#1 Rated Newscast Ignores Major Stem Cell Story

Embryonic stem cell research is one of the hottest moral issues in American culture today.  So reports of a breakthrough development, one that may make obsolete the need to destroy human life to create embryonic stem cells, ought to be big news.  And it was, pretty much, except at ABC's World News with Charles Gibson, now rated the #1 evening MSM news program.

NBC's Nightly News led with the story.  CBS's Katie Couric mentioned the development. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times gave it front page, above-the-fold coverage.  But ABC? Not a mention in the June 6 broadcast.

With Congress set to vote on another stem cell research bill soon, this scientific development is very significant.  Researchers have taken skin cells from mice and reprogrammed them so they act like embryonic stem cells.  The scientific community believes embryonic stem cells have the ability to cure a host of diseases, even though, unlike adult stem cells, they have not successfully achieved cures yet. 

Conservatives believe embryonic stem cell research is immoral because it requires the destruction of embryos, thereby killing human life.  A scientific development such as the one announced yesterday could revolutionize the debate. 

Even scientists not involved in this particular research development see the story as significant.  A leading stem cell biologist from StanfordUniversity told The New York Times the news was “about as big a deal as you could imagine.”

Which raises the question, “why didn't ABC's World News cover it?”  Granted there was a story on ABCNews.com, but it didn't make the cut for the broadcast. 

ABC has been touting its reemergence as a news leader this year, surpassing NBC and CBS in viewership. The network's slogan used to be “More people get their news from ABC News than from any other news source.”   Millions of people didn't get a significant story from this “news leader” on June 6.


Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the MediaResearchCenter.