Who Needs Facts When You’ve Got Opinions?
July 20, 2006 § 1 Comment
So Bush actually did it. He finally vetoed his first bill. And if it wasn’t for such an asinine reason, I’d actually be proud of him. And Congress, well I’ve got to give them props as well. The GOP-controlled House and Senate finally stood up to their supreme leader on an issue that most Americans feel strongly about. The only people I can’t congratulate on the Stem Cell bill situation are the incompetent White House staffers who either wrote or posted the “Fact Sheet” about the bill on the WhiteHouse.gov website.
First, it’s not factual at all. It’s a summary of Bush’s opinions on the bill and his position on stem cell research. The only thing factual about it is that it accurately portrays Bush’s feelings on the matter. But statements describing stem cell research as “One Of The Most Egregious Abuses In Biomedical Research” and references to Bush’s “Balanced Policy On Embryonic Stem Cell Research” are biased in a way that inherently prevent them from being facts. The only thing more appalling than this page being called a “Fact Sheet” is Yahoo’s link to it as such from their “Full Coverage” section on stem cell research.
Second, the press release/fact sheet looks like it was written by an intern who was clearly hired because he/she wouldn’t make Bush feel bad about his lack of English comprehension. I’m pretty sure from my limited memory of grammar and capitalization lessons in grade school that words like “a” and “the” aren’t supposed to be capitalized, even in titles. As an example, let’s take this bullet point:
“It Makes No Sense To Say You Are In Favor Of Finding Cures For Terrible Diseases As Quickly As Possible And Then Block A Bill That Would Provide Funding For Promising And Ethical Stem Cell Research.”
Not only is it not a fact, it’s quite difficult to read with all those caps. That “fact” was in reference to Bush feeling:
Disappointed Congress Failed To Pass A Bill That Would Have Authorized Additional Federal Funding For Promising New Research That Could Produce Cells With The Abilities Of Embryonic Cells, But Without The Destruction Of Human Embryos.
Hey staff writers, every heard of a run-on sentence? But I guess we can’t expect a White House that’s proven itself uninterested in quality education to care about something like writing skills, even if it is for the leader of the free world’s official website.
Third, the repeated references to the “Destruction Of Human Embryos” that this bill would (in Bush’s opinion) cause are just wrong. I will freely admit that one of my biggest concerns about cloning is the potential for unethical organ farming, but this bill dealt with embryos that are currently being thrown out and destroyed. Where is the response to that part of the bill in the White House’s “fact sheet”? Where is their explanation of why tossing extra embryos in a dumpster is better than using them for scientific research? I certainly won’t hold my breath for that press release.
For all these reasons and more, I sent an email to the WhiteHouse.gov webmaster. I concisely stated (as a fact, not to be confused with an opinion) that their “Fact Sheet” was anything but. I linked to the page, cited some of the above examples and recommended that they add a disclaimer at the top of the page informing visitors that the content was based on opinions, not facts. Somehow I doubt they’ll take my advice, but maybe if enough people join me and send an email to the Web Development Team over there…
Technorati Tags: Stem Cell Research, Stem Cells, Ban, Veto, White House, Congress, Embryos, Bush, Fact Sheet, Bias, Politics, Poor Writing, Grammar