So, yesterday I posted about a story from two Associated Press reporters, Ben Feller and Lauran Neergaard, who couldn’t find anyone to quote about their objections to President Obama reversing Bush policy to restrict funding for embryonic stem cell research. What did they do? Find a scientist to better frame the debate? Nah.
Instead, they updated their story with a quote from Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council. Oh, wait, that’s the conservative Family Research Council:
“Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for experiments that require the destruction of human life,” said Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council. “President Obama’s policy change is especially troubling given the significant adult stem cell advances that are being used to treat patients now without harming or destroying human embryos.”
After a cursory summary of the potential of adult stem cell research over the last eight years the article veers back to the left and states that scientists, not politics should judge. OK, who just inserted politics into this story? Anyone? Yes, that would be reporters Ben Feller and Lauran Neergaard (and, most likely, the anonymous editors) of the not-conservative Associated Press.
Now, to be fair, that quotation from Perkins might have been in the original story but was cut by an editor. But I’m going to say this anyway. Listen closely , AP: There are plenty of scientists (not politians or activists) who I’m sure would like to talk about their research with adult stem cells and give you balanced feedback about this. If you want to do your politics story and talk to people like Tony Perkins — who does have a point — then do it in another story with activists who are pro-embryonic stem cell research. And, if you really did talk and quote adult stem cell research scientists and then cut it, then shame on you.
But to frame this as a science-vs.-politics story is completely manipulative on your part. Again, your story (even updated) is still cheerleading.