Human Exceptionalism

More Media Bias by Omission in Describing Human Cloning

Here’s the latest blatant example of bias by omission in the mainstream media when describing somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning. Once again, the reporter is Nicolas Wade, who writes in today’s story about the Hwang Woo-Suk scandal: “In an article published in Science in March 2004, he claimed to have performed the first nuclear transfer with human cells, the cloning procedure in which a nucleus from a person’s adult cell is inserted into a human egg, from which embryonic stem cells are obtained.” (My italics.)

False. Embryonic stem cells are not derived from eggs. The egg ceases to exist once the SCNT is completed, just as it does upon the completion of conception. At that point, a new, integrated individual human organism comes into existence that is called an embryo. The embryo is developed for a week and then destroyed for its stem cells.

It would only take an additional 7 words to be accurate, to wit: “…in which a nucleus from a person’s adult cell is inserted into a human egg, transforming it into an embryo, which is later destroyed to obtain embryonic stem cells.”

Why the incomplete description? Perhaps because polls show that if people believe mere cells are created, they support therapeutic cloning. However when told that embryos are created and destroyed in the process, they oppose therapeutic cloning.

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