The stem cell press: a history of stem cells in news media and the creation of the American stem cell debate
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In February 2004, Korean scientists made the startling announcement that they had cloned an embryo and collected embryonic stem (ES) cells. Consequently, American scientists have clamored for increased funding from the federal government, and claim that the United States no longer leads the world in biotechnology. Unfortunately for these scientists, Americans have had an uneasy past with the idea of ES cells. Since their isolation in 1998, ES cells have become one of the most hotly debated ethical issues in this country, and as stem cells become a more politicized issue the public's knowledge of the subject will prove increasingly important. As such, this paper will look at how major media sources such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, and Newsweek among others have presented information on stem cells since they first mentioned stem cells in the early 1980s. By evaluating how the media has portrayed medical, ethical, and political aspects of the debate, this paper will reveal what information has impacted the American public's understanding of the issues. Within the stem cell debate, two things have become readily clear. The first is that both sides of the debate have strongly held beliefs, hopes, and expectations for the course of progress. The second is that the popular perception will play an extensive role in determining this course. As such, researching how the press and other poplar sources of information have presented the issues of both embryonic and adult stem cell research will prove important to understanding where both the debate and its advances in biotechnology will take us in the next decades.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 60-64).
Boatman, Logan Hampton (2004). The stem cell press: a history of stem cells in news media and the creation of the American stem cell debate. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from