In Latest Display Of Empty Conservative Spin Trumping Scientific Fact, Fox's Wallace Falsely Claims Missouri Initiative Would Allow Human Cloning
The Missouri Senate race is neck-and-neck. It would be a shame if empty conservative spin helped decide the victor.
Sadly, Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace, on yesterday's edition of Fox News Sunday, did his part to push that spin, falsely claiming that a state ballot initiative on embryonic stem cell research would allow human cloning.
The Missouri ballot initiative clearly prohibits human cloning and makes it a felony crime. The initiative reads, “No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.” The amendment does protect somatic cell nuclear transplant (SCNT), but medical researchers say that it is not possible for SCNT to be used for human cloning, despite Wallace’s claim. Furthermore, the Missouri initiative outlines rules prohibilting such an undertaking.
Scare tactics on the eve of an election, which would clearly help the Republican candidate? Say it isn't so.
Here's the back-and-forth between Wallace and McCaskill yesterday:
WALLACE: Stem cell research is a big issue in your campaign as it is in several around the country, and it’s particularly true in Missouri because there’s a constitutional amendment on the ballot that your opponent points out would allow some forms of human cloning. You support that measure.
McCASKILL: I do. But I disagree with Sen. Talent’s analysis. As a lawyer looking and reading the measure, it is very clear that it strictly prohibits human cloning. In fact, it provides a legal framework with sound ethical guidelines for this kind of research which frankly we don’t have in Missouri right now. So not only would it make sure the research could go forward in Missouri as long as it was legal at the federal level, it also will provide a much needed ethical and legal framework for this research that all of us want in Missouri and frankly all of us want in America.
WALLACE: But, Mrs. McCaskill, the ballot measure provides for something — this gets technical — provides for something called somatic cell nuclear transfer, which is a form of therapeutic cloning. Isn’t that a slippery slope if you get into any kind of cloning at all?
McCASKILL: Well, the bottom line is you are not going to get a baby out of a petri dish. This measure, which we don’t have right now, strictly prohibits any implantation of any cells in order for a human being to be created.
Wallace either does not understand the science at hand, or doesn't care. That's an unfortunate trend of late within the conservative media, not far removed from recent ignorant comments on the subject from radio ranters Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin, or the misinformation on brain death provided by Sean Hannity and Joe Scarborough, or Limbaugh making up "facts" to argue against global warming.
Here's the theme, in case you missed it: Science isn't the issue; this is personal. Wallace implies Senate Candidate Claire McCaskill is a liar. Limbaugh suggests embyronic stem cell reserach advocate Michael J. Fox is a liar. Hannity and Scarborough bring on guests to say that Michael Schiavo is a liar. Limbaugh makes fun of Al Gore, in order to suggest he is a liar.
By steering the conversation into a personal attack, the conservative media pushes its listeners or viewers to not consider actual facts, but to make gut decisions based, at least in part, on emotion. That can take the form of laughing along with Limbaugh as he imitates Fox, or getting angry at Michael Schiavo for what amounts to nothing more than unsubstantiated rumors that did not hold up in court or after Terri Schiavo's autopsy.
In the case of Wallace's misinformation on the Missouri ballot initiative, let's hope Missouri voters can see through the empty conservative spin.