Monday, January 05, 2009

Dr. Nancy Snyderman is a coward

During the holidays, I’ve watched portions of the Today Show in the morning and on two separate occasions, Dr. Nancy Snyderman (the Today Show’s chief medical editor) has been brought in to talk about 2009 health trends. On both occasions Snyderman brought up stem cells and intentionally misled viewers regarding the Bush administration’s current policy.

I don’t like to call people cowards but I had trouble coming up with a better term for someone who instead of making an argument in favor of the position which favors allowing federal funds to be spent on research using human embryonic stem cell lines created after 2001, lies about the current policy (“this ridiculous ban on stem cell research”) and then acts like she’s opposed to the current policy because she’s a physician. Snyderman knows that there is no stem cell ban as evidenced by this older Today Show clip regarding stem cells from amniotic fluid in which she notes the 21 human embryonic stem cell lines which can be experimented on with federal funds.

Snyderman goes to say in the recent clip,

“And I say ridiculous as the point of a physician. We have set back research in this country ridiculously because we have tied religion to science. Let’s have the moral and ethical decisions around stem cell research and then let’s move forward. We’ve had a phenomenal brain-drain of great scientists to other countries.”

Talk about incoherent. I’m not sure what being a physician has to do with whether it’s morally proper for our nation to fund research which requires the destruction of human embryos. There is not a hint of evidence that only funding research on embryonic stem cell lines created before August of 2001 has set any kind of research back in this country, especially since the $3 billion Californians are in the midst of paying for embryonic stem cell research has yet to move it forward in any noticeable way. The reality is that Snyderman seems to have no moral qualms with killing human embryos for research and doesn’t think people who have moral qualms should be making the decisions.

The line that really takes the cake is, “Let’s have the moral and ethical decisions around stem cell research and then let’s move forward.” I’m guessing she meant “moral and ethical discussions” but I’m not sure. Either way, what kind of statement is this? Let’s have the decision (or discussion) and then let the scientists do what ever they want with federal tax dollars. My, how generous of you.

The Today Show might consider hiring a chief medical editor who understands the difference between medical and political opinions instead of someone intent on foisting their thoughtless political sentiments on viewers at home and then acting like she does so as a caring physician. I’d prefer not to wake up in the morning to someone who falsely describes a political policy, calls it ridiculous, make a number of other false assertions (brain-drain, set research back ridiculously) and claims to do so as some kind of enlightened physician.

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