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February 19, 2006

Get the language right!

NPR is getting on my nerve more and more, but today I finally got off the dime and sent them an email about a news item -this one.
Here's the letter - not that I expect them to pay it any attention.
Your item on stem cell research included a glaring oversight that is exemplary of the general reporting bias on this controversial topic. You consistently omitted the adjective "embryonic" in the discussion.
The pro-life movement is NOT opposed to all forms of stem cell research. The movement supports stem cell research using cells derived from placentas, umbilical cord blood, adult tissues of various kinds including fat cells and bone marrow - but not research that requires the destruction of a human embryo.
The idea that embryonic stem cells represent a panacea is wide spread and extremely deceptive. The medical breakthroughs to date using stem cells have all been from the non-embryonic kind.
As a 30 plus year NPR supporter and a pro-life medical professional (I'm a certified nurse-midwife) I highly resent the implication that opposing embryo destructive research is somehow a form of medical Luddite-ism. Please, when you tackle such a nuanced topic, use the nuances and the proper language.

Posted by alicia at February 19, 2006 3:27 PM

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Good letter. Good luck.

Posted by: William Luse at February 19, 2006 4:56 PM

Good for you. There is an appalling lack of understanding of medical topics by the very people who report them. I know -- I'm a health reporter and the kind of education I have to routinely give my colleagues is astonishing. More astonishing is how many of them are convinced they understand when they don't, or just don't care.

Posted by: Cin at February 21, 2006 1:04 AM

Well-written and argued. Nicely put.

Posted by: TSO at February 21, 2006 9:37 PM

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