CBS’s blatantly deceptive report on federal funding of ESC research

“Doctors, Patients Hail The Return Of Federally-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research” declares the sub-title of this report. There are several problems with this. One, there was never a ban on federally-funded embryonic stem cell research. Researchers could obtain federal funding by using cells obtained from lines that existed when President George W. Bush for the first time ever opened up federal-funding of any sort for any embryonic stem cell research. So not only was there no ban to return from, before Bush instituted federal funding of ESC research, there was no federally-funded ESC research program to return to, even if there had been a ban in place.

The report continues:

Researchers say that cures for everything from Parkinson’s to paralysis can be found in human embryos.

I doubt that. No researcher who was not lying his ass off would make such a bald statement. The most that they would say is that it is hoped that treatments or cures might be found in human embryos. There’s no evidence yet that cures can be found there. I suspect this is a reporter’s interpretation of something researchers have said, stripped of all sorts of the sort of small print one usually associates with a contract drawn up by a high priced lawyer for an insurance company. No one knows yet whether the problems that have plagued research using ESCs can ever be overcome or that ESCs will ever result in any therapies, let alone cures. This is the sort of rhetoric one gets from activists, not from scientists.

But under the Bush administration, scientists could not use federal tax dollars, to test that theory.

Again, bullshit. Quite simply a lie and someone at CBS news has got to know it’s a lie. They are banking on the reader not knowing it’s a lie. First of all, there were those existing lines. Secondly, there have been, in the years since Bush instituted the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research using already existing lines, a number of different techniques for “manufacturing” pluripotent cells using adult cells such as skin cells. Since they did not destroy embryos, there was no problem obtaining federal funding for these embryonic stem cells without embryos for research purposes.

“For patients, it means that we’re free now to study Parkinson’s disease. We’re free now to study Lou Gerhig’s disease,” Weissman said.

I don’t know who this Weissman is beyond the description in the article. I’ll be charitable and say that the reporter has either misquoted the good Doctor or left off a goodly portion of what Dr. Weissman said because if Dr. Weissman actually did say to the reporter that, before President Obama opened up federal funding to research upon all ESC research, there had been no study of Parkinson’s disease, then he’s as big a liar as the reporter. Since we already know the reporter is a liar, I’ll go with Occam’s razor and not multiply entities. I’ll lay the blame for the lie with the reporter.

I’m sorry. I’ve gone on longer than I wanted to but lies like this just get under my skin. Anyway, here’s the steaming pile of pig-poop:Stem Cell Policy Change Stirs Debate – CBS News.


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