Missouri: NBC's Tibbles Repeatedly Leaves Embryo Out of 'Stem Cell Research' Story
One of the most routine (and inaccurate) tics of news coverage of Missouri's cloning amendment and other medical-research stories is to describe the controversy over embryo-destroying stem cell research as simply a fight over "stem cell research." To declare that a pro-life politician is "against stem cell research" is quite inaccurate (since they favor research on adult stem cells and from umbilical cord blood). But Kevin Tibbles did that twice this morning to Sen. Jim Talent on Today, and never once even used the word "embryo" or "embryonic" to describe the specific human lives being destroyed in the research process.
Co-host Meredith Vieira: "You know Kevin we heard a lot about the race after Rush Limbaugh criticized those ads that Michael Fox did supporting stem cell research and the Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill. How much do you think that controversy will play into the voters' minds today when they go to the polls?"
Tibbles: "It is looking like the stem cell research issue actually could be the one that breaks or makes a candidate in this race. McCaskill is for stem cell research and of course Talent has come out against it. Over the weekend, for example, from the pulpits in many churches here, church leaders were preaching and asking voters to go out and vote no, but it is looking in the polls that those who are going to vote for it because they are two very important centers for research and medical research here in Missouri. It is looking that might pass. Now a vote for stem cell research could wind up helping McCaskill, a vote against it and if the Republicans get that vote out, a vote against it could help Talent. So it could be the stem cell research issue that actually tips the balance here."
Vieira: "It would trump Iraq as the main issue, then."
Tibbles: "It is looking like the domestic Missouri issue of stem cell research is trumping Iraq, trumping the economy, trumping national security here in Missouri."
For those who might think Tibbles isn't being exquisitely sensitive to liberal word choices, we should remind you that in May, the very same Tibbles clumsily used the term "those who critics call illegals" in a story on illegal immigration.
UPDATE: CBS's Sharyn Alfonsi also had this problem (with less repetitiveness) on The Early Show today:
"A ballot initiative on stem cell research is a hot button issue in Missouri, number two behind Iraq. How voters side on that issue could tip the balance of power in the Senate. Democrat Claire McCaskill says she's not worried about Washington...And stem cell research isn't the only hot button issue here. Voters are also going to decide on an initiative that would bump up the minimum wage here."
Alfonsi had a bit of soundbite imbalance in the piece, showing Republican Jim Talent just saying the race would be close, but allowing Democrat McCaskill a 12-second oration on how poor Americans aren't feeling the prosperity like those on Wall Street.