Reporting News, or Selling Stemware?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on October 11, 2006

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-Read the excerpt below from James Taranto's Sept. 22nd "Best of the Web" post at opinionjournal.com.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the question.

“Using stem cells harvested from patients’ own bone marrow, researchers reported Wednesday that they improved cardiac function in heart attack patients months, years–and even decades–after the patients suffered their [heart] attacks,” reports the Los Angeles Times:

The infusion of stem cells boosted cardiac pumping efficiency by 7 percent in three months–a modest gain, but still an improvement for a chronic condition.

In one case, a patient who had suffered a heart attack 30 years earlier showed an 11 percent improvement after the treatment, according to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The German researchers also found signs that patients can continue to improve with repeated stem-cell treatments.

Now here is how the Associated Press reported the same study:

Giving heart attack survivors stem cells from their own bone marrow did little to repair their damaged hearts, according to the three best studies to date of this controversial therapy.

The modest results suggest more study is needed and, some scientists say, demonstrate the need to lift political limits on using cells from embryos, which offer more promise for turning into heart-repairing tissue.

Which interpretation of the findings is right? Probably this is one of those half-empty/half-full situations, and either is defensible. But note how the AP waits only until the second paragraph to go off on a tangent about “the need to lift political limits on using cells from embryos, which offer more promise.” (The L.A. Times piece goes off on this tangent, but later in its report and without taking sides.) Isn’t it clear that the AP reporter has an agenda beyond reporting the news?

Click here and scroll down to view the original posting at OpinionJournal.com.

Questions

Which type of bias best describes the Associated Press’ report?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

The AP’s report is an example of bias by spin.