallel, partly to gain basic knowledge about the normal cell maturation processes and partly to clarify the potentials of the two cell types. Cell nucleus transfer and therapeutic cloning do not presently offer any advantages that in any way outweigh both the inherent scientific risks and the ethical dilemmas.

Research in human embryonic stem cells has evoked an important ethical debate and Novo Nordisk wishes to contribute to an open dialogue and an ethical and political clarification regarding the use of human embryonic stem cells. In Europe large differences exist between the different countries with regard to the legislation and control of research on human embryonic stem cells. This is a cause for concern and Novo Nordisk therefore urges all countries to establish legislation that will ensure that this important research is adequately regulated and controlled.

  • Novo Nordisk has finding a cure for diabetes as part of its vision and human stem cell research with the potential for cell transplantation, is presently the most promising approach to achieve this goal for Type 1 diabetes.
  • Novo Nordisk needs to extend its research on mouse embryonic stem cells to include human embryonic stem cells, in order to be able to move forward in our efforts to direct human embryonic stem cells into mature insulin-producing beta cells, which can be further developed for transplantation.
  • Novo Nordisk will only use human embryonic stem cells when it is not anticipated that the same scientific results can be obtained by the use of adult stem cells.
  • Novo Nordisk will only work with human embryonic stem cells derived from spare embryos from IVF treatment that are obtained with freely given informed consent.
  • Novo Nordisk does not support IVF-treatment of women, or the creation of human embryos, solely for research purposes.
  • Novo Nordisk does not see any need for therapeutic cloning in the foreseeable future, and the other forms of treatment pose no risk or possibility of cloning of human beings.
  • Novo Nordisk finds cloning of human beings (reproductive cloning) unethical and supports initiatives aimed at a global ban.
  • Novo Nordisk supports the position that human embryonic and adult stem cells, as such, can not be patented. However, the research-based protocols used to develop stem cells into therapeutic cells as well as the mature cells and tissues developed by these specific protocols should be patentable.
  • Novo Nordisk supports a legislative framework around the use of human embryonic stem cells that adequately protects the human embryo and at the same time secures that the knowledge obtained can be used to help patients with serious diseases such as diabetes.

Carter is correct about making clear the factual record on the company. The bottom line seems to be Novo Nordisk is at the edge of plunging into embryonic research but wants political and financial air cover before going over the top, so to speak.

It remains to our readers to decide whether the clarification has bearing on the larger media coverage issue.

Campaign Financing Mike Huckabee

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