Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spin Time for the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures

Recently, I've been watching the new Fox show Justice on Wednesday nights (which my wife informed will be cancelled soon). The show follows the cases of a fictional law firm TNT&G who take on a variety of high profile cases. Frequently when their case is in trouble, lawyer Ron Trott (played by Jennifer Garner's dad from Alias) has to "spin" his cases to the media before trial.

Caught completely red-handed after plagiarizing a variety of web sites, the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures (MCSCRC) took down their web site and their executive director Marcia Baum are now going into full spin mode. An article on the MIRS (subscription req. - you can get a free trial subscription here) has the excuse of Ms. Baumb:
"What's really important to remember is our mission," Baumb said. "We are the number one source for information about stem cell research in the state of Michigan. We had a technical glitch that's not uncommon for new Web sites. We're correcting the problem and we'll be back on line soon." When MCSCRC was updating its Web site, many of the edits that the team put into place were erased. This included technical and grammatical edits as well as attributions to some sources, Baumb said. "The information was accurate when the site was launched but this switched it back to its unedited form," Baumb said.

You can look at some of the plagiarized information by some using Google's cache feature which allows you to view the content of pages after they've been taken down.

For example, the text in these cached pages on blastocysts and somatic cell nuclear transfer looks familiar nearly identical to the text at this page from the University of Kansas Medical Center, doesn't it?

Another funny thing is that the MCSCRC hasn't taken down every page which contain plagiarized information. Their page on Michigan's current law and laws in other states is still up (Update -it's not up anymore - see update below). Now compare the first paragraph of the MCSCRC's page to the beginning of the second paragraph on the web page of the National Conference of State Legislatures. You could also compare the side bar on the MCSCRC's web site to the NCSL's web site starting at the second sentence of the third paragraph and going down for quite a time.

But just remember the MCSCRC is the "number one source for information about stem cell research in the state of Michigan."

UPDATE:Thanks to Macht for pointing out the MCSCRC took down their current law page - you can see a cached copy of it here.

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