Monday, February 07, 2005

The Bee Stings CIRM

“Rife with questionable entanglements” is how The Sacramento Bee describes California's new stem cell agency.

The language was contained in an unsigned editorial in The Bee on Sunday. That means it represents the institutional opinion of that newspaper's ownership.

The Bee's editorial was strong. It remarked on the new standards at the NIH and said California's agency should learn from the controversies that have unsettled the NIH.

The Bee was not happy with the conduct of CIRM so far. It said that at the meeting of the oversight committee last week, “comittee member Leon Thal asked if members themselves could apply for grants. To everyone's amazement, the oversight committee started to entertain this idea. After journalists started raising questions, committee members quickly re-adjourned and put the kibosh on granting grants to themselves.”

“If the committee wants to retain a semblance of credibility, it needs to set ethics standards that are as strong, if not stronger, than those of the NIH,” The Bee declared.

One thing to keep in mind about newspaper editorials is that surveys show that they are read by a small segment of readers, as opposed to the percentage who read the front page. That said, politicians and other community leaders often think newspaper editorials are meaningful.

(My apologies to The Bee and the readers of this blog for the headline on this item. I could not help myself.)

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