Thursday, April 18, 2002
Numerous surveys of the media have shown that journalists are overwhelmingly liberal Democrats. Despite this, journalists swear on a stack of Ms. magazines that they don't let their personal biases enter into their reporting. Like former CBS newsman Bernard Goldberg, I think they actually do believe this. The problem is, it's not true.
Today's object lesson is the coverage of a promising medical breakthrough. It seems that researchers in France have managed to cure some sufferers of the "Bubble Boy" Disease. A genetic abnormality results in their immune system being unable to fight off common infections or viruses.
How exactly did scientists do it? Well, there's two contrasting explanations. First, from The Washington Post:
In the procedure, the French researchers took bone marrow cells -- the source of blood stem cells -- from the patients and infected them with a retrovirus carrying the normal gene as a payload. The cells were then grown in large quantities and returned to the boys. They then homed to the bone marrow, and to other tissues, on their own.
So, scientists used bone marrow cells? Why the seeming non sequitur about bone marrow being "the source of blood stem cells?"
From the Associated Press:
To reverse the gene defect, doctors at Necker Hospital in Paris drew bone marrow from the boys. They culled stem cells from the marrow and mixed them with a harmless virus in which a gene that makes the missing protein had been inserted. After the virus infected the bone marrow cells, millions of each boy's cells were injected into his bloodstream.
Aha! They used mature stem cells in order to fix this genetic defect. Why was the Washington Post's explanation so contorted? Maybe because the reporter and the editor believe that only embryonic stem cells can be responsible for this kind of medical miracle. All of the reporting says that mature stem cells don't hold the promise that embryonic stem cells do. Forty Nobel Laureates say it would be a disservice to science if the use of embryonic stem cells was banned. The Post believes this propaganda, and forces itself to ignore the fact that there is promise in adult stem cell technology.
Did anybody notice that in the list of signers of that letter, most were winners in Chemistry or Physiology and Medicine. But there were two winners of the Physics prize -- and one ECONOMICS winner? Who let that guy in there?
Well, this news just reinforces the contention made by National Review online's Michael Fumento and author Wesley J. Smith have been saying for months. I'm opposed to embryonic stem cell research from a moral standpoint. But there is plenty of evidence that embryonic stem cell research has little scientific currency.
Discoveries like those made by the French scientists will hopefully make embryonic stem cell research supporters position untenable. As success after success piles up for adult-stem cell researchers, all humanity benefits.