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The bias in the reportage about human cloning and stem cells has been complained about so frequently to KC Star reporters and editors that there is no question they know precisely what they are doing when they publish scientifically inaccurate reports such as the this one, byline Kit Wager.

The story concerns a pending attempt to amend Amendment 2 by banning all human cloning in MO. It contains all of the junk biology and euphemisms that have come to mark the terribly biased reporting by the KC Star on this issue, to wit:

“Just six weeks after Missouri voters approved constitutional protection for medical research, two lawmakers plan to propose a ban on a cutting-edge method of creating early stem cells.” Early stem cells is an euphemistic advocacy term for embryonic stem cells. It was coined by the Amendment 2 supporters to avoid having to deal with the reality that ESCR destroys human embryos. And of course, the KC Star immediately jumped to play along.

“The initiative narrowly approved by voters protects all stem cell research allowed by federal law. It will allow a technique that grows stem cells by cloning a patient’s cells to repair diseased or damaged tissue.” Sigh. Cells are not cloned in SCNT, a new embryo is created asexually. No one objects to cloning cells, which is a different technique.

“But the amendment expressly prohibits any attempt to implant cloned cells into a woman’s uterus in an effort to create a cloned baby.” You could implant “cloned cells” for the next 100,000 years and never have a baby. But if you implanted cloned embryos, you could.

“About five days after the zygote begins to divide, it forms a ball of cells known as a blastocyst, which includes a mass of stem cells, which have the potential to become any kind of tissue in the body. The ball of cells becomes an embryo if it attaches to the wall of the uterus.” This is the myth of the “pre embryo.” Embryology textbooks will tell you that biologically, there is no such thing, that an embryo is an embryo from the zygote stage onward.

Allow me to quote from Human Embryology and Teratology, embryology text book on this matter: “The term ‘pre embryo’ is not used here for the following reasons: (1) It is ill defined...; (2) It is inaccurate...(3) It is unjustified because the accepted meaning of the word embryo includes all of the first 8 weeks; (4) It is equivocal because it may convey the erroneous idea that a new human organism is formed at only some considerable time after fertilization; and (5) it was introduced in 1985 largely for public policy reasons [politics].”

Wager’s story isn’t journalism, it is advocacy. I am sure he will get a raise.

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