Human Exceptionalism

Kansas City Star Continues Shameful Biased Reporting About Cloning Amendment

This is so ironic: The Kansas City Star, the most biased and inaccurate mainstream media outlet reporting today about embryonic stem cells and cloning–even worse than the New York Time and that is saying a lot–has this story seeking to demonstrate that opponents’ ads against Amendment 2 are inaccurate. Needless to say, the alleged corrective is filled with errors and pro-cloning advocacy jargon. (I will be commenting on the italicized sections quoted below, my comments in bold.)

“The ad uses language and definitions used by opponents of Amendment 2, but the ad is probably misleading to most of the public. The ballot measure does allow the cloning of cells in the laboratory to grow stem cells. To clone means to copy. The goal is to copy the cells of the patient. The cloned cell begins to divide and creates stem cells.

This is pure junk biology out of the proponents’ play book, who would undoubtedly pay the KC Star to run stories like this but don’t have to because they are so already in the tank! Somatic cell nuclear transfer is a form of asexual reproduction. It is known commonly as cloning. It doesn’t clone a cell–which is a totally different procedure–it creates a cloned embryo. The embryo is developed (in theory since it hasn’t been done) for a week and destroyed for its stem cells. The Star reporters and editors know this and don’t care.

“At the same time, Amendment 2 makes it a crime to try to create a human baby through cloning. Currently, there is no prohibition on cloning a human.”

Right. And Amendment 2 would explicitly legalize human cloning, requiring that the cloned embryo not be implanted in a woman’s womb.

“No treatments have resulted from research on early stem cells, which were first isolated only eight years ago. Research since then has been hamstrung by opponents who say taking stem cells destroys human life. The vast majority of scientists say that cures and treatments could come from all types of research, but research on early stem cells provides the greatest potential.

The term “early stem cells” is an advocacy term created by the proponents of Amendment 2. It is used instead of the scientifically accurate “embryonic stem cells” because the campaign’s focus groups probably found that using “embryonic” causes support to drop. ESCR does take human life because an embryo is a human organism. That is science, and it can be attested to by referring to any major embryology text book. Opponents have not “hamstrung” the research, they have supported President Bush’s limitations on taxpayer funding.

The vast majority of scientists make a lot of claims that cannot be demonstrated scientifically. Nor are they “objective.” The published science tells a far different story, but the Star isn’t interested in these facts.

The Star, continues to play Ginger Rogers to the pro-cloners Fred Astaire, repeatedly committing journalistic malpractice as they go. Bottom line: The paper’s “corrective” is inaccurate and misleading to most of the public.