Human Exceptionalism

More Junk Journalism about Cloning

I could spend all of my time here at Secondhand Smoke illustrating how media refuses to report stories about biotechnology accurately. But that would get old and there are many other things to write about. But this story is just too much: The AP has produced a story, byline Sam Hananel, that makes the following false claim in a story about how a proposed Missouri initiative to legalize ESCR (actually therapeutic cloning) has divided Republicans:

“Sen. Jim Talent, who faces a strong challenge in November from Democratic state auditor Claire McCaskill, has declined to take a stand on the measure. But he has co-sponsored a Senate bill to ban embryonic stem cell research and impose a million-dollar fine and 10-year jail sentence on violators.” (My emphasis.)

The story is referring to the Brownback/Landrieu Bill that would outlaw ALL HUMAN CLONING, NOT EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH. The House version has passed twice by large, bipartisan margins (which, of course, goes unreported). It is SILENT about using leftover embryos or creating new ones through fertilization for that purpose. The distinction is real. Indeed, there has never been an attempt at the federal level to outlaw embryonic stem cell research. But the media don’t care. You can point out their continual misreporting to journalists on this beat until you are blue in the face, and they just refuse to report it right.


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