Not surprisingly, an organization that is focused on culture and the media issues a statement in which members of the U.S. media are criticized for their irresponsible bias in favor of embryonic stem cell research, while deliberately and systematically ignoring adult stem cell accomplishments.
According to Colleen Raezler of the Culture and Media Institute, reporter after reporter mistakenly features news that promotes embryonic stem cells as the ultimate cure for everything, despite the fact that embryonic stem cells have never been used to treat anything. Meanwhile, adult stem cells, which actually have been used to treat an increasing number of diseases and injuries, are routinely ignored by the media as a matter of policy.
Although this is a rather unsurprising statement of the obvious, its importance cannot be overemphasized. The unjustifiable, unconscienable and scientifically inaccurate bias throughout the media has the effect of misleading the public and creating false hope through unrealistic expectations. Even embryonic stem cell scientists themselves have tried to caution the public that clinical therapies from these cells are at least another decade away, if not more, yet there are very few members of the media who do not choose to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to such expert advice. As Ms. Raezler further explains, members of the media are also "ignoring the fact that adult stem cell research has provided 73 different breakthroughs to help people with spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes," among other ailments.
Of course, no one would ever presume members of the media to be deliberately manipulative of the public. If they were, however – hypothetically, that is – they could not do a better job of misrepresenting the scientific truth than they currently are.
Hopefully, however, organizations such as the Culture and Media Institute will continue to challenge those members of the media who have chosen to relinquish their very serious responsibility to uphold and report the facts, and who instead consistently portray erroneous and unsubstantiated hyperbole as science.