Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Journalists and the stem cell fiasco

Journalists and the stem cell fiasco: "Yes, this monumental scientific fraud was not initially disclosed by the journals that published Hwang's cloning and stem cell papers, or the reviewers, or regulators, or ethics committees--all those scientific institutions that should be bulwarks against fraud of this magnitude. Disclosure happened because reporters for the South Korean TV network MBC got a tip and pursued it vigorously." While it's true that journalists have been responsible for uncovering this fraud, let's not forget that they were responsible for creating the hype in the first place !
I find this fascinating. Exactly the same thing happened in India 3 years ago, when Reliance , India's largest private sector company, hogged the first page of the Times of India when they claimed they had established embryonic stem cell lines ! India was seen to be a world leader in cutting edge science - though the company refused to allow any verification of their claims. The only critical article was by the late Daniel Pearl, the famous journalist from the Wall Street Journal, who exposed their claims as being bogus. The Times of India continues to tom-tom stem cells as being the next revolution in healthcare - and the Health Minister is happy to feature prominently in the media by agreeing with these statements - many of which are highly irresponsible and unsupported !

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